Goéland vs. Mouette
Reminder: You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a full-screen image.
One of the fun parts of this trip for me was that I learned a fair amount of French vocabulary. It should come as no shock that the French have their own terminology to describe the birds and animals that they observe. Sometimes it coincides or nearly coincides with English terminology, sometimes not.
Americans describe numerous species of birds under the generic heading of “gulls.” Not so with the French. Some of our “gulls” — generally the species that are physically larger — are called “Goélands” in French whereas others — generally those that are physically smaller — are called “Mouettes.” To make matters a bit confusing, “Mouette” is a term that I found to be used in conversation to describe most species of gulls.
Tonight, I’m featuring some images of a Goéland, un Goéland Bourgmestre in French. Americans call it a Glaucous Gull. This is a large gull and one that is seen rather frequently in the Svalbard Archipelago. The bird is about the size of a Common Raven, and it can be seen on land and out to sea, sometimes sitting on icebergs or even on small pieces of floating ice. Its bright yellow eyes, legs, and bill stand out nicely against a snowy background.
Like many gulls, the Glaucous Gull is an opportunistic feeder. It will eat just about anything organic. Although the species favors northern zones, it is not limited to the Arctic.
Glaucous Gulls are uncommon to rare visitors to the northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States.
In a few days I’ll feature some images of a species of Mouette.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 500, aperture preferred setting, f6.3 @ 1/2500.