Although the Heermann’s of Seaside were my no. 1 reason to venture to Monterey Bay, I was also keen to survey the area for urban Western Gull activity. While I’ve recorded some very localized activity in San Diego and San Francisco in past years, I was surprised to see the wealth of urban Western activity on the central California coast. I was able to find well over 100 distinct urban nesting sites from Monterey to Santa Cruz.
Here are some Western Gull nests in the city of Monterey. Although so closely related to BC’s Glaucous-wingeds that they routinely hybridize in OR and WA (really, the two should form a super-species), Westerns seem to use the urban environment somewhat differently for nesting. In particular, they are much more strongly colonial, tending to nest only on rooftops that can support multiple nesting pairs. While GWs will do the same, it is much more common for GWs to use isolated rooftops with a single pair/nest/territory per rooftop.