Silver Gull feeding(?) with Black Swans

Subject: Silver Gull feeding(?) with Black Swans
From: David Burren <>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 16:14:24 +1000
In April I was in Bunga Arm (the Gippsland Lakes) at anchor near
the First Blowhole and noticed a Silver Gull acting strangely.  At
least, it was not behaviour I was used to - hopefully someone here
can shed some light on this behaviour for me.

This gull was following around a pair of swans, usually swimming
alongside them as they fed.  Then every now and then it decided to
dive.  Not just bob under the water, but fly up a feet or so and
dive into the water right near the swans. It would do this over and
over again.

Being a photographer by trade of course I have photos:)
I have two JPEGs of this online:
        (this actually has two photos in it)

The image where the bird is in the air with its wings raised and
the one where it seems to be balanced on the water by its bill are
only 1/3rd of a second apart in time - the bird really wasn't going
very high.  In those two images the 2nd swan's head was below water.

This behaviour went on for at least 20 minutes that I noticed.  The
swans moved around a fair bit, and the gull followed.  This was a
fresh-water (brackish actually) lake seperated from Bass Strait by
a dune system.  The water under the birds was probably ~1m deep
with lots of plant life.

Can anyone offer a theory for me?

David Burren
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