August 31, 2012

One of my favourite places for photography to do with iron is a bulk terminal situated near the Dutch coast. I’ve had the chance to be there in different seasons and to watch the unexpected amount of wildlife it harbours. It is especially impressive in the month of June when wearing a hard hat protects you more against the potential attacks of hundreds of seagulls nesting everywhere than against the odd industrial dangers.

Larus fuscus

The owners of the place are keen to preserve this extraordinary habitat as much as possible while their handling operations must continue, and for this they are assisted by a specialist on ecology and dedicated birdwatcher.

Today I’ve received from him the details of a ringed gull whose picture (above) I took here a year ago. It is a ‘lesser black-backed gull’ or larus fuscus, a migratory bird which flies as far as West-Africa and which can reach a considerable age. My bird, I hear, was ringed at this same place ten years ago and recently the ring on another gull nesting here showed it to be twenty-four years old.

Feathers are very present in my life at the moment. I don’t know yet why.

The best experiences are not when you find what you were looking for, but when something quite different finds you…’

Tim Parks, Teach Us to Sit Still