There is nothing but open ocean between Apollo Bay and Antarctica. The sea is full of life, which brings with it an abundance of bird life all year round. For beauty and majesty it’s hard to beat the Pacific gull. Whereas the silver gull is delicate and fine featured, the Pacific gull is built for active service. Larger overall, a powerful beak, a proportionately larger wingspan, stronger legs, bigger feet etc. They are frequently seen in pairs, but not often as synchronised as this majestic pair which were casually mirroring each other.
Standing on the pontoon near the Apollo Bay boat ramp, possibly in hope of some returning fishermen sharing their catch.
These two gulls certainly were a pair. They did everything together, including looking back over their left wing.
As with light aircraft, seagulls are built to park nose into the wind.
This very large flock of small ducks was spotted swimming about 100m offshore near Tuxion beach at Apollo Bay around dusk. They were quite small. Haven’t seen this aquatic activity of ducks before.
No doubt they enjoyed the gentle lifting and lowering of a small swell rolling through underneath them.
A sea-goose by lifestyle choice rather than biology. Many years ago some domestic geese moved out and took up residence in and near the Apollo Bay harbour. They and their offspring and the occasional guest goose are always to be found around the boat ramp, the small beach in the harbour, the beach under the fishermen’s co-op, the moored yachts, and the sand dunes between the harbour and the golf club. They are quite friendly and appear to enjoy the independent life much more than a life of captivity and being eaten. On more than one occasion I have heard them misidentified by tourists as Cape Barren geese (a true ocean bird by birth). I guess they don’t mind, as it’s a measure of their success in passing themselves off as plausible seabirds.
The uncommonly beautiful common silver seagull in late afternoon light.
Brown goose striking a bit of a pose. It’s possible this bird has an agent. It is also a member of the Apollo Bay harbour goose community.
The silver gulls don’t seem to operate in pairs to the extent that the Pacific gulls do, but they are almost always found flying, floating and foraging in large groups. On this occasion they were neatly parked facing into wind on a hand rail near the boat ramp at the Apollo Bay harbour.
I don’t think this gnarly old goose cares too much about his personal appearance and grooming. Perhaps some conditioner on those neck feathers wouldn’t hurt. He’s one of the long-time residents of the harbour, possibly a founding member of the local goose crew. I suppose with seniority and power come tolerated personal quirks such as matted neck feathers.
I can’t resist a closeup of a bird. Their eyes are so communicative up close. The feathers are widely varied when seen at this range, and the beak has more features and colours than the simply-orange impression it gives in flight. The visual software in the brain of a seagull must be interesting, to accommodate each eye having the capacity to look in opposite directions. This bird looks very alert and struck me as most probably being right on top of its game. When seen from a distance, it seems that birds such as these generally get taken for granted. Up close it’s impossible not to be captivated by their beauty and their adaptation to life between the sea and the shore.
At the risk of repetition, below are closeups of the heads of some of the above birds. The closeup cropping of the images seems to convey more compellingly the individuality of these birds. We don’t often get the chance to look a wild bird in the eye.
The Pacific gull. A powerful and beautiful bird, exuding entirely warranted confidence.
The Pacific gull, momentarily glancing downwind.
A mature silver gull.
A juvenile silver gull.
Killer goose baring its teeth in an aggressive territory-defending pose. Either that, or a brown goose minding its own business in the late afternoon sun, without a care in the world. Hard to tell which really, with a beak and face incapable of any expression of emotion apart from opening and closing the beak, and honking.
The gnarly old goose, with a beak that’s done a bit of work in its time, and distinctly off-white feathers in need of bit of a spruce up.