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Glaucous Gull

Posted April 28, 2011
by Paul Kerlinger

Cape May, NJ - Walking along the Cape May beach and boardwalk with my wife is a great way to wind down after a day of work. After yesterday's thunderstorms it was particularly beautiful with low cloud cover, wild waves and a cool breeze coming in off the ocean.

As we approached the 2nd Avenue jetty, my attention was diverted to an all white gull; certainly not one of our usual cast of Cape May gulls.

For readers who aren’t familiar with gull plumages, an all white gull is a rarity that gets the attention of serious birders.

The bird turned out to be a Glaucous Gull, which is rare in Cape May. Normally, it would be far to the north. But, there it was… all white, pink legs, and a black spot on its bill.

It’s tough to get excited over gulls in Cape May because we have so many of them and they don’t have good manners.

However, unlike the Laughing Gulls that will steal your hot dog or even a burger off the grill, Glaucous Gulls are more polite and reserved. This bird probably doesn’t see many burgers where it nests in arctic Canada, nor does it see them during the winter when it spends much of its time at sea.

So, what started out to be a routine walk on the beach turned out to be an adventure with a white gull. Birders in Cape May come to expect surprises.

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