Mississippi River, L&D 314, Le Claire, Iowa ---------

Yesterday, on my way back home from Davenport, Iowa I stopped briefly at lock & dam #14 at the Mississippi River. As always, a few photographers were present and tried to make a great shot of a Bald Eagle. I was told the eagles were kinda lazy that day and just sat in the trees most of the time.

While looking for some ducks, mergansers, and pelicans I suddenly saw another photographer shooting very determined one big particular gull. He confirmed that it was a Great Black-backed Gull, a first sighting for me here in the Mississippi Valley. I had read in the IA-Bird Google group that someone had seen this species already a few days earlier and I was more than happy to add a few photos of this gull to my library. They breed in northeastern North America and Greenland but may wander inland to the Great Plains.

Plumage and colors indicate that the bird is in its 1st winter. According to all my bird guides the Great Black-backed Gull is the largest gull in the world and is very pugnacious, predatory, and opportunistic. I saw it fighting for a fish with a Common Goldeneye and that makes me believe every word I read about its feeding habits…