Recent quiet times on the newspaper front have seen the headline grabbing Lesser black-backed Gulls ate my dog ( See Link) spread instant anti gull rhetoric countrywide lead by our nature loving prime minister amongst others. Fortunately there are a few independent voices of reason suggesting some evidence as to the gull problem might be a good place to start.
I have been attempting to get some decent photographs of the village gulls myself including the black-headed gulls and herring gulls which have drifted back into the village after the breeding season as well as the increasing number of ‘killer’ Lesser Black-backed gulls which appear to breed more locally and have been regular for a month or two soaring over the village.
In the end I did what any aspiring nature photographer would do headed to the coast and a good chip shop. First stop however on route was Happisburgh which I love to visit to watch the sand martins in and out of their nests on the cliff face. The martins didn’t disappoint however the young have all fledged and will soon be returning to Africa. What was also great to see was little terns with young feeding just off-shore.
The tide had just gone out leaving pools of fish perilously close to either being dried out or becoming an easy snack for hungry seabirds. I guess they live life on the edge this way twice a day. I am not sure of an ID and welcome any comments as to their ID before I search the fish guides.
Mystery Fish (possibly Pipe Fish)
After tern watching it was on to Walcott for the days main event and target photography so armed with chips and having eaten a few I set about taking the photos of Gulls by the sea that are seen locally in the village. First and clearly king of the beach was a herring gull with some additional ‘bling’. The leg rings and some helpful assistance from bird forum members reveal its history :
Herring Gull Left leg: Orange ring with black code V6HT. Right leg: Metal ring GR75657. Seen Cley Marshes 18/9 Ringed as a second calendar year 5/10/13 at Pitsea Landfill Site (Essex). Movements: Walcott (Norfolk) 10+27/10/13. The bird was photographed in the same spot two years previously and the taste for the chips locally appears to have lead to him settling down.
Next to give me something that goes beyond my usual ‘record shot’ photography was the dog killers themselves the .lesser black-backed gulls.
Last but not least were the black-headed gulls which are the most common ‘village gull’.
Lastly for today a size comparison shot which shows the smaller black-headed gull with the larger lesser black-backed gull. There will be further photos in future blogs and on the Flickr site accessed from the photos page.