I’ve been away quite a bit lately, so there’s quite a bit of catching up to do here in Rhos-on-Sea. The weather here, as everywhere else has not been conducive to venturing far, but I have been able to do some very productive birdwatching from my bedroom window, which I probably would not have done had I been out and about, so some clouds do have silver linings. In this case the silver has been in the shape of Herring Gulls – (the scientific name larus argentatus translates as silver gull). The activity has been brought about by the recent fledging of the single offspring produced by the pair that nested atop our next-door neighbour’s chimney pot.
At first the young gull spent a lot of time resting on the flat roof, where it is surprisingly well camouflaged.
In between bouts of resting it wandered around the rooftop picking at the odd collection of sticks, shells, bones and other random items brought there by its parents hoping to find something edible it may have missed.
I don’t need to sit and watch and wait for the parents to arrive with food as both adult and their young one set off such a cacophony of noise at the sight of one another I can hear them from wherever I am in the house. Once a parent lands the youngster automatically adopts the typical crouched, hunched shoulder begging posture that makes it look a bit like a small vulture.
The loud communication between the two birds continues for a minute or so, then the parent allows the young one to approach and finally to tap the red spot on its beak to stimulate the regurgitation of the food it has brought.
What follows is not pretty as the parent brings back whatever food it has managed to find and deposits it in front of its youngster. It seems to be thriving on a diet that does not always look particularly healthy; in the following pictures the meal is raw chicken, but on another occasion it was a pile of french fries. There have also been more natural offerings of crab, which is consumed shell and all and small fish.
Once the food has been swallowed by the young one the parent leaves immediately, its departure once more accompanied by more loud cries.
Over the course of the last few days the young gull has gained much in confidence and now flies off to spend much of the day elsewhere, but it is still returning to the high roof in the evenings with its parents and to the flat roof for intervals, maybe to rest where it feels safe.