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.
Great stuff Phil! Is that with the new 7DMK 2 ?
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.
I’m pretty happy with the new 7D so far. It seems that everything I wanted in the upgrade I got. In fact, it does so much new stuff I can’t find time to get at it all!
Absolutely amazing series of shots – high drama in the skies! Fascinating observations.
I’m really happy you enjoyed these photos, thanks! I usually ignore the gulls but this time they put on a show worth watching and photographing. 🙂
Awesome shots , Phil !
Thanks very much utham!
These are incredible images Phil.
I appreciate that Edith, thank you. 🙂
Incredible, indeed. I am yet to get my 7DII. I am happy I saw your work.
Thank you very much for your kind words and I’m sure you will love your new 7D. 🙂
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.
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 a bunch, I appreciate you checking out the gull action!
Great photos. These guys end up using all the calories before they get to eat their snack.
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.
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!
Well I greatly appreciate your very kind words Linda, thank you. I really feel good knowing you enjoy my photos too!
Great sequence! And a most unusual sight.
Thank you and it was the first time I can remember seeing a gull with a bird and another gull getting that excited about it to start a chase scene!
All the shots are wonderful, but that last photo is a marvel! I think these are both immature ring-billed gulls.
Thanks so much and glad you enjoyed these photos. You could be right about the gull species and they sure were acting like a couple of kids out there. 🙂
These are brilliant pictures, Phil! The clarity is fantastic! These do look like juvenile gulls and our gulls here fight over food all the time!
Thanks very much Maggie, and yes these young gulls sure are energetic! I have seen them fight over food many times but I still wonder where it got that small bird?
That last shot is incredible. It’s a miracle he managed to hang onto his prize.
The evasive flying maneuvers were quite amazing to witness. Not sure it’s worth using all that energy over a small snack but what do I know? 🙂
WOW! Great photographs, Thank you dear Phil, love, nia
Thank you so much Nia, I’m happy you like these gull photos!
What a fantastic series!
I appreciate you checking them out, thank you Pat!
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.
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.
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.
I mostly use Center Point Expanded for focusing points, same as I did on the 7D. So far just using the auto case.
Thank you for looking!
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.
Nice series! Like the flow of the action. Glad your new 7D MkII works well!