We were walking on the beach at Weymouth seafront one early morning thanks to an advantageous bank holiday on a Monday. It was 7.00 am and the throng of the early visitors was not yet in. Later parents with their children and accompanied by shovels, buckets, windscreen, folding chairs and beach mats in tow would be searching for a place to park themselves for a good tan and some savoury fish and chips that Weymouth had to offer. The local council had by then lined up the promenade with easy chairs for the buzurg (बुज़ुर्ग ).
We walked along the sand that had been leveled I think late the previous night or perhaps very early in the morning even before the crow woke up. I spotted a crow strutting about on the beach sand no doubts trying to hunt for the local fauna which may have been exposed thanks to the sand leveler. Gulls too were strutting about. They were saying to me “I am the king of all I survey”. I was in total agreement and I was cautious in approaching them so as to photograph them as close as possible. While the gull was gutsy and did not move the crow was prone to alacrity and kept moving away.
C: I am Kuppuswamy from Chennai visiting my cousin Blackfether. What are you?
G: I am a sea-gull. My name is Guigull and I search the beach.
C: I am hunting for worms. What do you do for food here? Do you search for food?
G: I do not search for food. I search the beach for things people drop. I am the head of the avian beachcomber’s club. I believe an internet search company has been named after me.
C: Oh! I was not aware of that. Human beings copy from us and nature shamelessly and never credit us with anything. If I were you I should be crowing about this blatant copying. I read the headlines today about lot of song and dance about Samsung being no longer the apple of the eye of the mobile world.
G: I would not worry about it. Humans are fickle. If it is Apple today, then maybe it is Pineapple tomorrow. Any mobile will sooner or later will have their swan song even Samsung. Later in the evening you will find human beachcombers with a long metal detector to find dropped pounds, jewelry and anything of value. But I do it more efficiently than a metal detector.
C: How do you do that?
G:I and other gulls spend the whole day watching people. Whenever anyone drops anything of value we note the location and promptly update the treasure map beneath that merry-go-round. We have our headquarters there. By evening when the crowd is less we go to each of the locations and get the trinket.
C: Wow! That is some teamwork. How does it help collecting all that?
G: We drop it over the fence. There are cats behind the fence, normally they sit on it, do the fencing of the goods and they give us fish from the shops that do the Fish and Chips. We gulls do not fancy the chips. In fact we are happy when the chips are down because the fish then are up.
C: Personally I hate fish – worms yes, fish no.
G: What I do not like about humans is the ban they have made advising not to feed us. The beach is so clean these days. All the trash bins are covered.
C: Probably they now eat everything and do not have anything to put in the trash bin.
G: You know for someone who is new to Weymouth you are quite perspective. Andsley Rewlan the health watchdog has been toasted by the newspapers for letting the health of the people go to dogs. In fact in the last five years our efforts to dig the sand to get the dropped items has shot up. The sand every evening is getting increasingly compacted thanks to the weight of the beach walkers. We are planning to sponsor a sand castle competition in the hope the sand gets really churned.
C: Back home we do find human beings tolerable. A guy named Laxman has really increased the mind share of crows amongst the mankind. You may have heard of him. He is a cartoonist.
G: I do not like them as much as you seem to do. I particularly take an exception to one Ogden Nash. He thinks we are dumb and confuse ourselves with an eagle. We may be raucous and audacious enough for a fight but we are not dumb and let me add we are not ducks either.
C: Sorry I spy a fat worm there. I got to go.