Thank Heavens For Little GullsJune 20, 2011 at 19:43 | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
Not, in fact, Little Gulls (Larus minutus) but chicks of our old friend Barrow’s own gull, the Lesser Black-Backed (L Fuscus). I reckon these two are about two weeks old and are only just beginning to acquire their wing feathers.
I noted in my private journal that I saw the first chicks, as tiny, spotty balls of fluff, on 25 May. I’ve been watching them just about every day since; those first chicks are now, less than four weeks on, as big as their parents, have their flight feathers, and are almost ready to start jumping up and down trying to fly. That won’t take long and by August they’ll be swooping round the docks, getting ready to fly to the Mediterranean in September.
The gull colony shares their space – former railway sidings now kept surrounded by razor wire as a cordon sanitaire by the shipyard – with a warren of rabbits. The rabbits and the gulls get along just fine, but let a magpie in and there’s sure to be trouble. They aren’t madly keen on humans with cameras getting too close either so one has to take the chance when one can.