Presently we were joined by a lone seagull landing on the beach. I say landed, he/she, plunked down in an ungainly fashion, glanced at us and looked surprised. Now as to whether he/she was surprised at us, or the fact a landing, no matter how ill-conceived, worked. We were not sure, but of his/her look of surprise, no doubt existed. Comical in the extreme is how the next couple of hours panned out, and this lone seagull was our entertainer. We quickly decided on him being a male, possibly due to observing a little ineptitude of interpersonal relationships, with other species as well as his own. A quizzical look here and there and he hopped over to Mother Duck and brood to say hello. Needless to say, his presence was most unwelcome and this small duck turfed off Cecil (we named him) with a flutter of wings and a smack of her beak on his silly face. Cecil jumped back, surprised once again, that look in his golden eyes (most unusual for a seagull) full of indignation. Half fluttering and staggering Cecil approached a baby crow. I am sure he was simply curious but the baby crow went in for the attack, and before Cecil could say, thanks for the fish, Mother Crow appeared. Cecil beat a hasty retreat landing in the river, where for the next twenty minutes he bathed and bathed and preened, followed by more splish splash and yes, more preening. He looked like a different bird, pristine white and mottled feathers shining in the fading sunlight as dusk approached. An orange razor-sharp beak, finished its work as a shiny head reappeared from under immaculately preened tail feathers. He could have entered a beauty contest, if such a thing existed in the world of seagulls.
I know they say, don’t feed the seagulls, but we liked Cecil, he was rapidly becoming a bit of a permanent fixture. So we found an egg and tomato sandwich left over from our journey, and despite being somewhat tempted ourselves, decided to give it to Cecil. Now, it is most interesting, not another seagull was in sight and Cecil stood alone. Until that is, the egg and tomato sandwich left my hand, spinning flight towards Cecil. Before I had finished saying, “There you go Cecil.” Half a dozen seagulls appeared from nowhere, spinning and amusing us with aerial acrobatics, beady eyes upon the flying morsel of human kindness
None had the piercing golden eyes like Cecil but were very keen to share his tit-bit. Cecil, however, had other ideas and they did not include sharing. In a millisecond Cecil moved like lightning, a flash of white, a flutter of wings and crash. He beak dived into the mud missing the sandwich on first lunge, and covering his aforementioned pristine seagull cleanliness, with sticky wet mud. No mind to Cecil, brain, golden eyes and beak firmly focussed, he lunged again beating a flying opponent to the prize. A flick of his head and Cecil spooned the sandwich into the air, two big chomp’s and three gulps, and he retired the victor. The others, clearly disappointed made a few cursory swoops on the off-chance there may be more, then disappeared as quickly as they arrived, without a trace. Cecil returned to the shore and began bathing, seemingly for ages, actually for well over an hour. Amusing us in his now familiar comical way, Cecil, scrubbed, dunked, fluttered crazily, preened and preened until clean and shining again. A true angel of the seagull kingdom.