Monday, August 1, 2011

Sea Gulls and Seeing

I will confess that, even though I love to watch birds, gulls are not my favorites. They're so blasted noisy for one thing! But today Winston and I were walking on the spit and met a couple from Wisconsin, armed with a birding scope, so I knew they were serious. I confessed my gull guilt and was promptly rewarded with an amazing discussion about the five types of gulls they'd seen that very morning. I couldn't catch everything from this impromptu lesson but I recall that some gulls have yellow legs and some pink and the young of some have a grey spot by their eyes. And listen to these names: Caspian Tern and Bonaparte Gull.
Guess which gull this is!

Of course I saw a message in this for me as a writer: it's all about concrete and specific details. Every morning outside my Shangri-Lar office window, I see dozens of gulls. But now I will look for yellow and pink legs, for grey spots and white heads. 

How much richer the world and my writing can be if I'm a little less lazy and a little more precise.


  1. Love this post. Love birds, too! Is the one in the pic a laughing gull?

  2. Actually, it's supposed to be a bonaparte gull but maybe they are also known as laughing gulls!

  3. Ahhh - I didn't gather that it was one of the ones actually named in your post! I think it must be a bonaparte gull; apparently the laughing gulls are mainly in the east but do take trips to Southern California. But not as north as you are. I should have researched that first. ;0)

  4. Robyn-- I was walking on the spit this morning and heard gulls that could only be called laughing gulls. I couldn't quite pick out which ones they were but I suspect we have them here, too!