Song to a seagull

Fly silly seabird
No dreams can possess you
No voices can blame you
For sun on your wings
My gentle relations
Have names they must call me
For loving the freedom
Of all flying things
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry

I came to the city
And lived like old Crusoe
On an island of noise
In a cobblestone sea
And the beaches were concrete
And the stars paid a light bill
And the blossoms hung false
On their store window trees
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry

Out of the city
And down to the seaside
To sun on my shoulders
And wind in my hair
But sandcastles crumble
And hunger is human
And humans are hungry
For worlds they can’t share
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry

I call to a seagull
Who dives to the waters
And catches his silver-fine
Dinner alone
Crying where are the footprints
That danced on these beaches
And the hands that cast wishes
That sunk like a stone
My dreams with the seagulls fly
Out of reach out of cry

— Joni Mitchell

Seeing different Gulls on the beach off Mandvi last week reminded me of Joni Mitchell’s wonderfully melodious and deep ‘Song to a seagull’ that I had heard a long-time ago. And when I was looking for this song, I stumbled upon a Paul Desmond instrumental version of the same as well. Both are highly recommended listening and I would urge you to give them both a whirl.

The beaches off Mandvi (Modhva fisherman’s village off Mandvi on the western coast of the Rann in Gujarat is where I had gone) seemed cleaner and far less crowded than other beaches in the country that I have been to. And maybe that is the reason for the richness of the avian population that I saw. Starting with a sighting of an Eurasian Oystercatcher to the flocks of Lesser Flamingos, Gulls, Plover & Egrets, this place is a phenomenal birding location. 

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Pallas’s Gull, Nikon D500 | 600 f/4 + 1.4 TCIII | ISO 400 | f/8 | EV -1/3 | 1/2000
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Brown-headed Gull, Nikon D500 | 600 f/4 + 1.4 TCIII | ISO 400 | f/7.1 | EV -1/3 | 1/2000
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Slender-billed Gull, Nikon D500 | 600 f/4 + 1.4 TCIII | ISO 400 | f/8 | EV -1/3 | 1/1600

The sun was setting behind me (see the pic below for reference) and I had to stay close to the edge of the water to take advantage of the light while the tide was rapidly coming in.  Needless to say, I was completely soaked and sanded by the time I was done – but what a nice haul for that effort.

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And this is me trying to crawl closer to the subjects with camera and tripod (Pic courtesy Niranj Vaidyanathan)

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