2019—Early Signs?

The gulls at Lake Natoma were so close I couldn’t always manage to fit them entirely in the frame, like this Ring-billed Gull flying toward me.  The wingtips are out of the frame but the shot showcases the gull’s facial features like the pale iris with a red orbital ring around it, the broad black ring on the bill, and the red gape, the fleshy area at the base of the bill.  My Sibley Guide to Birds indicates that the red orbital eye ring and the red gape are breeding indicators but that is not supposed to start until April , not early January.   I guess these are early signs.

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