High Speed Chase

Earlier this week I was out at the marsh when I noticed a gull being chased and harassed by another gull. I don’t normally pay much attention to the gulls but it looked like a seriously determined pursuit was going on so I figured why not grab a few shots.

I saw that the gull being chased had something in it’s beak which I assumed was a fish because that’s almost always what they argue over. But it looked odd, and not exactly fished shaped, so when I examined the photos closely later I saw that the gull had a small bird clutched tightly in his mouth!

I don’t recall ever seeing a gull flying with a bird in it’s beak so this was more then a little unusual. I figure it was probably a little tree swallow that we currently have flying all over the place here. Whether the gull caught the swallow or just found it already dead is unknown, but after utilizing some very speedy evasive maneuvers, the gull did get away from it’s pursuer and managed to successfully fly off with it’s prize.

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

Gull Chasing Gull

44 thoughts on “High Speed Chase

    • Hi Ricky, thanks very much for checking these out and yes indeed these are from the new 7D MK II.
      I got the camera in on Monday and went out with it later that day and that’s what the eagle photos from Tue. and Wed. posts were taken with. Yesterday’s osprey was also taken with the new camera. It’s looking like a keeper so far.
      I’m happy. 🙂

      • Glad to hear Phil. I am about to make a move to Canon. They have produced the camera that I have wanted Nikon
        to make for several years. Kudos to Canon! Probably will shoot two systems for a while and may go all in with the 1DX along with the 7D upgrade. Your stuff is always good but I sensed these were a tad better. Canon seems to have made the best crop body (the 7D) even better.

  1. Yikes! I’ve no doubt a gull could (and would) kill a swallow if it could catch it, but it’s hard to imagine how it would catch one. I suspect you’re right that it may have been dead already. A mystery… You’ve captured really action-packed exciting photos!

    • I’m thinking that maybe a hawk got at the swallow first (I saw a merlin in a tree previously) but then dropped it and the gull found it. I can not imagine a gull catching a swallow, those little guys are super fast!
      First time I ever saw a gull with a bird though.

  2. When I initially saw your lead image in the WP Reader, I thought “Boy, Phil’s really slumming today…” without an alligator, wading bird or raptor in sight. But of course, you provided a superb series of captures, as usual. Very nice!

    • I know, ha ha, I was actually thinking the same *while* taking the pictures! Gulls?! Me? Where’s the gator or eagle? 🙂
      But they did provide some entertaining action so…
      Maybe I have to keep an eye out for gull activity more often. Or maybe not. 🙂

    • Thanks and I was thinking the same thing. All that flying has to use up so much energy and often for a small snack that usually ends up being dropped. These birds must not have to eat near as much as we tend to think they do.

  3. Great shots, and great camera, but its the photographer that is the one who is the one who takes those pictures, yes a nice camera helps alot, but its the person taking the pictures is what counts, no matter what kind of camera it is, you are a great photographer…and these are amazing pictures, thanks Phil

    • Hi Linda, Couldn’t agree with your more about the photographer and the camera. Phil is world class. Wanted to make sure no one misunderstood my post in no way, form or fashion did I intend to make it sound like the camera
      was the reason Phil got these shots. The camera is a tool that helps great photographers capture images like Phil
      produces on a daily basis. Phil’s standard is what photographers like mysellf strive to achieve, Thanks for sharing Phil!

      • Oh jeez you and Linda are really working hard to make me feel good and wow I sure do appreciate it greatly!
        I just try to capture some of nature’s behavior and action as best I can and I’m glad y’all enjoy viewing the photos.
        And Ricky you are leaving out the part about you being one hell of a great photographer. 🙂 I know, I have seen your photos!

  4. I can’t believe the sequence of action in these shots! I’ve never seen a gull with a smaller bird catch. We did see a hawk once pluck a small bird out of the top of an oak tree, but that’s all I’ve seen. This is amazing, and the expression and urgency in the pursuer is mind-boggling!

    • A few days ago we had a hawk dive bomb our back yard bird feeder and scatter a group of doves and also two woodpeckers. We have not seen the woodpeckers since. Hope they come back. The hawk went after one of the doves but don’t know if he got it.
      This was the first time I ever saw a gull with a bird. Guess they will eat just about anything.

  5. Awesome BIF action shoots! You use single center point or something else in AI Servo to track the BIF? I know you sometimes use 300mm f/4 with 2x extender so only the center point should be the only one that can auto focus at f/8 on 7D MK II unless you use non Canon extenders? Thank you for sharing.

  6. Sorry, IC you use .14x extender so should be able to use all points at f/5.6. But typically how many point focus do you use and Case# or did you create a custom case for the AF? Thank you.

  7. Exceptional pictures!!
    Yes, please, in a case like this, som technical details about the camera settings would be fun, I mean, educational.
    Did you you shoot at 10 fps for a long time?

    • Thanks very much for looking! I shoot in manual mode and sometimes change settings on the fly as I shoot.
      I try to use a shutter speed above 1000 and shoot all BIF action hand held.
      I do keep the camera on the 10 fps setting but often only shoot 1-3 frames at a time, I don’t always have it going continuously.

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