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Gull colony

No one can say that gulls aren't handsome… and even cute.

A hard hat and a cane are needed to visit the gull colony on the south of Walney Island. Things can get a bit unruly when there are 30,000 gulls defending their territories. There are two types of scavenger here: herring gulls and the smaller, darker and rarer lesser black-backed gulls. Chris Packham meets islander John Murphy to see them. The gulls are here because there is plenty of food for their chicks - the island is between the Irish Sea and Morecombe Bay. Chris has found a dead pipefish, but crabs and fish are more nutritious for the chicks. The red spot on the adult gulls' bill becomes really prominent during summer and the chicks peck at it to demand food, which the adults cough up. In the peak of their plumage gulls are very handsome. People are potential predators from a gull's point of view, so they react aggressively as Chris and John pass by. They will physically attack or poo on them. In June and July there are lots of chicks about. Chris doesn't advocate picking them up, but John's found one that has strayed from its nest, so they examine it. It is very cute and cuddly, with good camouflage patterns. It doesn't have much of a smell. They return him to the area of his nest.

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5 minutes