IMMATURE LARUS GULLS ON MARTINIQUE - JAN. 21 2005
When the Royal Clipper arrived in the harbor on Martinique at about 8:00 AM on January 21, 2005, I was surprised to see first one immature Larus gull fly in then 2 more (the only ones we had seen all week during our southern Lesser Antilles cruise). My time was very limited for gull watching, however, because I was leading a group of birders on an excursion to the Caravelle Peninsula to see the White-breasted Thrasher during the few hours the ship would be in port (it was scheduled to leave by 2 that afternoon). By the time I retrieved my telescope and camera from my cabin only two gulls were still in sight on pilings near the ship. I had only a few minutes before disembarkation so hurriedly snapped the following photos and hoped that they might be there when we returned--they were not.
My initial feeling was that, as surprising as it would be, the three individuals represented three different species--Great Black-backed Gull (not photographed), Lesser Black-backed Gull, and Herring Gull. But because the eastern Caribbean has been host to a number of records of unusual gull species, all of which I have had limited experience with, I wanted to look carefully at the photos before jumping to any snap decisions.
The first five photos are of one individual (note the piling it is standing on). The last four photos are the second individual.