Bird Watching (UK) - - Photo Feature -

BLACK-HEADED – choco­late-brown head in sum­mer, small patch be­hind eye in win­ter. Dis­tin­guished by a white lead­ing line along their wings. One of our loud­est gulls. HER­RING GULL – large gull with light grey wings and white un­der­parts. They have hooked yel­low bills with a red dot. Quite a loud bird. LESSER BLACK-BACKED – slightly smaller than a her­ring gull with a dark grey back. Same beak but yel­low legs in­stead of pink. GREAT BLACK-BACKED – very large gull, of­ten seen hunched over. Dark back, pink legs and yel­low beak.

try to re­veal how ex­tra­or­di­nary they can be. Black­headed Gulls have been among the most in­ter­est­ing that I have stud­ied. Un­like most gulls seen in cities, th­ese birds nest and roost in more nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ments; reedbeds, marshes or is­lands in lakes be­ing the pre­ferred habi­tat. They then fly to their hunt­ing grounds, feed­ing on any­thing from wild prey which may in­clude fish, in­ver­te­brates or seeds, to scraps of left­over food in towns and cities. This al­lows me to pho­to­graph the gulls within two con­trast­ing en­vi­ron­ments. On one hand I can pho­to­graph gulls how peo­ple of­ten per­ceive them, within the city – scav­eng­ing on scraps left be­hind by us – and on the other, in a wilder set­ting, pho­tograph­ing them in their so­cial groups when roost­ing. For me, part of what I do is about sim­ply show­ing peo­ple that there are var­i­ous in­di­vid­ual species of gulls, each as in­ter­est­ing and dis­tinc­tive as the last. Rather than group­ing them all into the cat­e­gory of ‘sea gulls’, I think that peo­ple should recog­nise th­ese birds for their bril­liance; in hunt­ing, mi­gra­tory flight and even rais­ing their young, in en­vi­ron­ments which have proved too dif­fi­cult for most birds. I try to cre­ate pho­tos which show a view from the per­spec­tive of the gulls them­selves. I get into the ac­tion and cre­ate im­ages which peo­ple can put them­selves into. This is usu­ally achieved by get­ting my cam­era into the right po­si­tion at the right time so that the pho­tos are al­ways taken at

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