When I went to stay with my friend Jill in East Sussex this week I didn’t expect to be woken early each morning by Herring gulls (scientific name Larus argentatus) screeching and squawking on hers and her neighbours’ rooftops as she lives several miles from the sea as the gull flies and nowhere near something that might attract them, like a rubbish tip. It seems the gulls have started moving inland in her area and she’s certainly noticed more of them about in the past year or so. According to the RSPB, Herring gull numbers have been declining in recent years so perhaps they are expanding their range in search of food.
I enjoyed hearing them as it made me feel like I was on holiday at the seaside, though they could be very cheeky. Although Jill doesn’t feed them, they do scavenge food put out for the smaller birds, and one rather insistent gull has taken to tapping at the French doors in her bedroom in the morning in the hope of getting some breakfast. And I took these photos of the same (or another, equally brazen bird) outside the back door, giving me a very imperious ‘feed me now’ look, then mewing like a young gull when the glare didn’t produce the desired results. I’m afraid it went away hungry.