Silver Gull (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)
Silver Gulls are ubiquitous along the Australian coastline.
Squabbling, garrulous, aggressive and always ravenous, the seagull is often reviled. It’s a pesky part of the beach experience that must be tolerated, suffered with wincing discontent, much like crunchy sand in your hot chips or sunburn.
Look closely, however, and they are particularly stunning. Scarlet bill and legs, pure white body, silver-grey back and wing coverts. Primary feathers white splashed with black and a pure white ‘window’ or splotch near the tip of the outer three. Alert white eyes red-rimmed.
Seagulls are tireless opportunists. They know our habits and prosper accordingly. Their mannerisms are distinctive. Watch for a time and you’ll see the whole gamut of behaviour from naked self-interest to diligent parenting, from bullying, begging and bossing to calm communion and quiet preening.
This bird was catching discarded fish at Coffin Bay jetty where the fishing trawlers berth after working the ocean off southern Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Having spent several afternoons braced against onshore winds on local beaches, I painted the wild coastline to evoke the seagull’s proud exuberance and hidden beauty.
- linen board has a solid surface, I build up the sky with blue glazes
- finely wrought details require a very small brush and steady hand