Sunday, February 21, 2010
Heading south from Fox Glacier, the road suddenly arrives at the coast at this rather wild and windswept bay. This is the main tourist route on the West Coast (it is the only through route on the West Coast). Nearly every tourist who passes by, whether in a campervan, car, or perhaps even a bus, must have stopped at this beach. Someone built a driftwood and stone sculpture, and as these things do, the trace they left behind sparked its imitators, so now the beach is crowded with driftwood and stone structures.
The seagull posed beside one of these structures as if to say "look what I made". It is as far as I can tell a young red-billed gull. We have red-billed gulls and black-billed gulls which are very similar to each other. The difference is not in the colour of their bills but in their feet. Young red-billed gulls have black bills but red feet. Young black-billed gulls have red bills but black feet. (When adult, they do in fact have the same colour bills as their name). The situation is complicated by the fact that they are now interbreeding. The brown markings on the wings are an indication of immaturity, it will lose those in adulthood. I thought they toned beautifully with the stones.