Silver Gull Aerial Predation

Subject: Silver Gull Aerial Predation
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 2010 09:57:33 +1100
Thirty years ago I saw Silver Gulls in acrobatic aerial pursuit and predation over the Seaford foreshore (near Frankston,Vic.), where there was no artificial light at all. This was in late twilight after sunset. They were taking advantage of a big hatch of flying ants. Welcome Swallows were also catching the ants - quite large ones. The birds were hunting in the last of the evening light - I wondered how dark it would be before they couldn't see their prey.

One site where I have seen Silver Gulls using artificial light was at Webb Dock in Melbourne, where containers are handled at all hours of day and night. Here Silver Gulls feed on small prey in the water - perhaps schools of very small fish attracted to the surface by the lights. Birds were flying close to the surface, dipping or skimming for prey, as well as swimming in their normal manner. They may also have been taking insects from just above the water.

Anthea Fleming

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