Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Wild Bird Wednesday 236 - What's in a name?

As a number of you may have noticed I was in New Zealand in the middle weeks of January - what a place!  I can only recommend you go there.

One of the issues I faced as a birder there, was 'translating' the common names of the birds I saw into a form with which I was familiar.  According to my field guide, the birds in this post are Black-Backed Gulls, or to use the Maori name, Karoro.  If I had seen the same bird in South America it would have been called a Dominican Gull, and if I had seen it at home I would have called it a Kelp Gull.

The bird is of course all of these and none of them at the same time.  All over its distribution this bird is Larus dominicanus - its formal name giving us all the certainty I need, that, having seen Kelp Gulls in Australia, my life list had not clicked up by one when I saw a Black-Backed Gull in NZ.

In the past people have laughed at me for my interest in taxonomy - but I think this is a nice example of why its important.  We can't know what things are unless we agree on a name - so here, in all its gully glory is Larus dominicanus. 

If you look at the post from yesterday, you will find more images of the black sand beach on which I took these pictures.




These birds, like most wild gulls (rather than their chip loving urban cousins), are difficult to approach - so I was rather pleased with these images.

Now its your turn to be pleased with your images and to share them with the WBW community by clicking on the blue button below!



22 comments:

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Isn't there a poem like that ? ...." A gull by any other name ....". They do look great against that black sand. I guess most of the gulls I ever see are secretly hoping I have chips. They don't approach me, but they don't fly away either. Thank you as always for hosting and teaching..

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

a rose by any other name. . .

uh . . . nice photos

Brian King said...

Beautiful photos! The yellow beaks really stand out!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, they are great shots of the gulls. They look similar to our Great Black-backed Gull.
Thanks for hosting. Have a happy day and week ahead!

Kenneth Cole Schneider said...

Nice images! They are big burly and aggressive birds, but handsome indeed.

Sharon Wagner said...

The beach wouldn't be the same without chip lovers. By any name.

Findlay Wilde said...

Fantastic big beast of a gull. Great pictures and you are right, a shared name is very important.

Andrea Priebe said...

What else but black backed gulls on the black sands of New Zealand. Great pictures both here and on yesterday's post of the black sands. You seem to be endlessly knowledgeable about birds and sands and whatevers ... is it your work that exposes you to so much or are you just a voracious learner. Anyway, it is to our advantage as you are so willing to share with us your endless array of knowledge ... Thank you for that, it is always a pleasure to come over here.

Andrea @ From The Sol

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Beautiful gulls...and the black sandy beaches....gorgeous.

Missy George said...

The black sand is a good background for these birds..Good pictures.

Nora said...

These gulls are very black compared to ours. We have a variety here and I am not good on my shorebird names. I think I have Dowitchers on my blog but perhaps you could have a look Stewart and see what it is.

Jo said...

Hi Stewart, what a blessing for you to visit NZ. Here in South Africa this gull is the Kelp Gull. And [almost] identical to the ones you show. Thanks for hosting this meme. Greetings Jo

Stone Cottage Adventures said...

Stunning photos! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

photodoug said...

Stewart, a rose by any other name. Great gulls. Thanks for sharing.

A Quiet Corner said...

I cannot even imagine being on that beach...beautiful sand and water...topped off with very dashing looking gulls!...:)JP

pattisjarrett said...

The black sand makes a great background for these gulls. NZ looks like a lovely place, from what I've seen from this and other bloggers who live there. Thanks for hosting!

Linda said...

Not that different from our gulls. Interesting post.

Bob Bushell said...

The Black-backed Gulls are perfect, well photographed.

Liz said...

Fabulous images, Stewart! I can totally understand your interest in taxonomy. Now to catch up on your other posts. I've been rather slack with blogging of late!

Pat Tillett said...

Really nice photos Stewart!
I'm a bit embarrassed to say that they just look like seagulls to me.

NatureFootstep said...

lol, yes I have the same problem. And to ad to that gulls are sometimes very hard to ID. I like gulls but so rarely bother to ID them anymore.

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful opportunity. And you did catch some great shots.