Tuesday 23 August 2011

Base Jumping Gull

Way back on the 4th of June, I mentioned on my blog that the single Herring Gull chick which hatched out in the precariously positioned nest on our chimney, subsequently fell a long way to the ground and lived. I rescued it from next door's drive and installed it on our out-house roof. Watching it grow has been a bit of a bitter sweet experience, the pleasure of watching a beautiful creature develop to its full potential ( Yes, I know some people hate Gulls...but not me I think they are beautiful) contrasting with the not so pleasurable fishy smell ( the nest I made for it was only a few feet above the back door) and the even worse dive-bombing we were subjected to on a daily basis. I had to run to the car with a brolly to be on the safe side! I was only actually hit by a poo-bomb once though. Fifty-one days after the impressive free-fall the youngster took her first flight (pretty sure it was a her, reason to follow) but I was dossing in bed and missed it. It must have been successful though, because that was it, she was gone. Both the parents kept coming back periodically but there was no sign of baby. Then last Wednesday, a whole 24 days later, when I'd given up hope of seeing her again I arrived home from work and was just feeding the Guinea Pigs when I heard a familiar sound. Both parents and baby were on the roof, she was still begging for food and the male gull duly obliged...yuk! . It was almost dark but I took a few snaps as a memento. I've seen her several times since...I wonder where she went for over three weeks?!

Scene of the initial 'base jump'. It's a tall house!

Day one.

After a week...very cute indeed!

After four weeks, um, not quite so cute now.

 Last Wednesday and the young gull is now about eleven weeks old and quite independent
although not adverse to a free meal if she can get it!

 The male gull is an absolute brute of a bird with a very fierce look about him and very unusual plumage. His mantle feathers look almost wet all the time because they have dark markings on them. I thought it was something to do with moulting at first but he always looks like this, it hasn't changed. I don't recall seeing any other gulls like it.

The young gull eventually developed into a very pretty individual with a small cute head which leads me to believe it's a female. Although some people ( unfortunately, probably many more than a few) would not thank me in the slightest for saving her life, thus ensuring another 'winged rat' is at large, I'm pleased I did. It was a pleasure...Not sure I'll miss the sight that greeted me most mornings when I opened the back door though...

...the doting mummy.. fully loaded and ready to attack!


Anonymous said...

Great post & shots, Karen.
I`m with you, i like Herring Gulls.

Anonymous said...

dear karen i am not a birder but have recently been watching some uncommon birds that i see you are interested in and have made a discovery i think you will be very interested in. my laptop is damaged and all but unusable can you give me a call please on 0795 852 6381 siomon, fairly urgent!

Karen Woolley said...

Dean, thanks for your comment I'm pleased that you like Herring Gulls too. Lots of people in these part want them culled.

Anonymous, Do you think I came down in the last shower? F*** off! :-(

catharine said...

Lovely photos - I'm with you with Gulls. Sadly we lost two of our youngsters but one has survived. We usually see him on a daily basis in the front garden and there is still a parent accompanying him. Such dedicated, protective parents:)