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article imagePhoto Essay: A gull family in Fuengirola, from nest to wing Special

By Anne Sewell     Aug 19, 2013 in Environment
Fuengirola - Back in May 2013 the writer noticed a seagull nesting on the roof of the old mill across the road from her apartment. The progress of this little family has been captured in a series of images and on video.
The gulls had made their nest behind a concrete block on the roof of the old, dilapidated mill in Calle Molino (Mill Street) in Fuengirola, Spain.
The writer had the privilege of following their progress, watching the parent gulls taking turns on the nest. If the father was a little slow in taking his shift, mother gull made plenty of noise to let him know her feelings and flapped off in a frenzy when he finally arrived.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - mother gull sitting on the nest.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - mother gull sitting on the nest.
Sometimes their swap-overs were perfectly synchronized, so that the eggs were only exposed for just a second or less.
Soon the babies were born and there was a glimpse of fluffy baby gull peeking from the nest.
However, at one stage, as the weather got warmer and drier, the nest fell apart. This was worrying, as at first there was no sign of the baby gulls at all. Then finally one appeared on the flat roof below, and then the other.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain mother gull with one of the babies.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain mother gull with one of the babies.
The mother was clearly upset and not sure what to do about her babies - but they managed to settle down in the overhang of the roof that was previously their home.
As they got more adventurous, they climbed up onto the roof yet again.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - chicks get adventurous.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - chicks get adventurous.
The writer quickly learned that the gull diet involves more than fish and the odd piece of bread. The parents killed other birds - possibly pigeons or starlings - to feed to their growing family - a tad gruesome, but nature will provide.
According to Wikipedia, seagulls have been observed preying on live whales. Apparently they land on the whale as it surfaces and then peck out pieces of flesh. Fortunately that was not experienced in Fuengirola!
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - preparing the family meal as babi...
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - preparing the family meal as babies wait on the roof.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - parent with full beak.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - parent with full beak.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - family dinner.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - family dinner.
The babies grew incredibly quickly and eventually reached the stage where flying lessons were in order (see the video below).
Regrettably soon after they started to tentatively try out their wings, one of the seagulls disappeared - possibly he or she had taken a tumble down to the street. However the second baby continued to progress and fly.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola  Spain - stretching those wings.
Seagulls nested on the roof of the old mill in Fuengirola, Spain - stretching those wings.
It is now August, and the youngster still returns to the roof from time to time and at present retains the grey baby coloring.
Flying lessons:
More about Spain, Fuengirola, Seagull, Family, Babies
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