Gulls At The Dump

photograph, text and haiku by Kristen Lindquist

Gulls, Bath Dump

Spent a perfect morning birding with a friend at Reid State Park. Cold, but little wind, bright sun, blue skies, birds bobbing in the waves. I even saw a longed-for life bird, a Dovekie, actively feeding very close to shore.

But no day of birding is complete without a stop at the local dump. So after our beach outing, the natural next stop was the Bath Landfill–to study gulls, of course. Thanks to a couple of nearby eagles, the gulls were all aswirl. Watching hundreds of white birds circling en masse above my head was a truly mesmerizing experience, akin to watching a snow storm in car headlights. Look closely at this photo. At a cursory glance, it looks like empty blue sky, but see all those tiny white specks? Those are gulls!

Mesmerized by gulls. Photo by Derek Lovitch.

A dump worker referred to them as “dump ducks” and probably thought we were crazy. But there’s no better place to observe gulls. Despite the great numbers of birds, we only picked out two unusual gulls amid the swirling swarm: a Glaucous and an Iceland Gull, both white-winged species. But standing there watching all those moving, shifting birds, I felt a true awe–similar to the feeling of looking up at a night sky strewn with stars.

Gulls at the dump–
surprised to feel such awe
while surrounded by trash.