Tuesday, January 18, 2011
In the end, everything is a gag.
Larus dominicanus is nibbling on something. Opossum Bay, December 2010.
Larus dominicanus – A.K.A. the Kelp Gull – is a large black-backed gull with a white tail and a large yellow bill with a red spot on the lower tip. Alas, It is only the second largest (or should that be the first smallest?) gull in Australia. The wing has a wide trailing edge and a small white 'window' in the wingtip. This is how I tell ‘em apart from the bigger and friskier Pacific Gull.
In terms of tucker, the Kelp Gull takes what it can get on both land and water, but rarely in the air. It feeds mainly on fish and crustaceans, but will scavenge when it gets a chance. I understand that they have a predilection for pommes frites, Schwartenmagen and 1945-vintage Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Jeroboam.
If it cannot get that dish, it gets anxious. Indeed, Kelp Gulls have been observed feeding on living Southern Right Whales. In desperation, it will plunge its mighty beak to peck down inches into the skin and blubber, often leaving the whales with large open sores, up to half a meter in diameter! Ouch.
The BBC has more…