A young Ring Billed Gull
The Mighty Saint Lawrence River, Cornwall, Ontario, Canada
October 26, 2008

This closeup was taken using the very cunning “stealth mode” technique.

Here’s how.

I spotted the bird on the railing of the little observation boardwalk that juts out into the river and decided to approach very slowly, quietly humming “To all the gulls I’ve loved before”. It turned its head, gave me the once over, decided I was a relatively harmless eccentric, and continued staring into space. Not too far off the mark, either. A most perceptive bird.

A couple of shots taken, then I moved in a little closer, this time whistling “Good morning, little school gull”.This seemed to stir up a little interest, so I stopped, waited a bit and took a couple more.

Still not much reaction, so a couple more steps closer. The tune this time was “Young gull, get into my art”. A sideways glance, but, as of now, no signs of alarm. Another shot.

Finally, I was able to get within a few feet by whispering “Who’s a pretty gull, then? Would you like to be in a movie? The Lord of the Ring Bills? You could be Gullum.” Well, it seemed to believe me because it turned and gave me this lovely profile.

“And,” you may ask, “why did it believe you?”
Well, it’s because they’re so very gullible…

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 to 300 at 300 mm
iso 100, multi-pattern metering, F6.3, 1/250 second

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

View Full Profile


  • Ray Clarke
    Ray Clarkeover 3 years ago

  • Thanks, Ray!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Colin Metcalf
    Colin Metcalfover 3 years ago

    GROOOOOOOOOOOOAN! All those puns. Great set of images though and do you know what? I believe every word!

  • Thanks so very much, Colin! And thanks for your faith in the stealth mode technique. It does work, but the main problem is selecting suitable tunes and/or poems for the subject. :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1over 3 years ago

    Great shot, Mike

  • Much appreciated, Shulie! Many thanks!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Jan Clarke
    Jan Clarkeover 3 years ago

    Lol, I just love your tale of acquisition, Mike, this image was worth every moment of patient stealth! The detail is fabulous, and the light and colours are very soothing. The “expression” in the gull’s eye makes it look somewhat resigned to whole process – maybe it’s been the “star” of many a still shot! Beautifully shot.

  • Many, many thanks, Jan! I find I use “stealth mode” a fair bit when doing these kinds of shots. It means I can get one or two before the subject buggers off over the horizon. And I don’t think the wee gull was resigned. I think it was half asleep and that’s why I was able to get so close! :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • rodeorose
    rodeoroseover 3 years ago

    Gorgeous series Mike! Love them all!!

  • Thanks so very, very much for your very kind words, Rosie, and the wonderful compliment of adding this (these) to your favourites, too! So greatly appreciated!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Valerie Rosen
    Valerie Rosenover 3 years ago

    excellent work! :-) val

  • Many, many thanks, Val, and thanks, too, for the fave!

    – Mike Oxley

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 3 years ago


  • Greatly appreciated, Lorilee! Thanks so very much!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Oops! Many thanks for the “fave”, too! :o)

    – Mike Oxley

  • Jan Clarke
    Jan Clarkeover 3 years ago

    Lol! :-))

  • Cheers, eh? And thanks for the “fave”, too, Jan!

    – Mike Oxley

  • AnnDixon
    AnnDixonover 3 years ago

  • mrcoradour
    mrcoradourover 3 years ago
    Gosh Mike the detail in this bird is brilliant, what a threesome you’ve taken,
  • Thanks so very much, Malcolm! A most cooperative gull!

    – Mike Oxley

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