Dive-bombed by hungry seagulls

05 April 2013

“Flat Kathy, do you want to feed the seagulls?”

“Ooh yes!” I cried. “I’d love to!”

After our flamingo adventure, we had driven a bit further north along the promenade, towards the harbour. Richard pulled into a parking area and we climbed out; he stuck me into the sand on the edge of the lagoon.

A large flock of flamingoes was calmly feeding in the shallow mudflats, with excitable little birds running up and down on the shoreline. Gulls swooped overhead, occasionally diving really low, and pulling out of the dive just before they hit the water, and just before they collided with each other.

“Here’s half a bread roll,” Richard said, helping me to tear off little pieces and tossing it in a circle all around me. Within moments, I was surrounded by seagulls.

Whoa there! Hang on a bit! Don't knock me over! Reggie - help!!
Whoa there! Hang on a bit! Don’t knock me over! Reggie – help!!

“Those big ones are Kelp Gulls,” Reggie pointed to a large white-and-black gull with a  yellow bill that had a small red knob on it. “And I think that dark-grey one is a juvenile; it doesn’t yet have its adult plumage.”

“The smaller ones are Hartlaub’s Gulls,” she continued, pointing out a couple of smaller, white-and-grey gulls that had landed softly next to me, waiting for a moment when the large Kelp Gulls with their powerful beaks were distracted, so that they too could snag a piece of bread.

It was – I admit – a little nerve-wracking, because they flew very, very close… and ever so often, a big, powerfully flapping wing would narrowly miss my face.

But it was thrilling too!

(Click on any of the photos below to access the slideshow with captions.)

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