On The Wings Of Gulls
Film Commissioned by St Ives Holidays
Hayle student wins a day with St Ives TV for his photography.
Local student Henry Coombs from Penpol School in Hayle has not only won the local heat of the St Ives Bay Rotary Club’s Young Photographer competition for his age, he then went on to win the District round of the competition, and went on to win a fantastic second place in the National competition. As a way of saying congratulations to him, one of the judges in the St Ives Bay heat, Alban from St Ives TV offered him a special prize to work with him for a day while he filmed a video in St Ives for a local client.
Henry will spend a day in August working with Alban on a film of St Ives as viewed by a seagull, filmed using a remote control drone which Henry will get the opportunity to fly. The film will then go live at the end of August one St Ives TV’s website.
‘Seagulls’ are a typical feature of the coastal environment in the UK and a natural part of our country’s wildlife. Gulls have lived close to people for thousands of years but some species are now in decline. So what are ‘seagulls’, and why are some gulls nesting in urban areas?
What’s that gull?
There are seven species of gulls which breed regularly in the UK:
Herring gulls are large, noisy gulls found throughout the year around our coasts and inland around rubbish tips, fields, large reservoirs and lakes, especially during winter. Adults have light grey backs, white under parts, and black wing tips with white ‘mirrors’. Their legs are pink, with webbed feet and they have heavy, slightly hooked bills marked with a red spot. Young birds are mottled brown. They have suffered moderate declines over the past 25 years and over half of their UK breeding population is confined to fewer than ten sites.
Great black-backed gull
A very large, thick-set black-backed gull, with a powerful beak. Adults are blacker than the smaller lesser black-backed gull. It has a heavy flight and can look quite hunched when perched.
Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown – in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a ‘seagull’ and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.
It looks like a small, gentler version of the herring gull, with greenish legs and a yellow bill. Despite its name, it is not at all common in some inland areas, though often abundant on the coast.
A gentle looking, medium-sized gull with a small yellow bill and a dark eye. It has a grey back and is white underneath. Its legs are short and black. In flight the black wing-tips show no white,
Habitat and food.
Gulls are found mainly on the coast in summer, although black-headed gulls also nest inland. Large numbers of some gull species move inland in winter, roosting on lakes and reservoirs, and feeding on farm fields and refuse tips.
Herring gulls generally forage within 10 km of their nests while lesser black-backed gulls will travel much further to feed. They hunt fish and other sea creatures, but also take carrion, rubbish, litter, and waste food, as well as eggs and chicks of other seabirds. They are natural scavengers, and take advantage of organic waste at landfill sites and in towns.
All gulls, except kittiwakes, will feed on ploughed fields, and herring and black-headed gulls in particular can be found ‘charming worms’ on pastures, playing fields and other grassy areas.