Monday, September 5, 2011

2011.25.223 - Seagull With A Mohawk

Louise has family visiting in town this in town this week, so she and I could only sneak away for a quick paddle up The Gorge today.

We rolled the kayaks down the hill, entered at the Victoria Canoe and Kayak Club launch point, and we were off. The tide was flooding under the Tillicum Bridge so we went for a quick look and saw a lone seal, far away from the open ocean, enjoying a playful ride in the current.
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A few minutes later we discovered one of the more interesting seagulls we've seen. May I present Seagull With A Mohawk.
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We first noticed him as he flew to the shore carrying some sort of shell. We thought that it may have been a crab shell, or maybe a clam. (I don't do shellfish, a shell is a shell.) Anyway, he landed on shore and spent a few minutes eating whatever was on the inside of the shell, then looked up and saw that there was another seagull on the beach a few metres away. This second seagull was paying no attention to Mohawk (or his lovely breakfast) but clearly Mohawk was feeling threatened so he dropped his meal and ran up to the other seagull and did a bit wing-flapping and squawking. He returned to his meal, but seagull #2 didn't get the hint, and Mohawk ran up and squawked again. He didn't take "no" for an answer and forced seagull #2 off the beach and into the air. Mohawk pursued him into the air, hoping to get the point across that he was not welcome. Louise and I watched the aerial dogfight, the two seagulls swooping and diving over our heads. Also watching were two crows that had sneaked up to Mohawk's dropped meal and finished it off. Mohawk returned to his empty shell, sighed (really! I swear he did!) and flew off.
A moment later....
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...he had dredged up another shell and was finishing off the insides.

Cormorant Tree, often covered in cormorants, held only one today.
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We continued on into Portage Inlet where the herons were out in force today.
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Mohawk wasn't the only bird having good luck with food.
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I thought I was cleverly sneaking up on this heron from behind. No such luck -- he knew I was there.
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We also saw a few of the gelatinous egg sacks that we see in the waters here every fall. They seem to be a few weeks behind, but then everything is behind after the lousy spring.
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The egg sack is the little round thing in the middle. The other brown lumpy things are sponges.

There's a lot of geese around now. They know winter is coming and so are heading south and using the parks in the area as a rest area.
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With only limited time today, we quickly turned back.
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Trip Length: 7.30 km
YTD: 202.14 km
More pictures are here.
2011-09-05 The Gorge

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