Tag Archives: great black-backed gull

Proper Gull Gets Proper Fish

Ok, the title is a little unfair on the herring gull featured in this post, but a goldfish is not really how one imagines the tooth and claw of nature. And the herring gull in the earlier is more than likely very acclimatized to human interaction. Unlike today’s subject, a fine great black-backed gull fishing off the shore at Rottingdean.

rottingdean shoreline

View along from Rottingdean to Brighton

The black-backed gull was out during late afternoon when the tide was out. At first I thought it was attacking a plastic bag (far too many of them litter the shoreline), but on closer inspection it was clear it had found itself a proper flatfish (dab? flounder? I’m not sure).

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull and fish at Rottingdean

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull

Great black-backed gull moving the fish to a better spot

Great black-backed gull

It’s a bit rubbery, as they say…

Camera note: all gull photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. Landscape taken with the EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens and 10 point filter.

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Rottingdean Beach After the Storms

With a lull between the almost constant storms, I headed down to Rottingdean beach this afternoon which threw up a couple of surprises. The tide was out, but the winds were still strong and in the distance the Brighton Marina was being battered by large waves.

Brighton Marina

The lower parts of the Undercliff walk were strewn with shingle blown up from the beach, but the most obvious sign of what had been going on were several large boulders scattered on the beach itself.

Palm Oil lump

At first glance I assumed this was a part of the cliff that had come away, but its location – and the absence of any signs of a cliff collapse – made me investigate further. On closer examination I found the ‘chalk’ was waxy and soft. It could be scraped with a stick, a bit like soft candle wax.

Sample of washed-up Palm Oil

It is in fact a lump of palm oil, most likely discarded by a ship and washed in by the storms. It’s somewhat unpleasant stuff, and while not toxic to humans it can be poisonous to dogs. As well as several large boulder-sized lumps like this, there were scatterings of smaller pieces across the beach.

Nearby, also a victim of the storm, was a razorbill. This is a seabird I’ve not seen before, and it’s a shame that my first sight of one is a washed-up victim of our dreadful weather.

body of a razorbill

On a more positive note, the local fulmars seem to be thriving. I wouldn’t expect anything else from birds acclimatized to the north Atlantic and whose family include the Storm Petrel as a close relative.




Further out, taking advantage of low tide, a number of oystercatchers were skimming along the coastline in search of good feeding grounds while great black backed gulls surveyed the area from above.


Great black-backed gull

There have been cliff collapses further along the coast at Hastings, and Brighton beachfront was flooded last night; but overall the local coastline appears to have survived quite well. So far!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.

Posted in coastal, Landscape, water birds, Weather Also tagged , , , , , |

Black Backed Gull

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