[Tweeters] Discovering the secret "beach" of the gulls.

Jason Hernandez jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com
Mon Jun 1 21:23:11 PDT 2015

This was a Facebook post I wrote, and I figured the Tweeters would like it, too.

Another of those secret treasures of the shipyard, of which I cannot share pictures. I was working on the 9th floor of a building -- surely one of only a handful of buildings in all Bremerton that reaches 9 stories. Happening to look out the window, I saw the buildings below, with nearly-flat roofs, the peak just barely discernable. There, dispersed across that smooth expanse of tar paper, were "Olympic gulls." The "Olympic gull" is not a species you will find in field guides, because it is a complex of the glaucous-winged gull, the Western gull, and hybrids with various proportions of these. In this region, it is more abundant than either parent species.
Each gull sat at the center of a mound of greenish-brown debris, and when one or another stood up, I saw the gray, speckled eggs. Another mystery solved! Every year I see the first-year juveniles, but I always wondered, where could they possibly nest undisturbed? Most Puget Sound beaches are overrun with humans.
Now I see: a gull's definition of a beach is different from a human's. When I was in the Navy, we sometimes had what we called "steel beach picnic;" meaning that there would be a barbecue set up on the ship's flight deck, and we would eat picnic food out under the open sky. We had steel beach; these gulls have tar paper beach. The tar paper looks like a smooth sand surface, and no humans or dogs go tramping around up there, unless there is need of roof maintenance.
Jason Hernandez
jason.hernandez74 at yahoo.com

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