Yesterday evening as I went out to collect the water sample I interrupted a couple of harbour seals feeding on a glaucous-winged-gull. Harbour seals feed on fish more commonly although they do sometimes feed on gulls. The seals, upon seeing me, fled leaving the injured gull in the water. It clumsily exited onto shore but was tripping over its dragging wing. I shooed it back to the water in hopes the seals would return. When they did not and I went out a second time to find the gull wandering aimlessly in the rocky intertidal zone. Meanwhile, the seals had returned to the jetty area and were feasting on a fish. In situations like these we have to make a judgement call and the gull seemed to be needlessly suffering. The chance of it being eaten by the seals was very unlikely since they had found other food and an eagle coming to finish the deed was also unlikely because it was late in the evening and their visits are generally midday. It didn’t seem right to let it suffer through the night so I put it out of its misery.
In other gull news, an ongoing project we’ve been working on is tilting the solar panels. Angling the panels allows more direct sunlight but more substantially, discourages the gulls from using them as resting spots. Gull droppings can have a large effect on energy intake of the solar panels. Sounds unreasonable? Here’s a picture of the panels after just one day since being cleaned.
On another note, more stellar sea lions have accumulated on the southern rocks. The count has reached over 30.