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A Closer Look at the Gulls of Kingston.

Steve Russell - Staff Photographer

It is one of the assignements we look forward to getting, it gets us out of the city, we go for a boat ride and you learn something.

The bonus is that I get a chance to show readers something that they usually don't get to see.

The assignment involved a trip to Kingston and back to spend a few hours on a boat with a scientist researching the health of the Lake Ontario by looking at the Gull colonies.

Chip Weseloh leaps off of his boat onto Salmon Island that has nesting sites for Herring Gulls. Chip Weseloh, studies birds on Lake Ontario, particularly the Herring Gull, the Ring Billed Gull and the Cormorant for Environment Canada.

Chip Weseloh looks at a Herring Gull egg on Salmon Island, Herring Gulls always lay three eggs, and if one is broken or lost or they take one for research purposes, the egg will be replaced.

A Herring Gull chick on Salmon Island. Herring Gulls primarly eat fish and shell fish. 

Chip Weseloh holds a Herring Gull chick on Salmon Island.

A Herring Gull chick on Salmon Island with a sibling just beginning to break out of their egg.

 Chip Weseloh approaches a herring gull nest on Salmon Island, Herring Gulls have spaced out nest sites unlike their Ring Billed cousins.

A pair of Herring Gull chicks on Salmon Island await their parents as Chip Weseloh examines another nest. 

On Salmon Island, Herring Gulls hover over their nests as Chip Weseloh moves from nest to nest. 

On his boat, Chip Weseloh records some observations on the nests. He records how many eggs, how many have hatched, how many are cracked or about to hatch.

Chip Weseloh leaves Salmon Island to check on nest at nearby East Brother Island.

Ring Billed Gulls, the ones that we associate with scavenging for food in dumps and parking lots take flight on East Brother Island.

Ring Billed Gulls are a little smaller than their Herring Gull cousins and have a dark ring around their beak.

Chip Weseloh shows where the belly feathers  of a Ring Billed Gull have molted to allow the parent skin on egg contact to keep the eggs warm.

Ring Billed Gull's, like the one that lies dead, nesting sites are much closer together and less organized than their cousins the Herring Gull. 

By measuring the width and length of Herring Gull eggs Chip Weseloh can calculate the volume, an indicator of how healthy the eggs are. 

A Cormorant takes flight from a dead tree on East Brother Island, the Cormorants habitat ends up whitewashed with guano and almost all vegetation near their nests is dead. 

Chip Weseloh holds a Cormorant egg, they are blue.

Chip Weseloh walks through the Cormorant colony on East Brother Island, they lay their eggs close together and the ground is white-washed with their guano.

Cormorants may lay 3, 4 or 5 eggs .

A Cormorant takes flight from a dead tree on East Brother Island.

West Brother Island is devoid of vegetation as Cormorants nest in the trees.







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Amazing, amazing photos!

I live in Kingston and always wondering what the islands looked like in regards to birding. Wondwrful work you do and nice images. Thanks for sharing.


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