Now, our beach is huge. Approximately three miles wide, half a mile plus deep (depending on the tide), flat and made of fine sand. Lovely. And this morning, I had it all to myself. I couldn’t see a single soul. In any direction. Actually, there appeared to be no life at all. Apart from one seagull.
Having the camera in my bag, I whipped this out with the intention of taking a picture of this large predatory gull, who stood about six yards away from me. He immediately turned his back on me and moved a few steps away and stopped. I moved towards him. He moved away and stopped again. We kept at this for about ten minutes. In the end, he and I were trotting round each other, in circles. Net result? One picture of a gull’s back. Great.
This all seemed a bit surprising, as our experience of the beach gulls is that they’re very tame, with advanced food search and recover skils.
A couple of years ago, we conducted an experiment with the gulls. As they love junk food, this involved the use of those highly nutritious snacks, Hula Hoops. The gulls were zooming around the beach, showing off their flying skills. So, we placed a single Hula Hoop on the sand a few yards from where we were sitting. It took about five seconds for one of the gulls to clock the Hula Hoop. It then descended with the speed of a Spitfire, accurately pinpointed the Hula Hoop and was seen chewing it, as it pulled away into a complicated flight path over a sea front hotel. We continued this activity until all the Hula Hoops were gone. Fascinating.
My daughter saw the picture of the gull, found it hilarious and immediately christened him Stan.