We were settling into the charming duplex unit at the Surf Motel in Victoria last Friday when we looked out the bedroom window, attracted perhaps by the loud sound of gulls on the roof next door. And this is what we saw:
I believe this is a glaucous-winged gull, one of the most common large gulls in our part of the world. We realized that it had a nest — you can see it at the base of the chimney — and then we saw the three young gulls which made our stay at the Surf such a pleasure.
The parent birds were very vigilant, one of them remaining always in proximity to the young, who spent most of their time huddled under that sheltered area where the two rooflines meet. When a parent returned with food, it would stand on the lower part of the nearest roof, call, then regurgitate a stream of breakfast which the young tucked into with gusto.
Up and down the roof the young gulls ran, their undeveloped wings fluttering a little in the wind. Sea-gulls are thought to house the souls of lost sailors but in this case they seemed a very auspicious sight for parents spending a few days in a city where their son was marrying his beloved and where the mornings were washed clean with wind off the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Those were the same winds that I knew as a child on the beach near Clover Point, this same strait with its constant gulls, and the white waves racing for the shore. I thought of Odysseas Elytis, whose poems I keep on my desk:
My sky is deep and unaltered
What I love is always being born
What I love is beginning always.