The Ring-billed gull. (Larus delawarensis).
Some years Lake Jocassee has hundreds of these wild and elegant birds, sometimes not so many. This year appears to be a modest one, but it only takes one in flight over your head on a grey winter’s day to take your cold breath away. Soaring with ease and grace, Ring-billed gulls are capable in a second of astounding aerodynamic moves in an attempt to catch something to eat. Some folks have a built -in prejudice against these wonders, just because they hang out at landfills and parking lots, but when you see them in flight in a wild mountain setting, then you will witness one of our area’s most beautiful winter visitors. Tarnished as their reputation may be, they deserve your attentive gaze. Even bald eagles spend time at your favorite county dump, you know. ~B