Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wings against blue sky

A cold wind blew away the clouds on Tuesday, leaving the sky clear and ice-blue. We layered sweaters and jackets and went to White Rock.

The gulls were all down on a far section of the beach, crammed together, waiting for something. Me and my bag of bread, maybe. As soon as I tossed a couple of small pieces onto a picnic table, one in the air wheeled and headed my way; the rest took off and followed him.

Too many gulls! I couldn't keep up with the rush. I kept breaking off smallish bits, so as to give everyone a fair share, throwing some on the table, some on the grass around and behind me. One gull, smaller than most, hovered over my head like a hummingbird, instead; I threw a piece in the air, and he snatched it before it fell. So I threw more, and all his siblings and cousins joined him up there.

None of the larger gulls tried this; they stood not-so-patiently on the table and grass, watching.

I gave up being fair; the lazy gulls could pick up the pieces the hoverers missed. The rest of the bag of bread went up, not down. At the end, the braver of the gulls were holding their place in line less than a foot in front of my head, so close that I kept automatically ducking and closing my eyes.

Laurie stood there, against the light, and took photos of the gulls in the air. I loved the shapes of their wings, black and white against the clear sky.

There are four pieces of bread in the air.

I've lightened this photo up, to show the ring on the bill, and the yellow eye.

As far as I can tell, these are ring-billed gulls; a medium-sized gull with a black ring around the bill, but no red spot with it, yellow feet and eyes, grey back, and black-tipped wings with two white spots near the end.

A Skywatch post.


  1. The greediest gulls where I live are Herring Gulls and we are warned not to feed them because they have taken to swooping in and grabbing food from people's hands while they are eating their picnics.

    These pictures are inspiring.

  2. Hi, Lucy! Yes, they do that here, too, especially near concession stands. One took a whole hotdog out of my granddaughter's hand, when she was just a little thing. We had to buy her another.

  3. My favourite part is the sunlight through the feathers in the wings of the gulls!!!
    The paint and lichens are the colours you describe on my monitor, too.
    I love the photos of the spider! I was thinking of asking if I could print the one showing his eyes, to take to a friend who is 102 - she did not know that spiders have 6, or is it 8 eyes. I don't think this photo is close enough, though. My DD is in South Africa, and she was talking about seeing spider eyeshine in the grass - purple!!

  4. Down here the Ring -bills chase the ferry and people will pop them fries from the upper decks. When you are on the lower decks it is a good photo op to get gull agains sky shots.

    I think they burn more calories than they eat.

  5. Lovely description of the gulls, Susannah, and beautiful photos. A nice experience.

  6. Anonymous8:24 pm

    Wow - the clarity and sharpness in these photos are amazing. They are very beautiful!

  7. Beautiful birds against a beautiful sky.

  8. Gorgeous photos and closeups. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about the exact species.

  9. Great action shots!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  10. Great captures, looks like you were having fun with the gulls.

  11. I love Gulls and these are very fun images!

  12. The way they use their feathers is very interesting. Each one tweaked to make minute adjustments. - Margy

  13. wonderful photos, i love birds :)

  14. gulls are my very good friends... love these photos!

  15. Fan-tas-tic, the wings are so beautiful and detailed !!


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