Pieces of Silver

There is much to admire about Silver Gulls despite the fact that they are often maligned due to their adaptability to human encroachment. Some issues could be mitigated if organic waste was dealt with differently at landfill sites and gulls subsequently reduced in number. Regardless of the controversy they are a remarkable species.


Silver Gull hatchling - Kim Wormald

Silver Gull with chick


Parent birds share the duties related to breeding. This mottled nestling is being fed with regurgitated food, it is in the process of swallowing a mouthful which can just be seen heading south. Silver Gulls generally lay three eggs in a scrape lined with vegetation. They nest in colonies and although this was the only hatchling I saw there were several young birds around, mostly only one or two per nest.



Silver Gull chick 2 - Kim Wormald

Silver Gull chick


Most of these images were taken on Phillip Island, at the breeding area around The Nobbies. The chicks, above and below, are standing on Little Penguin nesting boxes.


Silver Gull chick - Kim Wormald

Silver Gull chick


Preening is a risky activity when chicks are this young – this little tacker over-balanced and fell into the dry grasses. I like the ‘fluffy ball’ look as it preened and think its feet look fascinating, quite reptilian.



Silver Gull chick 3 - Kim Wormald

Silver Gull chick


The chick above was still at the nesting site but well on its way to independence. I find the softer look of the youngsters more appealing than the brighter whites and the red eye-ring, bill and legs of the adults.


Silver Gull juvenile - Kim Wormald

Silver Gulls


This flying youngster seems to be getting a stern look from the adult.

It’s been a crazily busy week with a few thousand images added to the Lightroom catalogue, a few of which I plan to share next week.

Happy birding, Kim


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10 comments to Pieces of Silver

  • Adorable chicks and I agree, I like the mottling of the chicks better than the stark white. Gives them a bit more character for sure!

    • lirralirra

      I prefer the dark eyes to the white eyes of the adult, there’s something a bit disconcerting about white eyes though lots of birds have them.

  • Alyssa

    Ooo this is so sweet! I didn’t know that silver gull chicks were mottled like that, I have never seen one before! Gorgeous 🙂

  • Margot

    Love the silver gull chicks. Just as well the adult gulls know to feed these delightful babes who look nothing like Mum and Dad!!

    • lirralirra

      That’s a funny thought Margot! Actually it’s made me think of birds feeding cuckoos, sometimes it seems to be just the postures and calls of the nestlings that trigger the feeding response of the adults – there’s probably a scientific paper on that somewhere which would make interesting reading.

  • You are so right about the feet. Every so often I look at birds and ‘see’ that they are related to dinosaurs.
    Love this series, and the beautifully camouflagued chicks. Thank you.

  • Brilliant, brilliant photos. I’ve been photographing birds feeding young for the past season and struggle to get any photos of regurgitated food in action.

    This has inspired me to focus on silver gull chicks nest season. Is there an ideal time where main breeding activity takes place, or does this take place over a long period? I definitely need to prioritize Phillip Island 🙂

    • lirralirra

      Hi Jade, breeding has just about finished at Phillip Island for this season but a visit to The Nobbies is nearly always worth the trip. I’ve seen most breeding activity on the island between August and December but the birds will sometimes breed more than once in a season, I’m guessing the hatchlings in this post are from second nests.I’ll look out for you on the island!

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