The Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus Glauscens) is an almost ever-present fixture of Great Race Islet. This time of year from dawn to dark they can be seen occupying their potential nesting locations, building those nests, and settling territorial disputes with their neighbours. But many nights, when I head out to turn the generator off, I discover a silent and empty island; 300 gulls have simply disappeared, gone to some mysterious location I can only guess at. Do they prefer to sleep on the water? Do they feed on certain foods at night? What’s going on out there at night!
Regardless, I can tell you that Glaucous-winged Gulls are an extraordinary bird, at home on the lightest of breezes or duelling with the 50 knots gusts of an afternoon’s Westerly gale. Only in their ubiquitousness do we loose sight of their beauty and efficiency. They are masters of their realm.
In other news, yesterday there were 10 elephant seals in the yard and on the boatramp! This is a new record for Great Race. There are 4 young males, Bertha the mature female and 5 smaller females. A good-sized male is out on Middle Rock but it doesn’t look big enough to be Misery.
Many eagles are in the reserve, most juveniles. I watched one hunt a gull this morning and was surprised how the eagle targeted an individual gull and chased it for over a kilometer out to sea before I lost sight of them both.