Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Now that's aviation


What first comes to mind? "Ergh," "Ewe," "Humph?" How about the echoing cries of "AIIIIIIIIGGGGGGGGGG" at the seaside?

I must confess. In the urban sprawl of London, I dislike gulls. Ducking and diving for scraps on the roads and pavements, they are up there with our friends the rats in my estimations. (Sorry everyone)

Things change at the wetland centre. For the reason why, there was no better example than when I visited last week - I was greated by a vast number of them, making the cacophony of noise only gulls can. And they were incredibly active. Ducking and diving, swooping and skimming accross the lakes surface. It all looked rather fun.

So for this blog post, the focus is our friends the gulls. Photos are a mix of old and new - enjoy :D

Sitting in the WWF hide (soon I think I will ave left an impression in the bench where I always find my perch...) I turned my lens to trying to capture the skill and pannache that these birds employ while hunting, socialising or just having fun.

The next two photos come under the theme 'verticle.' Its almost as if the bird has been cut and past back into the photo after being rotated 90˚ as even just before impact, these black headed gulls kept their wings extended.

Next up, fishing. Or... Stealing. Or just play?! Nature does not have the greatest of tollerance for sillyness. And sillyness is what I witnessed one sunny morning at the wetland centre. Feeling very pleased with himself, a herring gull had caught himself a fish. "Yum." Thinks he, as he gracefully wings his way accross the lake.

CAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Reverie over. The mob begins. Spotted by the flock which was so docile just moments previously, a wall of white wings rises from the lake and mobs our friend and his breakfast. Ducking and diving, the play pans out in a bizarre reverse pecking order: Herring gull loses fish to another herring gull. Herring gull 2 loses the fish to a smaller gull. Smaller gull loses the fish (after much pestering) to a black headed gull. Black headed gull realizes fish is a bit big and after dropping it a few times, surrenders it once more to a herring gull. So. Competing fo food like this is a wise evolutionary strategy? WRONG. After the gulls had spent all that energy, the only chap to get breakfast was a crow. Watching patiently from the sidings, when he perceived the silliness to be drawing to a close, he swooped in, grabbed the fish and was gone. Game. Set. Match.

And finally, to bring this whistle stop tour of gulls to a close. Here are a few pictures from my archive of gulls being gulls. Taken in Cardiff (fishing for minnows) and Henley (the later 2). Enjoy!

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