Today marked the first time since the second week of December that we have seen California Gulls at Moorecroft Regional Park. This species typically leaves the Salish sea around mid December each year, and heads west, spending the next two months well offshore.
In mid February it is typical to see a few California gulls one day, and hundreds the next, as wave after wave soar east across Vancouver Island, searching for concentrations of Pacific Herring. By the time the herring begin to spawn, California Gulls will be one of the more abundant bird species in the area.
Most of the California Gulls we see in this area (including the adult illustrated in the above photos) are of the albertensis subspecies. These birds will feed in this area until late march when they will migrate to interior areas to nest. Although some will nest on lakes in British Columbia, most of the birds we see are probably migrating to the Canadian prairies to nest.