It was a gray and gloomy December day in Warren G. Magnuson Park but there were birds aplenty. Gulls of all types flew in and out, putting on an impressive aerial display.
This bird appears to be a young western gull. The following are pictures of his flight. The first was taken just after his direct approach and bank to the left in front of us.
Here we captured the wings in mid-downstroke.
Wings back up to begin another "rowing" sequence.
Wings stroking down ---
And the glide.
Western gulls take four years to reach breeding maturity. They are spotted as is this one in their first winter. By adulthood, they are white with gray wings with a red spot on the beak, a familiar site in the Pacific Northwest. They achieve a wingspan of about four feet while their bodies are about two feet long.
Gulls are so common that we who live in the Northwest rarely even notice them. Yet, their flight is impressive: they are amazingly beautiful aerialists.
Gulls remind us to pay attention to the common in order to experience the uncommon.