ARCHIVE 458 – HERRING GULL AT NEW QUAY (MONO)

 

 

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Herring Gull on the harbour wall at New Quay, Ceredigion, west Wales; 23 September 2014.

Once again, my love for these “rats with wings”, whose anarchy, opportunism and sheer being good at what they do upsets our ordered little seaside – and now urban – worlds.

And a delicate beauty here perhaps, but that hard eye has you in its gaze and this is no time to let your guard down by drifting off into sentiment and aesthetics.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Antique Plate II preset.

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BIRDS 129 – BLACK-HEADED GULL 2

 

 


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Breeding plumage Black-headed Gull over Chew Valley Lake, not far south of Bristol.  This is a relatively small gull, easily identified in this plumage by the white blaze on the forewing, the chocolate brown (not black!) hood, the white eye ring and the red bill.

There is another picture of a Black-headed Gull here .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 1600 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Provia/Standard profile; Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 4 July 2016.
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BRISTOL 164 – YOUNGSTER, LOST AND UNSURE

 

 


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Walking in the city centre, starting to descend a tall flight of steps – and finding this young lost soul.  This is a young gull, probably hatched on a nearby rooftop, that has now flown down out of the nest, to find itself in a totally alien environment of steps, streets, vehicles and people.

These lost young birds don’t know what to: and some walk straight out into the busy traffic and meet an instant end.  But others survive and, as evidence of this, the gulls breeding on Bristol’s roofs are an annual event.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window – certainly recommended.

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 400 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Astia/Soft profile; central Bristol; 7 July 2017.
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ARCHIVE 438 – YOUNG GULL, YAWNING

 

 


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Gull yawning; St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

This is most probably a Herring Gull.  The brown speckling on its plumage shows it to be a young bird, probably now just about to enter its first winter – it hatched from its egg this summer.

It was perched on the wall of the West Pier at St Ives, “loafing” as birdwatchers say.  Which means that it had had some food, that it wasn’t desperately hungry, so that it was just hanging around – while still no doubt keeping an eye out for any chance meal that might present itself.

I leant against the wall and, very gradually, inched my way towards it, keeping silent, compact and low.  It shuffled a little, it wasn’t quite sure about me (sensible bird!), but then it relaxed, and I started gradually capturing images.  I could have wished that the D800’s shutter was quieter but, on the plus side, its reliable autofocus did its usual excellent job, and I was able to concentrate on the images, rather than on whether they were sharp or not.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.

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BIRDS 127 – BLACK-HEADED GULL

 

 


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Adult Black-headed Gull beside the river in central Bristol, hoping for handouts from passersby.  Its just moulting into breeding plumage, with its dark brown hood (not in fact black at all!) appearing.  This is the smallest of our common gulls – decidedly smaller than the equally common Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls – and often with a more elegant, more tern-like flight.  Its found by water here in the city centre but, a bold and agile scavenger, its quite capable of diving screaming into our back garden when we throw stale bread out onto the back lawn.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window: recommended, if you’re into birds (like all civilised people should be 🙂 … )

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 3200 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera ASTIA/Soft profile; central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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OUTER SUBURBS 195 – LOOKING AT NATURE IN THE MODERN WORLD

 

 


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Suburban landscape with clear sky and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Two worlds.  The built environment, beautiful in its own, quite Minimal way.  But entirely rigid and immobile and – save for the curved sides of the light – entirely bounded by artificial, straight surfaces in this view.

And the other world, the Natural World, the world of which you and I are a part.  The blue sky, featureless, just a colour, amorphous, ultimately uncontrived, and beautiful too.  And the bird, intricate, alive, warm-blooded and – unaided – eminently mobile in the air, on water and on land, which is rather more than you and I can manage.  Millions of years of evolution have made it very good at what it does: it is a highly efficient scavenger and predator and, like many birds the world over, it has readily adapted to breeding on the structures that we build.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: TG-5 at 70mm (equiv); 125 ISO; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Vivid profile; south Bristol; 26 Feb 2019.
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BRISTOL 157 – MARSH STREET (MONO)

 

 


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The built environment – rigid, cold, blank, straight-sided – and the barely seen, soft and natural roundnesses of a small, warm, living thing.

Click onto the image twice to open a larger version in a separate window – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 105mm; 6400 ISO; in-camera processing of the raw file, using the Graphite profile; Marsh Street, central Bristol; 29 Nov 2019.
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SOMERSET LEVELS 434 – ANOTHER WORLD (MONO)

 

 


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Walking in The Boulevard, one of Weston’s main streets.  It was a wet morning, rain forever around, and there was a lot of surface water.  In my path, a large puddle spread across the pavement and, well before I reached it, I could see reflections in it – and so to ramping the telezoom up to 300mm and, standing quite some distance back from it, looking at and into this puddle.

I was looking into another world.  There was the reflection of a tall street lamp and, nearer, a street sign too, and the patterns of paving stones were also visible.  I’d taken several frames when the reflection of a gull suddenly passed through the frame – and I managed a single shot before it was gone.  And thence to simplifying the image by presenting it in mono, and presenting it upside down to make it more readable, while preserving the dreamlike, otherworldly atmosphere.

And, in yet another (this time, bygone) world >>> opposite this spot, 60 years ago, a toy shop called Driver’s was an exciting centre in my young life – forever adding to my vast regiments of toy soldiers, and also allowing me to buy fireworks in the days when they were both affordable and freely available to youngsters like me.  For those of you old enough, do Penny Bangers, Jumping Jacks, Volcanoes and Catherine Wheels bring back any memories???  We youngsters used to light a Penny Banger (effectively a small explosive device, costing one OLD penny) and hold it until it started fizzing and was just about to explode, and then drop it into a puddle, when it would shoot across the surface of the water before blowing up: delighted – and retaining all our fingers too – we called it a Torpedo …..

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera processing of raw file, using the Graphite profile; further processing in Lightroom; 180 degrees’ rotation;  The Boulevard, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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BIRDS 123 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull around refuse and recycling bins in Weston town centre; possibly not too happy with my presence … LOL!  >>> I grew up here, these birds were always around, they were a part of my childhood, and I have to confess to a great fondness for them, quite regardless of any aggression on their part.  If I’d been eating fish and chips, I would have certainly shared them with him – and probably outraged the (more or less mindless and unimaginative, it has to be said) local authorities by doing so.

But, looking at things another way, here is a very successful creature, certainly at home on the coast and inland waters, but also, equally, at home scavenging around human habitation – LOL again!!! >>> unless absolutely desperate (after a nuclear holocaust, perhaps???), I wouldn’t want to eat the rotting refuse he’s eating, whereas he will take both the refuse and my fish and  chips – and me too if I were moribund or actually dead (starting with my eyes, most probably …) ->>> and he’d do so with great alacrity!

Quite simply, he is very good at what he does.  Most of society – sitting in front of TV’s and becoming increasingly estranged from the natural world – no doubt find him abhorrent, but I admire his expertise – years ago, I read that if function is beauty, then the Spotted Hyaena (a truly voracious predator and hardly the world’s most aesthetic organism, even I will admit) >>> well I read that if function is beauty, then the hyaena is beautiful, and some similar sentiment also applies here.  I know, I’m a Silly Old Romantic, I know …. but gull and chips might actually be quite tasty … with a little salt and tomato sauce …. of course …..

And, as I’ve said before on this blog, in a parallel universe, if I were eating my tasty gull and chips beside the sea, maybe a fish would jump up out of the water and steal it …..

All recent bird pictures are here: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 .

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to further enlarge it – recommended.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 3200 ISO; in-camera conversion of raw file using the Graphite profile and cropping; Weston-super-Mare, Somerset; 22 Nov 2019.
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BIRDS 111 – LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL

 

 


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This image is best viewed enlarged: click onto it to open a larger version in a separate window. and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

Lesser Black-backed Gull – giving me quite a fixed stare!  The medium to pale grey upperwings are typical of this bird, and the dark markings on the white head appear in winter.

This is one of the common, larger gulls in the UK, being found around coasts and lakes, and also as a scavenger in towns.  I grew up alongside gulls in a seaside town and have always liked them and viewed them as a normal part of the landscape, but many think otherwise, both because of the mess that these birds can make around human habitation, and for their sometimes aggressive behaviour.  Walking around south Bristol, taking photographs for this blog’s Outer Suburbs series, I sometimes have these gulls come down to have a look at me, but as I’m never carrying/eating any food there’s no problem – although I do always invite them to come down and try their luck – if they’d like a spot of bother, that is …

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in APS-C mode to give 450mm; 800 ISO; spot metering; Lightroom, starting at the Camera Neutral v2 profile; Herons Green, Chew Valley Lake, Somerset; 18 Oct 2019.
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