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Baja California and the Sea of Cortez are both part of the Sonoran Desert and, so, my postings about Baja and its wildlife are entirely consistent with the overall theme of this blog. But, that is not to say that Baja and the Sea of Cortez offer the same habitats and wildlife that exists in southern Arizona. Yes, there is overlap, but there are also many differences.
One obvious difference is the presence of marine wildlife in Baja. The Sea of Cortez provides a habitat that exists nowhere else. It is not only different from anything found in Arizona but it is different in many respects from anything found anywhere else on this planet. There are species living along the Sea of Cortez, technically “desert” species, that can only be found there.
One of these is the Yellow-footed Gull. This very handsome gull lives only on the shores of the Sea of Cortez, making it very much a Sonoran Desert inhabitant. Very rarely an individual or two may pop up in coastal California or in the inland American West, but only transitorily. These birds never show up in Arizona’s desert.
This is a large bird weighing nearly three pounds (about 1.3 kg) and with a five foot (1.5 meter) wingspan. Like all gulls it is an opportunist, feeding on whatever it can capture or steal.
A lot of gull species tend to resemble each other and gulls sometimes can be difficult to identify. However, Yellow-footed Gulls are pretty easy to distinguish. These birds’ brilliant yellow legs set them apart from other gull species.
All gulls are graceful fliers but I find the Yellow-footed gull to be particularly graceful by virtue of its snowy white head and neck, breast, and abdomen. In the right lighting this bird seems to glow.
Images made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 ISII L zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 400, f6.3. Shutter speeds varied between 1/1000 and 1/2500.