I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the herring gulls. Beautiful big birds, their immaculate white and grey feathers are a sharp contrast to the filthy rubbish they feed on. There are growing populations in urban areas, especially near rubbish tips etc, but the populations by the coast are actually declining. Living in Brighton for some years, it was tricky trying to get your rubbish bags outside and collected before the contents were strewn up and down the street by a gang of these scavengers. It’s usually herring gulls too, that dive bomb anyone unfortunate enough to live near a herring gull nest, and help themselves to fish and chips on the pier, while they are still being eaten by some unsuspecting tourist. And they seem incapable of keeping any food source to themselves. Where one arrives, it announces the food with raucous calls, which bring more gulls from every direction to descend!

Luckily we haven’t yet had gulls nest on our flat roof, though the juveniles are frequently deposited there and screech for the parents to bring food. They seem to like the skylight and can be found pecking rain drops off. It’s a little disconcerting having one stare down at you while you are in the bath..




The black headed gulls are a bit smaller, and a bit more tidy. I used to watch flocks of them moving around on the tidal river in Shoreham from my office window.


However they are not averse to a bit of scrounging and harassment too!



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