Tuesday, 18 January 2011


The Safari was out last night on the late constitutional when it happened!
At the top of the hill lives a little dog with a lot of attitude, more than enough attitude for one so small. He’s called Blue, think of him as a cross between Denis the Menace’s Gnasher and Cato from the Pink Panther. Blue’s garden is raised above the pavement so he always has height advantage despite his small stature, he appears barking stridently from between the bushes looking down on any dogs passing by, all teeth and voice, then he shoots round to the next gap in the bushes and does the same.

Blue is 15 years old and still game on for a fight! Some dogs are terrified by these sudden outbursts but Frank has sort of got used to it and barks his deep gruff bark back at Blue. When they both reach the gate Blue is standing on tippy-toes looking through the bars and his teeth are at the same height as Frank’s nose – well what a hullaballoo – enough to wake the dead. You’d think Frank would be frightened but every time we walk past at night he’s looking for Blue, expecting him to appear from between the bushes and if he doesn’t Frank has a definite look of disappointment on his face cos his friend wasn’t out to play, as if to say “where was he?”. If Blue gets out, or falls off the wall in his excitement, he’s all over Frank snapping and yapping acting like a Pit Bull on steroids, Frank just turns his rump to the onslaught then sits down as if to say “OK OK I can hear you...now give over...”.The little fella really is a character. If we can get a bit of video we will cos it’s quite amusing.
All this commotion is over in less than a minute but even in that short time the nearby curtains are twitching. We walk hurriedly on and have a look for the Peregrine, yes it was there last night, this morning too. Exactly 50 Magpies were counted this morning.
The title of today's missive refers to Obsessive Compulsive (Disorder) Gulling but on our early morning Patch 2, yes we got out first thing due to the lack of cloud making it much lighter earlier, there was a distinct lack of gulls to obsessively and compulsively look through. The tide was on the rise and had already covered the beach so there were only a few gulls loafing around close to the wall. Out at sea we had rafts of three and five Great Black Backs and another three flying around. A white dot whanged past in the distance, an auk sp. Six Red Throated Divers were scattered around and a pair and a single Great Crested Grebes floated around in between the loafing gulls. A flock somewhere in the region of 70 Sanderlings (P2 #22) shot past probably going to roost over the tide in the estuary. Another birder/naturalist had seen a couple of Harbour Porpoises from the other end of town yesterday but none were showing down on the Patch this morning.
Work commitments sadly prevented a low tide gull fest this lunchtime but we have a mission to complete for some offshore conservation tomorrow so we should be able to have a few minutes trawl through the gulls on the beach. Yep we’re desperate to connect with a Caspo, although we’d certainly be happy enough with a Med or a Yellow Legged Gull...any time soon would do.
Came across this mDNA genetic analysis of the LWHG complex via the Slaty Backed Gull discussion. What a crackin read – took me back 30 something years to my days as an Ecology undergraduate when we briefly looked at evolutionary ecology and speciation; back then there was only one species of ‘Herring Gull’ between here and the moon – how wrong those old field guides were. Took a while to remember (via Google, naturally!) what the difference between allopatry and sympatry is. Notice in the article there is no reference to Thayers, California or Yellow Footed Gulls so where do they fit in to the overall scheme of things...And now Great Black Backed Gull is just a big dark Herring Gull - whatever next? - In the world of LWHGs who knows!!!
Where to next? Just told ya!
In the meantime let us know where the gull fest is in your outback, unless you’re in Australia of course as you only have three to choose from.


Anonymous said...

It`s becoming something of a Gull fetish that you have there Dave. Don`t get many grounded ones round here, now that all the tips are defuncted.

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

OMG Dean - don't read the next post...more bally gulls and pseudo-science...other beachy stuff as well though for a bit of light relief.