Before Instagram was a thing I used to crop many of my photographs square. I do love the balanced composition of a square crop. It’s not about the shape of the bird, it’s about the negative space, the shapes of the parts of the image outside the bird. It’s making those empty shapes neatly balance with one another which makes the image work.
These are Black-Headed Gulls, Chroicocephalus ridibundus. I recently spotted one with a white plastic leg ring and the code J1P4 on it.
I found the leg-ring study and dropped them a line. Nils Helge Lorentzen kindly replied with their database showing 56 records of this bird dating back to 2011. It has spent the last nine years travelling backwards and forwards from Norway to South Devon, spending October to March in the relative warmth of a lake in a country park in Devon and the other six months in Frognerparken or Østensjøvannet in Norway. Here’s a typical entry:
Date: 17.04 2011
Place: Østensjøvannet, Oslo, Akershus & Oslo, Norway
Coordinates: 59°52’51″N 010°49’57″E
The new database entry because of my submitted record says that I saw it on day 3151 and 1381km from where it was last seen.
I love citizen science. We should have far greater Government funding for scientists to develop standardised smartphone apps and websites to involve large numbers of people in gathering data. That would help increase the number of people who appreciate science. All that empty space could be contributing to our understanding of the bigger picture.