What is the first thing you think of when you say Fish and Chips at the beach?
Seagulls of course, for most they are those pesky seabirds that flutter above your head and sit desperately by your feet or on your park bench, pleading to be thrown a tasty morsel. Squawking and fighting to be the first to grab a discarded scrap of food.
Untainted by the spoils of human interaction, you discover a very different bird. I was lucky enough to witness the more sensitive side to the Silver Gull. I witnessed intimate moments between a loving couple. He was attentive to her every move. His approach was gentle and loving. It is no wonder that Seagulls are monogamous and as parents they are both attentive and caring.
Seagulls are one of the rare animals that are able to drink salt water. They have special glands (located above the eyes) which eliminate excess salt from the body. Seagulls live in colonies that can consist of few pairs of birds or couple of thousands birds. Most seagulls can survive from 10 to 15 years in the wild.
Over a period of a week we observed “Sampson” and “Sammy’s” relationship. Flying in from a mornings fishing trip they would land by the water’s edge. They would refresh in the shallow waters and then relish in the sea breeze. Sampson followed Sammy’s every move. If she ventured left then her faithful shadow Sampson would do the same. As she would make her way up the sandy beach, she would stop short of where the vegetation met the sand. Here she would adjust and shift the sand to make a comfortable place for her to relax. Sampson her dutiful protector, stood lovingly over her. Gazing upon his loved one, he savoured the moment. He would gaze out to sea, squawk loudly at any approaching gulls that had invaded their comfort zone and occasionally browse the sand for what treasures he could find.
All of this took place within a few feet of our favourite spot on a remote shoreline, where we spent the days enjoying the birds and marine life. Somehow amongst all the incredible bird life that came to this area, it was Sampson and Sammy’s deep love and affection that stood out to us. Their, love, devotion and commitment undeniable.