Rare footage of the courtship dance of the Black Headed Gull in Cumberland.
L/S of the countryside looking over sandy land towards a lake with mountains in the distance. Various shots of seagulls flying as commentator tells us all the gulls in this sanctuary are black-headed gulls. M/S of bird expert JC Houghton and his small daughter climbing into a hide; the daughter then runs off, fooling the birds that both humans have left.
Various shots of the gulls flying, then on the ground, attempting to woo female gulls by sticking their necks out, their tails in the air and scurrying across the ground. Commentator tells us the courtship posture is more an attempt to scare off male rivals than a gesture of affection to the lady. Lovely M/S of a gull settling down on a nest of eggs.
L/S of a dog approaching over the sand dunes; a man walks over the ground, causing the gulls to fly round and set up a great communal cry. When the intruders have passed, we see a gull sitting on some eggs; fade out.
Fade in to M/S of three eggs in a gull's nest; one of the eggs is starting to hatch; mix through to the same shot at a further stage of hatching as a pinky-looking chick starts to emerge. Nice M/S of an adult gull with two fluffy spotted-headed gull chicks; they peck at the beak of the adult and grab food from it. A third chick appears to take a piece of food from the adult. Various shots of the juvenile gulls trying to fly. L/Ss of the gulls flying; story ends with the L/S of the countryside from the start of the film.
I am informed by Dave Haines that this is a unique and rare piece of footage of the courtship dance of the Black Headed Gull.
Note: print used for telecine transfer is quite scratched; neg is cut. Cuts exist - see separate record.