Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Gull watch

The last few weeks I’ve been doing some gull watching. Plenty of Black-headed Gulls around at the local lakes, and perfect for practicing flight shots. They’re a bit like buses; miss one, and there’s sure to be more along soon.

They seem to favour certain spots of the lake for their aerial displays, so it’s just a matter of watch and wait.

Here’s one that glided past, after he had just dived into the water.

A quick twist of the body, shake off the water, and ready to go diving again.

Different techniques are used for fishing. Either hover, over the water,

or circle round, followed by a manic dive.

I’m not too sure what happened with this next couple. I think he may have dropped whatever he had, judging by the splash, but didn’t waste much time searching for it again.

And I love the way they seemingly effortlessly rise from the water, after being submerged.

They need to keep their wits about them though. This next one had dived for a fish, and a second gull sensed an easy meal.

He made quite a viscous attack, causing the other unfortunate gull to scream out.

He made his escape eventually, but neither had anything to show for their efforts.

Fascinating to watch.


  1. Fascinating Keith,
    Gulls, they are a study all of their own.

  2. Thanks Roy. I think they're great subjects to practice on.

  3. Brilliant shots Keith.
    Flight shots are not my forte... I am going to have to watch and learn.

  4. Some nice shots with differn't angles. I often use the gulls to practice the flight shots especially when getting used to a new camera.

  5. Wow, I wish I could do that. They are beautiful to watch.

  6. Keith,
    The Sea Gull is Utah's State Bird. I have never found them to be all that fascinating except as a child. We would throw bread crumbs into the street and watch them fight for each piece. Sometimes there were 15 to 20 birds. Now, I will have to pay closer attention to them and make sure I have my camera with me. A large umbrella won't hurt either! Great shots. What lens are you using? With a doubler or not?

  7. Fabulous shots Keith. A great post.

  8. Fantastic action shots!! Love all of them, the fight scene was the main event--but I really like the hover shot and the manic dive...excellent!!

  9. Great shots Keith. The light looks fantastic. what sort of shutter speed were you using? The shot of the hovering gull is amazing.

  10. Great action shots, Keith. It's a wonder that gull species have survived considering how the individuals sabotage each other so often!

  11. holdingmoments you are very good story teller. These images are beautiful, and you are so right, gulls are good for practicing, in my case we have caspian terns that active in our area. These are stunning images, the splashing water effects makes it even better. Anna :)

  12. Prasanth, thank you for stopping by, and your comment.

    Thanks for your comment Trevor. There’s plenty I miss; the beauty of digital, just keep trying lol

    Bobster, thanks. They’re great for experimenting with the settings.

    Thanks for your comment Bob, appreciate it.

    Thanks David. I use a 100-400L; very rarely take it off the camera. Most times its at the 400mm end.

    Angie, thank you.

    Thanks Dixxe. They look good when they go into a dive, but don’t always hit the water, turning at the last minute. Great aerial acrobats at times.

  13. Dev, thanks. Verious shutter speeds, and settings. AV, and manual. From the top;
    First 3……..Manual, 320”, F7.1, ISO 400
    Manual, 2000”, F7.1, ISO 400
    The dive….AV, 500”, F9, ISO 200
    Next 2….. Manual, 2000”, F7.1, ISO 400
    Rising from water…. AV, 500”, F9, ISO 200
    Last 3…… AV, 500”, F9, ISO 250
    Phew! Lol

    Wilma, thanks. Yea, they seem to fight as often as the Coots do sometimes.

  14. Anna, thank you for your comment, and kind words.
    They are exciting to watch at times. I'd love to see Caspian Terns; never seen them before.

  15. Keith these are brilliant, really enjoyed the latter ones, Thanks

  16. Excellent 'action' pictures, Keith.

  17. Cracking shots and wonderful sequence Keith. Must have been great to watch for "real"

  18. Great flight and action shots there Keith. Your practice is certainly paying dividends. Seagulls aren't exactly known for their peaceful demure character!

  19. A lovely set of photos Keith. You have captured all the action beautifully. They are fascinating birds to watch and can be so quarrelsome, which on this occasion probably benefited the fish!

    Great minds (although in my case not so great!) think alike!! I have a sequence of gull shots on my new post which I have been trying to get out for the last four or five days ('things' keep conspiring against me!) Yours are, of course, much better than mine. :)

  20. Thanks Adrian. The last lot are from a fairly lengthy sequence. I got carried away with the shutter lol

    Emma, thank you for your comment.

    Thanks Tricia. It gets pretty lively when a group all decide to hunt the same spot.

    Thanks John. they certainly argue a lot lol

    ShySongbird, thank you. they make interesting subjects, and quite plentiful here at the moment. I had plenty of out of focus shots though lol

  21. ...I would love to spend some time studying gulls. I was able to do that when I was at the Bird Symposium up at Lake Erie, but are here, gulls are slim pickins'! Very fun post!!!

  22. Thanks Kelly. A couple of our local lakes have large gull roosts, and at times they seem to outnumber everything else lol

  23. Hi Keith,
    This is an excellent post on common bird with splendid shots... I guess we tend to forget that gulls also have something special!! Superb post!

  24. Chris, thanks for your comment. Appreciated.

  25. Great shots of the Gulls Keith. An often overlooked species, well worth checking out !

  26. Cheers for your comment Nick. Appreciated.

  27. Wowowowow~~~ what a wonderful series of shots!! You do amaze me!! Again ...several I would love to recreate on paper!! Sarah

  28. Thank you Sarah for your comment.

  29. They are dive masters, it seems. Wonderfull.

  30. Thank you Marius. They seem to effortlessly climb from the water almost as quickly as they enter it. Fascinating to watch them.