Serendipity & Silver Gulls

I went to Mounts Bay beach just south of Apollo Bay this morning to take a few photos of the green weed on the reef which I saw on a walk near low tide yesterday.  I decided to lie down on my front with the Nikon for some close-ups and possibly a different perspective on the weed, the reef and the clean swell in the background.  I had the 24-70mm zoom on the Nikon D810.  I was surprised when the viewfinder was suddenly full of walking seagulls. A few had landed near me and were most curious and unafraid. They repeatedly walked up close as if to inspect me, then strutted around and foraged away nearby as if I wasn’t there.  After taking as many photos as I wanted in this unexpected encounter, I slowly stood up hoping my new found friends would stay.  I had visions of quickly fitting the 600mm telephoto lens for some further closeups including perhaps some flying shots. But they flew off as they usually do in the presence of (vertical) humans.  I intend to try this again some time.  Do they really see a horizontal (but moving) human as less of a threat than a standing person?  Could they possibly have seen me as food?  Or did I witness simply the curiosity of a confident bird on its home turf?

Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6738
Closeup of the lush green seaweed (aka slender sea lettuce) which carpets some intertidal reefs on the west coast of Victoria, including  Mounts Bay near Marengo.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6747
Sharp rock surfaces are carpeted with acres of soft, lush green seaweed. It’s as soft to walk on in bare feet as it looks.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6746
Mounts Bay near Marengo on the low tide. It’s the next bay south of Apollo Bay.  There was a reasonable swell running.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6818
The green seaweed is long enough to sway and flow in the water.  Here it rests as left by the last swirl of the outgoing tide around the rocks, waiting for the incoming tide to animate and refresh it once more in a few hours.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6754
Bare feet are just fine on this seaweed, especially when they are as well adapted as this pair. The owner of them is three photos down.  The birds were close. I couldn’t use the zoom if I wanted the whole bird in frame.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6811
Unlike car duco, house paint and human skin, the seagull’s plumage always looks perfect.  Seagulls don’t seem to have bad-feather days.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6758
It’s possible this bird has an agent.  She certainly knew how to strike a pose.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6754 copy
A perfectly evolved creature in its home environment.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6756
As I lay comfortably on my stomach on the seaweed the birds showed no fear. I didn’t need the big telephoto lens or even the zoom function on my smaller lens to capture shots like this.  I didn’t need to hurry either, as they seemed happy to stroll around, pause, pose, repeat.  The posture of this bird radiates confidence.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6816
The water in the motionless rockpool was delivered not long before in a wave such as that at top of screen.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6817
This gull seemed somewhat attracted to his reflection.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6814
This captures the sort of serendipitous moment loved by all photographers. I had no idea I’d caught two images of the seagull as it flew towards me until I downloaded the photos on to the computer.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6804
Contented silver gull
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6793
A social gathering around the pool.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6771
This bird walked back and forth just in front of me, seemingly just because it could.


Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6766
That mouth could, and no doubt does, accommodate a good sized fish.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6763
A rare privilege to look closely into the eye of this wild bird.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6833
Thoughtful sepia gull
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6838
A sooty oystercatcher finding this rock a little wetter than he anticipated.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6837
That is one purpose-built beak.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6830
Stylish and eye-catching colours. The perfectly round eyes give an impression of permanent startlement.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6825
Interesting to contemplate that these two birds evolved for survival and success in the one environment yet have such contrasting plumage.
Marengo seagulls Aug 2017-6822
There was no sign of competition between the silver gull and the sooty oystercatcher, probably because their food sources differ.

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