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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ARCHIVE 388 – YOUNG GULL AT ST IVES (MONO)

 

 


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Juvenile Herring Gull in the harbour at St Ives, Cornwall; 27 Sept 2012.

I have a liking for photos that appear more like the products of other media and here is something certainly heading that way – perhaps more like a pencil drawing?  I’ve used a Soft Portrait preset, which includes pale vignetting, and the bird appears to be emerging from dense mist, with even its left wing nebulous and obscure.

Using this preset has also almost completely obscured details of the sea below the bird – and this all makes for an artificially isolated vignette of the creature – a sketch in a notebook perhaps.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 800 ISO; conversion to mono in Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Soft Classic Portrait preset, and giving the image the look of Ilford Delta 400 mono print film.

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BIRDS 103 – HERRING GULL IN CITY CENTRE HABITAT

 

 


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Herring Gull Larus argentatus at a city centre food source.  An adult, in breeding plumage.

Gulls?  Rats with wings is one name I’ve heard for them but, as always, I love them, having grown up alongside them all those years ago – this is a photo for you, Lynn, my ex-birder friend – enjoy!

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

Technique: X-T2 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 305mm (equiv); 6400 ISO; Lightroom, using the Velvia/Vivid film simulation; Welsh Back, central Bristol; 2 Feb 2018.
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BIRDS 94 – HERRING GULL (MONO)

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

A piercing stare – (s)he was sitting on top of a car parked on the harbourside, and I eased forwards, taking little steps, often pausing, and making a diagonal rather than head-on approach.  The D800 was set for APS-C format, and so I had 450mm – 9x magnification – to play with.  I made some very low clicking noises with my tongue, and (s)he looked at me.

How I love gulls!  They were all around during my childhood, they are all over Bristol now, and their wild calls are just that – a very welcome reminder of the wild across the city’s skyline.  They fly in to the city very early each morning, while its still dark – because its ok to get lost when the day is just starting.  But they leave before dusk, because getting lost at night is another matter entirely.

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

Technique: D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens, used in APS-C format to give 450mm; 400 ISO; Lightroom; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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ARCHIVE 301 – HERRING GULL, WITH SEAWEED (MONO)

 

 


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Herring Gull and seaweed on the beach at St Ives, Cornwall; 24 Apr 2012.

As with Moorings at St Ives, here, this was taken looking down onto the beach from West Pier.  The gull was resting on the sands below the pier and, as I looked over, he tilted his head sideways, to look upwards and give me a long and very wary stare.  Because his head is tilted onto its side, the beach and its seaweed appear to be on a vertical surface behind him.

Technique: D700 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; converted to mono and further manipulated with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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BIRDS 92 – HERRING GULL

 

 


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Adult Herring Gull, Porthleven, Cornwall; 18 Oct 2016.

A big, meaty bird, a bird to be taken seriously – and particularly so if its trying to steal your lunch!  The dark streaking shows it to be in winter plumage.

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

Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujifilm lens at 305mm (equiv); 800 ISO; Lightroom.
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BIRDS 89 – YOUNG HERRING GULL

 

 

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Young Herring Gull on West Pier, St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

This the bird already pictured here.

There are other recent gull shots here and here.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.
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BIRDS 88 – 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.

There are earlier images from this recent gull series here and here.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO.
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BIRDS 87 – HERRING GULL 2 (MONO)

 

 

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Herring Gull, an adult in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016 – the bird already shown in colour here.

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 400 ISO; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Fine Art High Key preset.
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BIRDS 85 – HERRING GULL, ST IVES – AND MAYHEM!

 

 

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Herring Gull, an adult in winter plumage, beside the harbour in St Ives, Cornwall; 20 Oct 2016.

I’ve been using my new Fujifilm X-T1 camera a lot of late, but there’s no doubt that where speed and accuracy of autofocus are concerned, it simply cannot compete with the systems on Nikon’s full-frame cameras.  Fujifilm’s new X-T2 may address these shortcomings – but whether I want to lay out £1800+ to get an X-T2 plus the power grip that will of course make this diminutive camera bulkier, is another matter.

And so, having been down to St Ives a few weeks back and been frustrated by the X-T1’s slow autofocus, I took both the X-T1 and Nikon’s D800 when we did a second trip to the southwest tip of Cornwall last week – because, if we were going to St Ives again, I wanted 100% autofocus efficiency in order to tackle the fast-moving gulls and Turnstones that are always a feature of the place.

A visit to St Ives duly materialised, we were in the harbour near the West Pier, and there was an adult Herring Gull sitting on the roof of a car.  The bird looked quiet and composed, not fazed at all by the many people hurrying close by.  It looked good for a close-in picture, but the first thing to do was examine what was visible behind it because, although close-in use of a long telephoto throws the background out of focus, any contrasty elements in that background may still have the potential to significantly spoil the shot.  I edged myself into a position where the background seemed unobtrusive.

I put the D800 into DX (APS-C) format, which magnifies the 300mm end of my telezoom to 450mm (= x9 magnification), brought the camera up to my eye, and advanced very, very cautiously and intermittently towards the bird.  I shuffled forwards, very quietly sliding my feet across the smooth pavement.  I didn’t go on until the bird flew, but was surprised at how close I got – and it continued sitting on top the car, looking relaxed throughout, even when the D800’s rather loud shutter started up.

AND THEN FOLLOWED SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED:  We bought hot snacks from a kiosk and walked on up the harbourside eating them, my wife leading the way.  A gull that had perched on the keel of an upturned boat started screaming madly at me, like some frenzied demon from the netherworld.  Well, I grew up beside the sea where gulls were always around and they don’t faze me at all, so I promptly screamed manically back at it >>> whereupon it fell off its perch, took flight and immediately attacked my wife, knocking her sausage roll from her hand onto the ground before going down on the roll in a savage feeding frenzy.  Whereupon a second gull launched a similarly frenzied attack on the first gull and the roll, and the people around us scattered left and right to avoid the mayhem!  As I tried, somewhat lamely, to explain to my wife later, it could have happened to anyone …

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

D800 with 70-300 Nikkor lens used in DX format to give a 450mm telephoto; 400 ISO.
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