Lesser Black-Backed Gull

April 10, 2008 at 14:21 | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lesser Black-Backed Gull

If Barrow had an official bird, which it doesn’t because we don’t do that kind of thing, it would surely be Larus fuscus, the Lesser Black-Backed Gull. They aren’t exactly uncommon, but a quarter of the European population breed in Britain, and a third of those do so within the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness, so in the whole of Europe, one Lesser Black-Back in twelve is a Barrovian. Which surely says something about the place.

Actually, what it says is that these ground-nesting gulls just love the marshlands at the south end of Walney. Opportunists as all gulls are, they also appreciate the extensive tracts of redundant shipyard land and the ready supply of food that an agglomeration of wasteful humans provides, so they can be seen in abundance close to the town centre too. This one was on the parapet of the Michaelson Road Bridge. And yes, I know it’s a crap piece of digital manipulation so don’t bother telling me!

The Lesser Black-Back superficially resembles the more familiar Herring Gull, but has a dark slate-grey upper surface to its wings, yellow legs rather than pink, and is slightly smaller. It is also slightly smaller, slightly less noisy, more slender, more elegant in flight, less aggressive and less obnoxious in its habits.

Barrow has plenty of Herring Gulls too; they nest on cliffs (for which read buildings) and keep you awake in the small hours of summer mornings.

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