Friday, 27 January 2012

The G word


Can't get away from the buggers at the moment. Every other blog seems to parade the latest images of Iceland Gulls, Med Gulls, Caspian Gulls, even humble Herring Gulls. Of all ages. And races. A grey, white and buff celebration of all things larid.

Why don't I sound so keen?

Well, I do like gulls. I even scope flocks of them and pit my knowledge of them against what is before me. I reckon I'm OK on gulls but not up to scratch compared to the true larophiles that seem to lurk in every harbour, landfill site and reservoir the length and breadth of Britain.

Gulls seem to attract a certain sort of birder. They are pioneers (there is still so much to learn about them). They are purists (the need of critical examination, note taking and good old fashioned fieldcraft is required). They are confident (if you don't have birding self-belief you wouldn't tackle them).

I can understand why some birders look the other way where gulls are concerned. Not everybody has the time, discipline and sheer willpower to take them on. To me, gull watchers are Clint Eastwood, they are Sir Runnulph Feinnes, they are in the SAS - single-minded obsessives who tread ground that most people don't visit.If you think this is bollocks stand next to one as they scan a gull flock. Be prepared to be there for hours. Be prepared to listen to a language that is understood by fewer people than understand Elvish. Be prepared to realise how little you actually know.

If you take on the challenge, then say goodbye to normal birding...


  1. I know absolutely nothing... To me, it's bad enough trying to work out waders and warblers, let alone these

  2. A real weakness of mine but one species I would love to learn more about. Some nice posts and photos Steve, shall follow with interest.

  3. Neil, being a gull fanatic is possibly an affliction, so you should stay clear!!!

    Marc: thanks for the comments. I have added Reculver Birder to my blog list. I haven't visited the towers for a long time...

  4. I like gulls, and occasionally let it show. I don't know about 'confident', Steve (much of the time I am filled with self-doubt) but obviously am frequently mistaken for a young version of Clint Eastwood / Sir Rannulph Fiennes / other tough and gritty idols...