Territorial Claims and Concessions in Low Visibility


Seagull claims docking post
Move over, now!
The proverbial early riser gets the worm but the loudest seagull gets the post with the coveted view. This ritual of calculated circling, followed by a swift and powerful dive, accompanied by aggressive squawking, is the winged kingdom's equivalent of pulling rank.  Or, is it?
The uncertainty arises from witnessing that next bird swishing down and displacing, with equal vigor, the previous conqueror of the docking post. Could it be just a game among friends?
As the morning unfolds, with an invisible funnel pouring more moist air into the sky, the fog shows no intention of easing up. I walk through the park, exchanging nods and glances of understanding with joggers along the way, to the small dock where countless seagulls - and the occasional cormorant - play out their territorial games. The lens is fogged and dripping, but I blank out unsettling thoughts of in-camera condensation and damage.
The cormorant is not there today, what a bummer! But the seagulls are everywhere - more agitated, loud, and active than usual. Realizing that I've captured 2-3 "attack" shots, I turn to leave as the humidity is overwhelming. And then, I run into a scene that will serve as the stage for more territorial games of claim and concession.
Seagulls in parking lot covered by fog
Filling in the parking spots till their rightful occupants reclaim them.











In the parking lot, the white stretch of barely discernible objects in the thick fog, is a colony of seagulls. They are probably waiting their turn to claim that post with the vantage view. I ease towards them, eager to get a closeup (or two) without flushing them.
But, as you know, things happen!
Seagulls taking off in fog
Not in the mood for a photo session today, at least not in portrait mode!
And they happen in a spontaneous and overwhelming way...
Seagulls in morning fog
Posing for a group photo?


Seagull colony taking off
Portraits and profiles, tangled in mist.
In retrospect, I did invade their temporary resting site, no doubt about that. Their concession was   elegant, beautiful to watch and capture. And in the days that followed, it taught me a lesson about territorial rights. As I looked through the captured images, the dark figure of that vehicle became a source of irritation. Trying to figure out a way to crop it out, I realized that it was the only object that had an indisputable right to be there.
So, it stays!