Ring-billed Gulls often hang out on the larger lakes in Minnesota, especially when there are fishermen around. With their long wings and compact bodies, they seem perfectly designed to ride the air currents, while they search the water below.
The gulls on the St. Croix river weren’t diving for fish or pestering the fishermen on this day, but just soaring along the river enjoying the sun and breeze. What could be more fun than to be a bird, able to effortlessly glide through the air?
Even though the gulls weren’t doing a lot of flapping, they were moving rapidly through airspace, and it was tough to keep them in focus. For these photos, I followed the recommendations of Sparky Stensaas at The PhotoNaturalist blog for shooting fast moving raptors (see “Attracting Hawks with a Feather Duster“), using the Tv setting on my camera, at 1/2000 of a second, f5.6-6.7, ISO at 200. I can’t find the birds fast enough to focus on them with the 400 mm lens, so I used my 18-270 mm lens instead.