Tuesday, September 8, 2009

This Gulls Life

That's right all, just when you thought my blog couldn't become any more stimulating, I proudly present to you "gull reality TV". It's all my overwhelmed brain can do right now as I am now seeing what taking over 800 photos can do in the period of 4 days without access to a computer to see them while all of the images are still fresh in my mind. I wasn't so lucky so had to wait until I got home and am now presented with the overwhelming task of trying to figure out what bird is what which is bad in itself but even worse for a beginner such as myself considering that many birds are now in non-breeding plumage, eclipse plumage, etc. I have dozens of pictures of ducks that need analysis, shorebirds that need to be confirmed even though I know the majority of them are Least Sandpipers, Sanderlings and Semipalmated Plovers but even that is confusing as they don't look exactly as they did two weeks ago so it means more homework for me and my week is insane with work!
I decided to work with one of my favorite breeds of birds which are gulls and was excited for the challenge as it would allow me the opportunity to use my new fabulous book "Gulls of the Americas". Not so fast!! Now I have potential adult gulls who are already getting into non-breeding plumage so it is more challenging than I thought so decided to put that off for when I have more time too. So with that said, this is my post entry this evening!
It's amazing how much you can do when you are a birder when you are "beaching" it with the family. In the past when I didn't bird, I used to walk the beaches and look for seashells, jellyfish, crabs, etc as I have never been one who can tolerate sitting on a beach blanket all day reading a Daniel Steele novel and stuffing my face with Cheese Doodles. It makes me the black sheep again of the family, but what else is new! ;-). Now I have plenty of gulls to entertain me while soaking up the sun and that's exactly what I did as I watched this adult Herring Gull attempt to eat an early dinner on Saturday night.
He was eagerly scanning the trash barrels for tasty morsels left behind by the beach goers and was lucky enough to score himself an impressive bounty. To this day I have no idea what it is and when I look at it real close, I am almost happy I don't know what it is as it looks kind of gross to be honest with you. The only thing I can think of is franks and beans but it defies logic as who the hell would cart around franks and beans for a snack under the beach umbrella??
Anyhow, this hungry gull was determined to puncture the bag to get the goodies inside and it was very entertaining to watch.
There was one very determined immature Herring Gull that also wanted in on the meal but the adult Herring had no intention of sharing his bounty and had to resort to scare tactics in order to defend his turf.
The young gull would not back down though and would keep coming back only to be chased off again by the outraged adult.
After a while I started feeling bad for the gull and for one brief moment I thought about going over there and opening the bag for him but changed my mind as it didn't look at all appealing and seriously, who was I to interfere with nature! ;-)
I never did get to see if the gull was successful or not as we all had to head back to the house for dinner, but based upon the ingenuity of the gull, I am guessing he was.
Will try and get to the other posts this week but will be in meetings all day tomorrow and Boston tomorrow so can't guarantee it. Take care all!


Rich said...

Looks like a beautiful day at the beach. Gulls are interesting birds to watch - great shots!

Hilke Breder said...

Kim, I love your photos of that herring gull trying to figure out how to open the plastic bag. I too am fascinated by gulls. They present with a never ending variety of plumages - it's a specialty in itself.

Chris said...

Hi Kim
Fantastic set you got there. Yes it is kind of hard when you get so many pictures to sort out. It happens too me when I'm coming back from my holidays in France. Got 600 shots this year and then you've to remember, how you got them and what species it is, not so easy sometime.

matthew houskeeper said...

It looks like you have had a busy summer; Cape Cod, Plum Island, Maine, etc.
Glad to see it.

madcobug said...

Those were great shots. I hope it got that meal opened. Helen

Steve B said...

From one black sheep to another, I totally get it. When B and I go to the beach, we have to go where there are some birds so I can go and sit my ass in the mud and take picutes. I totally get this post, gulls aside!

Deborah Godin said...

You really get some great views of the private lives of the gulls! Or maybe not so private, but fewer people take the time to look or think it's worth recording. I do - they're nice looking birds!

NCmountainwoman said...

I'm betting the gull got the bag opened. Beanie weinies at the beach? In a plastic bag, yet?

Tina said...

Oh I don't envy you having to edit all those pictures..but it sure sounds like you had a wonderful time and watching those gulls sounds a lot more relaxing than a Daniel Steele novel anyday...ok maybe i would still do the cheese puffs but you can always share those with the gulls!
Nice post..can't wait to see more.

Chris Petrak said...

Only 800 photos? That's the trouble with digital cameras - we lose all constraints. Your photos remind me of Wyeth's series on 7 deadly sins, which use the gull to personify the sins. Nice series. Also, have you seen the Bird Cinema clip with the kleptomaniac gull. After you've sorted all the photos, try to find it - try the humorous or comic category. They're not only smart, bold, opportunistic, but with taste preferences


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