Saturday, June 28, 2014


Tupper, the seagull with a tail that points up, stars today.  Many of you already know her, but I wanted to review her history, both for myself and for the Camera Critters and the Saturday's Critters memes.  Thank you to Misty and to Eileen for being wonderful hosts.

Edited to add: I am also linking up with Anni's I'd Rather Be Birdin meme.  Thank you, Anni, for the invitation and for hosting that very informative meme.

I first photographed Tupper from my balcony on January 18th, 2013.  She was perched on the lamp standard across the street.  Her face was mottled.  Funny, I have only today wondered what sort of gull she may be.  
 A look at this site suggests she is most likely a Herring Gull but if someone with more knowledge corrects me, that would be much appreciated.  If, as stated at that site, it takes four years to attain adult plumage (white face), then I'm guessing Tupper may have been about 3 years old at that time.  
 On February 2nd, 2013, I gave her the name Tupper.  
 "Tup" for tail up, 
 and the "per" on the end because it sounded better that way to me.
If my estimation is correct, Tupper would be about 41/2 now.  Our conclusion that she is female is based on a gut feeling and a conversation with another person who has been observing her for a while.  There's a good chance we're mistaken about this, but I'll continue to refer to her as a "she" gull unless we learn otherwise at some point in the future.  She visits us quite regularly, although she also disappears for several days at a time.  We're never sure where she goes.  Her perch on the lamp standard outside my balcony gives her a view of the schoolyard.  I believe she has learned the recess and lunch hour schedule when the children often eat snacks outside.  She swoops in to pick up scraps, but maintains a respectful distance from the teachers and students.  I had befriended a couple of crows in the area, and one day, threw a couple of Black Jack's treats on the ground near Tupper.  Slowly, she came to trust me, and then included Bill on her list of friends as well.  I think April 28th was the first time she ate from his hand.  It was a day or two later before I had that honour.
The rest of the photos here were taken yesterday.  With the Jazz Festival beginning today in David Lam Park across from our apartment, and much of the set-up happening yesterday, I thought it would be several days before we saw Tupper again.  It was raining in the afternoon, so we walked around the corner to Pacific Street for an afternoon latt√© at Harrison Galleries.  It felt like a bonus to see Tupper land on the street near us, though we both worry about her in traffic.  

 Hi there.  Watcha' got for me today?
 We gave her a few handfuls of Black Jack's treats and then she flew off.
In the evening, the rain had stopped and we walked in the park.  That's Bill at the left.  You can see some of the structures that have gone up for the festival.  Today, starting at noon, the sound will be deafening.  It will continue until 10:00 p.m. and repeat the same schedule again tomorrow.  I love jazz (I taught instrumental music for years and directed student jazz ensembles), but find these outdoor concerts uncomfortable to the point where they cause physical pain.  If things progress as they have other years, shutting our windows and balcony door will dull the sound enough to bear it, but it will still be impossible to ignore the booming bass and screaming sound system.  It remains a mystery to me why people are willing to risk hearing loss in order to hear music at a volume that creates a distorted, and to my mind, completely unmusical sound.  As for the wildlife in the area, and especially nesting young, I try not to think about it.  Though some indoor concerts at the Jazz Festival have been wonderful, the outdoor ones are something we tolerate for two days, and joke about for the rest of the year.  Some people in my building make a point of being away for that weekend.  It's a small price to pay, I guess, for living in a beautiful part of Vancouver, but as said, the affect on wildlife continues to sadden me.  That little black streak is Black Jack racing to meet Carl, a much loved resident of our building.  He never fails to have a treat for her.  That's his little dog Jesse beside him.  
We were thrilled when Tupper visited for the second time yesterday.  She and Black Jack tolerate each other.  Black Jack knows she usually gets a treat when Tupper is given her handful, and Tupper trusts us to keep Black Jack from bothering her.
I love the sky after a rain.  I didn't photograph the main tent.  This is just a small one, set up, I think, as a dining area.  
Tupper took a few treats from Bill,
and then followed us..
 around the walkway.
She settled for a moment at the top of the tide marker, 
and then flew off.  I like these shots of her..
against the sky.
She followed along the fence..
and then flew.. 
past us..
to land on the ledge by the water.
Both Bill and I talk to her.  
She listens carefully.  
I wonder often how..
she interprets our expressions and voices.
She is so close to me here that I took the photo myself with my right hand.
She is always ready for a quick exit if people or animals or even other seagulls approach.
A last snack, this one from Bill, and we called it an evening.  Good luck, dear Tupper.  I hope you will survive the jazz festival relatively easily and return to us soon.
Just little photos of us with Black Jack for today.  I was wearing Bill's hoodie and he was comfortable in his down jacket and shorts.  We like Vancouver's weather, but you do have to be prepared :)
And a last photo of that wonderful sky.  Have a wonderful Saturday, everyone.  Remember the critters when you celebrate outdoors.  Thanks again to Misty and Eileen for their memes.


  1. Lovley bird ,they can understand us we see it too on our bird photowalkings .The last photo is wonderful ,,have a nice weekend ,Nette

  2. she is a cute character - just like black jack. good luck with the music!

  3. Fun perspectives I enjoyed it immensely

  4. This post, your narration and photos, is incredible. I'd like to invite you to add your link at my Saturday Birding Meme, I'd Rather B Birdin' --- so other birding enthusiasts can marvel at this special bird!!!

    Do come join us.

  5. I loved your post and photos! Tupper is quite a bird and a smart one, too!

  6. He knows to survive, great series of photos.

  7. Hello, love this post will all the gull shots. Tupper is really tame.. And Black jack is such a cutie! The last shot is awesome.. Great post! Thanks for linking up and sharing your post this week, have a happy weekend!

  8. HI This is a brilliant post not only because of the photographs but your wonderful narration. Have a great weekend.

  9. Super post and you've obviously made a friend for life with 'Tupper'.

  10. lovery clear photos, great in-flights too; what fun. A lovely gull...

  11. I have fallen in love with Tupper from your wonderful narrative and great photos! What a sweet seagull, how cute and interesting. She has made herself part of your lives. Hope she comes back to visit again after the noisy jazz festival. Black Jack is adorable too, and I loved the skyline shot of your city! Great post! Glad you joined in with Bird d'Pot! Hope to see you often.

  12. Tupper, that's a nice name. Lovely you taking the time to look after the Herring Gull, love it.

  13. Great action shots!! Boom, Bobbi and Gary.

  14. Tupper is beautiful!! I love the pictures of her walking on the rainy sidewalk :)

  15. I have fallen in love with this bird....AND your post.
    If you don't mind, I'd like to share a link to this next week to highlight the story...just the link. At the Bird D'Pot of course.

    Thanks for linking up this weekend. It's always appreciated.

  16. Carol, you have a wonderful fan club!!! And so does Tupper! Phyllis

  17. What a lovely bird and a lovely story! All the best to you, Black Jack and Tupper!