Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A seagull and its avant-garde shadow

with 30 comments

Seagull Nestled Down on Beach 8243

Click for greater size and detail.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore; June 17.

UPDATE: In a comment below, Joan Leacott has identified this as Larus delawarensis, the Ring-Billed Gull (ornithologists now capitalize common names of birds).

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 2, 2016 at 4:53 AM

30 Responses

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  1. That bird looks tired. Given its red eyes and not-so-tidy beak, I can’t help wondering if it might have spent a little too much time partying down at the sand-bar.


    September 2, 2016 at 6:43 AM

    • But do you think the seagull was tired enough to be a sitting duck?

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 6:51 AM

      • Probably not, as long as he ducked out of the sand-bar early enough to get some rest.


        September 2, 2016 at 6:57 AM

        • If I can inject a note of (semi-)seriosity, the English noun duck came from the verb, given the bird’s habit of frequently ducking under the surface of the water. That transferred use of the verb as a noun acted as a bar to the survival of the Old English name for the bird, ened, which became a sitting duck and got killed off.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 2, 2016 at 7:15 AM

          • As it happens, one of my upcoming posts concerns a patito that got killed off, metaphorically speaking, but it wasn’t because it was gull-able. 🙂


            September 2, 2016 at 7:30 AM

    • Gary (krikitarts, below) ran with your sand-bar metaphor.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 5:21 PM

  2. Ha you two. I agree, though, this gull doesn’t look too hot. I seldom see them just lying about like this, and he does look hung over.


    September 2, 2016 at 8:40 AM

    • While this seagull was hunkered down in the sand at the moment I took its picture, I seem to remember that it moved about before and after like any other seagull on the beach that day. What it had been drinking at the sand-bar I can’t say.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 8:53 AM

  3. Something about the dampened feathers suggest that this one is a bit cold and feeling a bit under-the-weather.

    Pairodox Farm

    September 2, 2016 at 10:34 AM

    • You may well be right. I’ve had little experience with birds; I suspect you’ve had much more.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 2:40 PM

  4. When I first starting birding, I was told by a grouchy birder that there’s no such thing as a seagull. Who knew? This is a ring-billed gull. The red eye ring is a summer thing for strutting on the beach. 🙂

    Joan Leacott

    September 2, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    • Thanks, I was hoping someone would be more specific than just “seagull.” I’ll update the post.

      Between this gull and me, I was doing all the summer strutting on the beach.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 2:45 PM

  5. Maybe, at that sand bar, it couldn’t decide between a duckquiri, a gannlet, a tern collins, a scaupdriver, and a cherry herring, gave up trying to decide, and had one of each.


    September 2, 2016 at 5:09 PM

    • Now that’s a reply you have a right to crow about.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 2, 2016 at 5:20 PM

    • All of this brings to mind the mama tern who became upset when her son began dating a seagull. She went through all the arguments against the match, to little effect. Finally, in exasperation, she looked at her son and said, “When you get right down to it, the best reason for giving up your seagull is that one good tern deserves another.”


      September 2, 2016 at 9:14 PM

      • And there’s also Ogden Nash in The Private Dining Room: “I am a conscientious man, when I throw rocks at sea birds, I leave no tern unstoned.”

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 2, 2016 at 10:17 PM

  6. I love taking shots of gulls .. This one looks a tad tired. What lens did you use Steve?


    September 3, 2016 at 6:58 PM

    • You’re fortunate to live so close to the ocean. In Texas I’m about a four-hour drive from the coast, so when I find myself on the shore, as I did in Indiana and before that in New Zealand, I take advantage of it.

      Because birds don’t usually let people get close, I used the longest lens I have, which is the equivalent of 280mm.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 3, 2016 at 9:14 PM

  7. I’ve seen several gulls on the sand bars at Quabbin, but none seemed the worse for wear. I was glad to see Joan mention the proper term for gulls. For some birders it does grate, just like “Canadian” geese.

    Steve Gingold

    September 4, 2016 at 3:46 PM

  8. […] with the bare branches of the dead trees all around it. You can also contrast this bird with the somewhat bedraggled gull you saw a few days ago hunkered low on an Indiana beach. And then there’s the contrast with […]

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