Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Seagulls in Dumfries

11:22:00 Posted by Pamela Winning , , No comments
    I’m back from my travels and eager to get cracking with my regular Tuesday blog-spot.  ‘Seagulls’
    is the theme for this week and a memory made me smile.

 In 1969/70 or thereabouts, ‘Seagulls’ in my world usually referred to The Blackpool Ice Hockey Team. My friends and I would go to watch them play at The Ice Drome, which is part of the Pleasure Beach and talk to them after the match. We were all still at school and some of us, not just me, were not allowed on the Pleasure Beach and not allowed to talk to ‘those sort of boys’, so we gave the fool proof cover of being at each other’s houses. How beautifully naïve at age fourteen or fifteen in those days. As far as I can remember, we never got caught out and no harm came to us. Soon after, we were officially allowed to go ice skating on Beat Nights. I’m still on speaking terms with a couple of ‘the lads’. Anyway, on to the feathered variety.

We feed the birds in our back garden. Seed holders and a fat-ball cage hang from a narrow frame placed between shrubs and bushes. We don’t see much bird activity at the moment as the foliage obscures the view, but a couple of weeks ago, before we went on holiday, a couple of wood pigeons kept visiting to peck the ground for dropped seeds. I tore some bread crusts for them and threw the pieces on top of the shed roof. Unfortunately, the local seagull population were unaware that this treat was meant for the wood pigeons and no sooner had I closed the back door and returned to the kitchen, than a flock of screaming seagulls landed on the shed and devoured every crumb. Massive, loud, lairy birds, quite a nuisance, and yet attractive to look at. Juveniles with their speckled grey feathers look fluffy and soft. Adults, sleek, white and grey with black wing tips strut menacingly and stare. They are graceful in flight, swooping and gliding, spoilt only by that intrusive screech.

It’s fair to say that seagulls are not my favourite bird. They are scavengers that will attempt to steal the food you’re still eating – Pembrokeshire, c.1998 – and they won’t go away. They don’t keep to the coast, either, as my recent visit to Dumfries proved.
One perched on Rabbie’s head
Surveying all around

Looking out for morsels
Of pie-crust on the ground.
Left-over lunch from Greggs
Littered  around the square
Or a Costa cookie,
That might be lurking there.
Another rips up bread
Dragged from a crammed full bin
Then shreds a plastic bag
To peck food scraps within.
I wonder where they’re from,
We’re nowhere near the sea.
Perhaps the River Nith
Brings seagulls to Dumfries.
Thanks for reading, Pam.