Journal of a photographer... Herring Seagulls
As a local, well who really is a local, I am privileged to have other locals unlock many doors for me. And so it was when last year about this time a gentleman showed me his private stash. He said to me "Do you want to see my favorites?" When I said I would he excitedly lead me to a place, he opened the door and before me were several empty bird nests. I asked him where the chicks were and he said they had already hatched and flown away.
This was the local waterfront treasure "Herring seagulls !!!"
I made sure I paid close attention to all that he told me. I kept his information close in anticipation to now, a year later. I watched that fall as the gulls roosted and flew. Throughout the winter I continued to observe them, their habits, their demeanor, and where they gathered to stay warm on cold winter nights. After all I am a "local" originally from away, but ever present in my beloved city.
When the time came for the seagulls to nest this year I began a semi vigil. I met people, "locals", who could point me in the right direction. I started sitting for hours and establishing a relationship with these sky rats, what an awful imagine for such a wonderful creature! I started feeding them and learning about their nesting behavior.
I also fell in love ! To know them, the gulls, is to love them...
Herring Seagull Chick.jpg
I remember the day well, it was overcast but warm. I walked down the road , through the path , and onto the beach. The waves were strong and I was glad that I had my boots on to keep my feet dry. I looked and saw birds and seagulls laughing in the wind. I lowered my body almost flat on the sand as the salty air filled my lungs. I dug my elbows into the ground and positioned my camera. At that time I didn't know how to shoot in manual and I didn't know the different types of beach birds by name.
All I knew was that it was beautiful...
I am close to being done with my heron project, though I have a few more details to work out.
I am moving on and beginning a new "the wonder of it all" photography and observation. I'll be watching seagulls for a while. Yes seagulls! Like the Canada geese of last year I already adore them. Here is a bit of information I've learned about the herring seagull.
The adults are very protective of their young and territory.
Seagulls don't reach adult maturity for about 4 years.
Juvenile gulls stay near their parents and close to their colonies.
Below is a picture of two juvenile herring seagulls at different stages. They are playing and the younger is on the older ones back.