Herring Gulls

By: Suzanne

Mar 14 2010

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: loners

1 Comment

Focal Length:180mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D80

The migrating herring have spawned-out in the Georgia Strait. From the air, whole bays are white with the milt. In places along the shoreline, the tiny eggs, mixed with kelp and eelgrass, are piled as high as driftwood. Enjoying the abundance of this nutrient-rich food source, are at least seven species of gull—some resident and some migrating—and about 20,000 Brant Geese en route from Mexico to Alaska along the Western flyway.

When we visited Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville at high tide, most of the gulls were flocking at the North end of the beach. We stayed at the South end, watching the flocks from a distance. I was amazed that, with the short-lived smorgasbord laid out on the water, a few seagulls—alone and in pairs—were just soaring around, oblivious to all the activity down below. Taking pictures of the loners up there, so high and so small from where we stood on the beach, I couldn’t help thinking about Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

Recently,  my sister gave me an old copy of this cult classic of the 70s by Richard Bach. I read the book as a kid and loved it, though the spiritual allegory was probably lost on me. I had a seagull t-shirt, designed after one of Russell Munson’s photographs, and loved it to shreds.

I dug the book out when I got back home and on page two I read this: “Most gulls don’t bother to learn more than the simplest facts of flight—how to get from shore to food and back again. For most gulls, it is not flying that matters, but eating. For this gull, though, it was not eating that mattered, but flight. More than anything else, Jonathon Livingston Seagull loved to fly.”

One comment on “Herring Gulls”

  1. Fantastic photograph!

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