I had the day off from work today so after completing a couple of morning errands, I went out to look for gulls on the Monongahela River. My first destination was Barril Riverfront Park in Star City. Just as I suspected, the recent persistent rain and melting snow had left the river high and muddy. The resident Mallards struggled to keep from getting washed downstream by the fast flowing water whenever they ventured from shore. The nine or so of Ring-billed Gulls, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying the high muddy water because of all the food bits and other possibly debris it contained. They would sortie out, look for food and then return to either the dock or a tall lamp post to rest. Ring-billed Gulls are the most common gull species seen in West Virginia.
After watching the Ring-billed Gulls for awhile, I walked north on the Mon River Trail, which conveniently runs adjacent to the river. This section of the trail is often icy during the winter and today was no exception.
I explored almost two miles of the river, but found only a few additional gulls including a large adult Herring Gull. Herring Gulls are the second most common gull species seen around the Morgantown area. This one was sitting on the opposite shore beside a Ring-billed Gull, which made for a nice size comparison. Note the pink legs of the Herring Gull and the yellow legs of a Ring-billed Gull.
Shortly after finding the Herring Gull, I turned around and headed back to the car. Even though I did not find any rare gulls on today's excursion, I was happy with what I did find. It was a good day to be on the river.
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