The artwork of Greg Poole

Walking along the seafront a few days ago, close to the sign near the museum asking people not to feed the seagulls, were a mother and daughter attracting a great flock of black-headed gulls, and so, by way of illustration, the argument as to feeding or not feeding the seagulls goes on.  


Recently Little Toller Books have published one of their monographs Landfill on the subject of seagulls and their changing habits, by the well-known Bristolian writer Tim Dee.  In it he, quite amusingly I have to say, refers to his hairdresser Giggsy who delights in seagulls and their hobnail boots on flat roofs, to the extent of he walking through caravan sites throwing a chip on the top of each van, just for the fun of it.  Such is the love/hate relationship that communities have with these birds that seem to remain white - in their adult plumage - no matter what muck they delve into. 


In the Bible there are some references to seagulls.  In Leviticus chapter 11 they are declared ‘unclean’ - I am grateful for Tim Dee pointing this out - listed amongst others, not to be eaten, including, “the eagle, the vulture, the osprey, the kite, the falcon, every raven, the ostrich, the owl the cormorant and the ibis”.   They can certainly be a nuisance, especially in the urban situation.


Greg Poole the wildlife artist died just after Christmas.  He was a lover of seabirds and painted some beautiful, character-filled illustrations, capturing the joy of watching the gulls and other large birds of the seaside, yet at the same time appreciating the mess, nuisance, and even sometimes perceived threat, that they can produce, especially when in large numbers and in the wrong place.  


John Mann