York County Audubon is very pleased to once again present its popular Gull ID workshop, led by the very knowledgeable birder Derek Lovitch. It’s a two-part workshop, indoors in Wells on Saturday afternoon, January 26, and outdoors in greater Portland on Sunday morning, January 27. It will get you started on unraveling the mysteries of gull identification.

There is a registration fee of $20 for YCA (or Maine Audubon) members and $25 for non-members. Space is limited and advance registration is required via the yorkcountyaudubon.org website.

Actually, most gulls are not very difficult to tell apart, though adult and juveniles of most species look very different. We’re going to give ourselves confidence with identifying the easier plumages of our common species, and then tackle the more challenging intermediate plumage’s and the less-common species.

Part I of the workshop on Saturday, Jan. 26 will be at the Mather Auditorium of the Wells Reserve at Laudholm, and will be divided into two sections (you need not be present for both):

1 to 2:30 p.m. – Beginning Gull Identification. Using Powerpoint and book resources, we’ll start with the basics of gull identification, such as feather topography and aging. We’ll then focus on our most common species: Ring-billed, Herring, Great Black-backed, Laughing, and Bonaparte’s Gulls.

3 to 4:30 p.m. – Advanced Gull Identification. Now comfortable with the basics, we’ll move on to the uncommon species: Lesser Black-backed, Iceland, Glaucous, and Black-legged Kittiwake. Next up will be the rarities: Little, Black-headed, and yes, even "Thayer’s." We’ll touch upon “Megas” such as Mew, Slaty-backed, and Sabine’s, and we’ll discuss hybrids. Finally, we’ll apply what we have learned to tackle and understand some identification quandaries, such as the famous “Westbrook Gull” before we finish up with some photo quizzes to test our new-found knowledge.

For Part II on Sunday, Jan. 27, we’ll be in the greater Portland area from 8 a.m. to noon to carpool around the area and apply what we have learned. We’ll spend some time with our most common species: Herring, Ring-billed, and Great Black-backed, and then seek out Iceland and Glaucous, and perhaps we’ll find something even better.

We hope that you will join Derek for this workshop to foster appreciation for this fascinating group of birds. Derek (with his wife Jeannette) owns and operates Wild Bird Supply in Freeport. He’s the author of “How to Be a Better Birder” and "Birdwatching in Maine, A Site Guide," the most comprehensive guide to where to bird in Maine.