Lesser Black-backed Gull at San Leandro Marina

Noah Arthur

I spent a pleasant afternoon with an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at the San Leandro Marina today, where many hundreds of gulls were loafing and feeding on bread handouts. I first saw the Lesser Black-backed on the water near Torito's restaurant, then later in the main parking lot near Torito's. Here he remained for most of the late afternoon, giving me a long and satisfying rare-gull experience. He was a very striking gull in looks and behavior, bold and full of attitude. When several WESTERN GULLS began courting/long-calling nearby, the Lesser Black instantly got very excited, flew to them, and joined in: posturing and long-calling as if he thought he was a Western! A few times I saw him "back up" a couple of steps for no apparent reason, the first time I've ever seen a gull walk backwards (why?).
A WORD OF CAUTION: gulls congregate at the Marina mostly on weekends, when the landfill is closed, so the Lesser Black-backed is likely not to be there on a weekday.
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/73989529@N02/sets/72157632848153035/
Noah Arthur, Oakland

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