We joined some Las Vegas friends on a recent weekend. They were leading a gull seminar at Lake Mead, a stone’s throw from Hoover Dam.
Surprisingly to many birders, the Las Vegas area attracts (or traps) an incredible assortment of birds, and Lake Mead is a great under-visited birding destination where almost anything can appear. As we joined our friends at Hemenway Harbor, the seminar had just lucked out with a Heerman’s Gull! HEEG is reported from Clark County, NV, about every 15-20 years. As our car pulled up to the birding group this gull appeared:
In the previous seven photos I tried to include representations of the upper and lower wings, body, tail, and head; all with varying light. ID discussion will go here:
Now back to that Heerman’s Gull to break it up:
Truly a fantastic jewel for North American birders, even those who normally dismiss gulls with shrugs and scowls…
Moving right along, the group traveled north along the shore of Lake Mead toward Boulder Beach. Not far up the coast this bird was refound (originally reported by Justin Streit a week or more prior):
In the previous thirteen images, I’ve tried to give an accurate and fair representation of the appearance of this gull, the identity of which has been debated. More on the ID will go here: