|Glaucous Gulls - Larus hyperboreus|
For Christmas I got many wonderful books including one on lichens which I've yet to inflict on this blog, oops, I mean which I've yet to use to impart knowledge and joy to followers of this blog! Another was one which I shared some time ago - Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. This is a wonderful volume and I decided to look up the scientific names of our recent white-winged gull visitors. I discovered that Larus, the family name, means rapacious seabird (usually a gull).
Larus hyperboreus translates as 'rapacious seabird of northern parts'. (Huperboreoi is Greek for people of the extreme north.)
Larus glaucoides (Iceland Gull) translates as 'rapacious seabird of blue-grey likeness.' Surely this would be a more appropriate name for the Glaucous Gull. Its English name is also a bit of a misnomer, given that this gull breeds in Greenland and northern Canada, but not Iceland!