Sunday, July 21, 2013

There's No Such Thing As A Seagull

My Dad corrects me every time I use the word "seagull".  There's no such thing as a seagull.  In Europe there are over twenty species of gull, with the herring gull being the most prevalent.  Large and noisy, they nest in colonies on cliffs, islands and rooftops and these days are just as often seen scavenging on landfill sites and school playgrounds as they are dive-bombing tourists for their chips and pasties in seaside towns.  They are opportunistic scavengers (politely called "omnivores") and refuse comprises up to half of the bird's diet, rather than herrings as the name might suggest.  We had one swoop from our rooftop onto the table alongside our barbeque last week and it left the three freshly caught mackerel alone and instead went for and then promptly dropped a shrink-wrapped packet of bacon, illustrating an unfortunate evolution in diet.  Scavengers or not, the herring gull is a symbol of the coast and I can't think of a better soundtrack to time spent beside the seaside.

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