Monday, June 02, 2008

Mother natures discrimination. An evening with Whidbey Island Seagulls

In late 2006 though mid 2007, I had quite a number of photo opportunities on Whidbey Island. My son was a Deputy Prosecutor for Island County, and he had a house located at Penn Cove. As a result, there were always opportunities to take my cameras for a walk, and to see nature literally everywhere.

On one such occasion I noticed a number of Sea Gulls lined up along two sides of handrails on a northside Penn Cove Pier. There must have been 50 Gulls facing into the wind. One of the Gulls was separated by several feet from the mass of Gulls along one handrail, and I snapped a photo of as many of the Gulls as I could. Later when I begin to view the images on my laptop, I noticed that the Gull that was set apart from all the others only had one leg. I had witnessed that Gull fly up to the handrail and land on it, and nothing in way the Gull flew was any different than watching the other Gulls fly up to the Piers metal and wooden handrails.

After observing that the Gull had only one leg, I began to see this Gull a lot in the Penn Cove area. He was now easy to distinguish, as he was virtually always set apart form any other groups of Gulls that were present. I happened to mention this Seagull to my grandchildren, and they felt sorry for this Seagull because he was always “alone.”

I was not Biology major in my 7 years of College, nor do I consider myself as an expert in any matters at all related to animal/bird social practices. Yet, in this case, I did see that the one legged Gull was always apart from the other Gulls that had two legs.

I kinda got attached to this particular Gull, and in my Whidbey Island trips to visit with my son and his wife, I looked forward to looking for the one legged Gull, and normally it was easy to find.

It’s been about a year since I have been to Whidbey Island, since my son got recruited to Prosecute cases in Whatcom County (Bellingham), and his wife is now an RN at St Josephs Hospital in Bellingham. So, I wonder if this Gull is still alive and well on Whidbey. I had forgotten about him until this weekend when my grandkids finished up spending a week with my wife and I, and of course they asked about the one legged Gull.

So, if anyone happens to be in or around the north side of Penn Cove, on Whidbey Island, look for the one legged Gull and let me know if you find it. I’ll pass along that info to the grandkids.

Here is a photo taken one evening before sunset, and also the closest I ever saw that one legged Gull to any of the other Whidbey Island Gulls.


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