~Laughing Gull~ (adult) Black hood, black legs, white underparts, white crescent marks above and below eyes, reddish beak, broad white collar.
Added to my Birding Life List in April 10, 1993~
Laughing Gulls were named, because they have a laughter like call! They are medium-sized gulls with fairly long wings and long legs that impart a graceful look when they are flying or walking. They have stout, fairly long bills. Adult Laughing Gulls are medium gray above and white below.
Summer adults have a crisp black hood, white arcs around the eye, and a reddish bill. In winter, the hood becomes a blurry gray mask on a white head.
The legs are reddish black to black. Immatures are much browner and more subtly patterned than adults; they take 2-3 years to gain adult plumage.
In the early 20th century, the Laughing Gull was threatened by the feather trade. Today they are common, stable over much of their range and numbers have been increasing in the northeastern US in recent years.
If you are interested in learning more about the Laughing Gull, please visit this web-site or any other birding web-site:
I found the fact that they take 2-3 years to gain adult plumage very interesting. I took these photos on a beach near Destin, Florida about a week ago. Notice the white tail, therefore I think it is an adult in winter plumage. Some people don’t like gulls; however I enjoy watching and photographing them. I believe they serve a purpose along our shorelines.
This gull was standing about 10 feet from the edge of the Gulf, looking out over the waves, perhaps waiting for a Pelican to drop a morsel of food at its feet.
Just as I am! Every Friday you may participate in Feathers on Friday at Prairie Birder.
Some of my information for this post was taken from Field Guide to Birds of North America, Smithsonian Handbook, Birds of North America and Cornell Lad of Ornithology and their website All About Birds.
We spent a total of five nights at Rocky Bayou State Park, our first visit to this beautiful state park. The weather wasn’t the best, cloudy, cool and even cold at times. We did have a few hours, here and there, of sunshine!
Rocky Bayou State Park is located in Niceville, Florida, just over the Mid Bay Bridge from Destin and a few miles from Fort Walton Beach. Most of the RV sites, in the park, are either sand or gravel. The sites facing Rocky Bayou are the largest. We stayed in site 33, which was huge and from our front window we could see the Bayou. The park offers something for everyone: there are several very nice nature trails, birding and butterfly watching and you can rent kayaks to paddle around in the bayou. Lots to do in the park!
The only negative aspect of staying at Rocky, for some people, might be the training flights from Eglin Air Force Base and ammunition detonation, which are very loud and can be heard and felt within the park. I don’t think they train everyday, perhaps every other day!
It did take “the girls” a day or two of adjustment ! It really didn’t bother us too much. We tried not to react to the loud noise so they would stay calm. On one occasion, the noise was tremendous and unexpected and I did react with a few choice words; well that set the girls off – barking their heads off. They really don’t bark or react to things, but they reacted to my outburst this time!!
We did travel a few times over the Mid Bay Bridge to Destin, which by the way cost $3.00 each way. I have to say the beaches in Destin are beautiful. The sand is white and the landscape pristine.
I really enjoyed our walks on the beach; however, I didn’t enjoy the commercialization of the area. Way too crowded for us! Returning to the park, after being in the congestion, was truly appreciated and brought back a sense of peace.
On one of our outings over the Mid Bay Bridge we drove through Henderson State Park, which was beautiful; a must stay on a return trip. We also drove through Top Sail Preserve State Park/Gregory E, Moore RV Resort, which was in a very nice location, but we felt was too crowded for us. The cost to stay at this park is $47.00 a night plus tax!!
We enjoyed a couple of nice lunches at local restaurants, some grocery shopping at Fresh Market (what a selection of fresh fish and seafood they have) and our visit to the Air Force Museum was fabulous! Four days probably wasn’t enough time to get a feel for the area.
A few additional photos from our visit.
The Gulf Beaches
We enjoyed our first visit to Rocky Bayou State Park and will return! We are currently staying, a few nights, at a state park in Alabama (yes, we have finally traveled out of the state of Florida!) called Meaher State Park, which is located in Spanish Fort (near Mobile). This is our first time to stay at this state park and our first day has been wonderful!