Gale force gulls

The high winds at the headland made it difficult to stand upright without hanging onto handrails, gale force gusts buffeted me and my camera and made my over-sized rain jacket flap demonically. And all the while the gulls flew. Sometimes they flew into the wind, sometimes they miraculously held their position for a few momenst until relaxing and being flung backwards like discarded paper.

 

Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 365mm

 

Despite their speed I managed to get some in flight shots that I like. I kept the aperature wide open for maximum shutter speed and put the ISO on automatic as the lighting changed constantly due to partial cloud cover.

 

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 160mm

 

The horizon for this shot needed correcting as it was badly sloping due to the buffeting of the wind.

 

 

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, focal length 100mm

 

Every so often all the gulls that were resting on the headland would take to the air, swooping across the granite outcrop before heading out to sea.

 

 

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 235mm

 

A Peregrine Falcon was scouting the area and every time it came close to the gulls it prompted a mass exodus.

 

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100, focal length 160mm

In a couple of the images the gulls seem very metallic which suits their name perfectly.

 

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 250mm

 

Adult Silver Gulls have bright orange/red bills, eye rings and legs. I wonder how much practise they need to become such remarkable flyers.

.

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1250, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 260mm

 

I thought I should share at least one image, above, that gives an inkling of how noisy it was on the headland.

.

Silver Gull
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/1000, f/5.6, ISO 200, focal length 235mm

 

I thought these gulls were brave to fly so close to each other in such unpredictable conditions, they looked like synchronised flyers instead of synchronised swimmers.

I often hear people call seagulls the ‘rats of the sky’ or ‘rats with wings’ but can’t agree. They are remarkable birds that are resourceful enough to cope with the damage that humans have done to their environment. They clean up after us too, scavenging around bins and at landfill sites. They are confident creatures and are fighting for their right to survive while more secretive species quietly sink towards extinction.

Happy birding, Kim

 

 

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