Wednesday 5 March 2014

Final Reckoning, and Gulls are dull.

Recently I had a little bit of fun to celebrate my trio of mega[-boring] ticks, by running an online poll as to which was the least interesting of the three. The results were both surprising and confirmatory. Surprising that 61 people actually responded, but confirming everything that we always knew. Gulls are crap. This is bound to provoke a response, but the final and un-rigged (Seppy) results were:

American Coot 19 (31%)
American Black Duck 14 (22%)
American Herring Gull 28 (45%)

Even with the two percent carelessly discarded by Google, the Gull is streets ahead. Well, behind. Gulls divide opinion like no other bird. The die-hards, mentioning no names Mick, absolutely love them, sometimes to the exclusion of anything else. Larophiles, as they're known, can be fairly impressive in terms of their knowledge of which bit of a Gull is which (head, beak, wing etc), but they are far outnumbered by the larophobes. People like me. Normal people. People who are mildly scared of Gulls, particularly when it comes to identifying them. I actually know a little bit more than I let on, though the Gulls are probably still winning. But I can't say I love them, or even enjoy them. Especially as they contain a lot of white, the enemy of all digital photographers. Happily I've not got many left to see in this country, four if my maths are correct, so almost done, and then I need not ever look at one again. Hurrah!! But they are a challenge...

Had I voted, I'd have gone for the Coot as being the most abject. A horrible bird, almost identical to a normal Coot. Utter dross. Right in the middle would be the Mallard Black Duck. A bird I would never ordinarily have traveled any distance to see, but seeing as it was there and I was relatively nearby, I thought why not - the weekend was basically all about ticks. And of course this therefore means that I found the Gull the most "interesting". This is not the vote of a larophile, it merely reflects the pitiful company in which it found itself. It was hard work, which is effectively what placed it last in the dull stakes. But definitely not first in the interesting stake, and that's a key difference. I had to work at it, which I didn't really have to for the other to - there were no confusion birds present for the Coot or the Duck. There were thousands for the Gull though, and picking it out was the stuff of nightmares, even when I knew what field it was in. People are saying it's obvious, I beg to disagree! Head tucked in it looked mostly like every other bloody bird in the field, and even when it woke up it wasn't like it stood out particularly. Just another big 'un really.

Anyway, thanks to all of you who voted. If you fancy travelling any distance to see any of them, can I strongly advise you against it?

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