MEET NELSON

Once upon a time we enjoyed Springbok Radio in this country – the demise of which has caused great sadness among those of us who grew up with its offerings. In about 1971 we probably all sang along with the South African folk singers Des and Dawn Lindberg whenever the radio played their song about a little boy who rescued an oil soaked seagull from the sea.

… And the seagull’s name was Nelson

Nelson who came from the sea

And the seagull’s name was Nelson

Nelson the seagull free…

It was thus natural to temporarily name our seagull visitor Nelson [Nelson who came from the sea]. Our introduction to Nelson came about when he came into the chalet at Tsitsikamma to snatch a large square of quiche from the coffee table near the open door – this is Nelson polishing off the last of the crumbs.

Little did we realise that Nelson was to become a daily visitor – always on the lookout for a bite to eat. He was so quick that I learned to hide my early morning rusk under my sunhat whilst enjoying the view of the waves crashing over the rocks.

Nelson is a Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus) – also called the Southern Black-backed Gull – of which there was an abundance. Its bill is bright yellow with a red spot near the tip. Note too, the orange eye-ring.

We became familiar with Nelson’s feet planted firmly on the narrow ledge of the deck.

Before leaving the Tsitsikamma section of the Garden Route National Park, we came across this gull sitting on its nest.

… And the seagull’s name was Nelson …

26 thoughts on “MEET NELSON

  1. Love this! When we were on holiday in Lochinver in Scotland a few years ago, there was a resident gull who used to stand on the hand rail outside the chalet and stare in until we threw him some food. If we were tardy he’d come and rap on the window with his beak. Gulls are much more intelligent (and playful) than we give them credit for – I once watched one sliding down a pitched roof and then flying back to the top and doing it all over again, just for fun.

    Nelson is a very handsome chap, I’ve never seen a kelp gull before, though we do have greater and lesser black-backed gulls in the UK…

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  2. Thanks, Anne, My earworm’s now progressed from “And the seagull’s name was Nelson” to “Die gezoem van die bye…” Some very happy memories of a carefree childhood.

    Storms River Mouth is one of the best places I know of to get good pictures of gulls, for while they are very commonly seen along the coast they seldom play along for a photograph.

    Did you see any oystercatchers while you were on the Tsitsikamma coast?

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    • Sadly, not a single Oyster Catcher was to be seen over the four days we had walking along the various paths. I have been trying to get my earworm to change and now you’ve added another tune!

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  3. Nelson is very handsome! 😉
    I once read about researchers who wondered about why there was a red spot was on the beak and if it had a function. They covered some dots up and left the others as control. It turns out it is what the chicks hone in on to get fed, tapping the red dot like a food dispenser to get the parent to regurgitate. Without it, the chicks didn’t get as much food. Nature is amazing, yes?

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