Wednesday, 4 November 2009


With the sun shining again this morning, we took ourselves off for a stroll around Straw's Bridge and a look at the Swans, Geese and Ducks swimming thereon. In addition to these waterfowl, there were a large number of Black-headed Gulls (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) in evidence.
With the onset of winter, these birds start to spread more widely inland and can be seen in great numbers on inland waterways such as this. One of Britain's most numerous gull species they are well known to us all as the loud, squabbling 'bullies' of park lakes, rivers and even town centres.
As with most gulls, these are remarkably long-lived birds and even in the wild can reach well into their 60's. They lose their 'Black' (actually brown) heads after the late-summer moult, leaving a dirty-looking smudge behind the eye.
This individual is a young bird as can be seen from the darker markings on it's wings and the less colourful nature of the legs and bill which become more red with maturity.
This youngster had all the hot-headedness of youth too. It seemed intent on having a bad-tempered peck at a nearby swan - brave or foolhardy? It soon became clear that it was a foolish act as the swan didn't take kindly to being pecked at and put the gull firmly in it's place. A lesson well learned by the young gull!
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