Shocking savage seagulls of Sydney the sequel: Mothers’ Day – away with the birds


Imagine the title of this post being spoken in the kind of voice typically heard in a horror movie trailer.  Maybe with some chilling, high-pitched, psycho violins reminiscent of stabbing.

But we’ll get to the seagulls later. Mothers’ Day 2018 in Canberra was pretty low key which is just how I wanted it: a chance to sleep in, teach Spider Boy how to make my breakfast (after he ran into my room at a reasonable hour to give me a beautiful card and origami box he’d made) go to Bunnings for a sausage sandwich and some double-sided wall adhesive, and a little walk and coffee by the lake. There were no seagulls. But there were chips, and former-Sydneysider Spider Boy commented how lovely it was to eat chips by the sea, while lakeside at Kingston Foreshore. I knew what he meant. But just as well we weren’t by the sea in Sydney, after what I heard next…

On the way home from our pleasant little lakeside stroll, my sister Senorita Margarita called to report a savage seagull incident in the Harbour city. She and my mum had decided to take a ferry from Rose Bay to Circular Quay and enjoy some fish and chips by the water. According to the Senorita, just as Mum was about to tuck in to her seafood lunch, fish on fork on its way to her mouth, a seagull swooped in, stole the fork from under her nose, slapping her in the cheek with its wing as it flew off, fork in beak with the fish still attached. Then it ate the fish and dropped the cutlery on the ground. Not only a violent thief, but a tosser!

As my sister recounted mum’s seagull encounter over the phone we both started laughing at the sheer gall of the gull, but then I was laughing so hard I nearly ran the car off Yamba drive. My laughter was hypercritical, considering I got annoyed when Spider Boy laughed at me spilling my flat white on my new felt winter hat that very afternoon (and in case you’ve got a mental picture, I wasn’t wearing my hat at the time)

The Senorita reminded me of another seagull event at the Quay a few years ago, when one decided to move into her lustrous blonde curls during her lunch break, while its seagull sidekick did a fly-by and took a bite of her sandwich as she brought it to her mouth. Yes, the Circular Quay seagulls are particularly bold.

Later that day after hearing about Mum’s seagull drama,  I rang my dad.

Dad, who has recently moved to the Blue Mountains just west of Sydney, had ventured back to the East for the weekend. We swapped stories about our Sundays. He complained about Sydney traffic, Sydney queues, Sydney prices, Sydney attitude and annoying and expensive Lexuses and Range Rovers in Centennial Park, and how he’s so happy that’s all behind him now that he’s moved to the Mountains. (I must admit, I do love being able to visit him there.) And then I told Dad about my peaceful Mothers’ Day in Canberra, and about my Mother’s not-so-peaceful day in Sydney.

While relating the story of the savage seagulls at Circular Quay, it occured to me the Seagulls were just like Sydney itself… they were, in fact, very Sydney seagulls.

“Yes!” agreed Dad. “That’s exactly what they are – Very. Sydney. Seagulls!”

In May 2014, I blogged about a family outing where we experienced another particularly rude seagull event coupled with terrible service from an ice-cream vendor. Here’s an edited version of Sunday drive: savage seagulls, snakes and service with a snarl

My sister Senorita Margarita, Mum Spider Boy and I decided on a nice low-key beach area. So not Bondi. We drove south and ended up at Botany Bay.

We bought fish and chips and made our way down to the little beach facing the airport runways. There was lots of interesting things to look at, and balmy weather considering it was May.

We perched on the wall of an elevated garden bed since all the benches were taken. Suddenly, A flock of seagulls descended. Spider Boy wanted to run, run so far away (sorry, any chance to bring up the 80s).

Spider Boy was edgy. He tensed as the seagulls squawked and edged closer to his lunch. “Should I give them some lunch?” He asked, obviously hoping that feeding them would make them go away.

“No!” I squawked. “If you do that, they’ll never leave! They’ll just get louder, closer and more annoying! Like Mummy nagging.”

So we sat there uncomfortably perched on the garden bed, sea grass tickling our legs, seagulls staring us down, wind blowing my hair in my face.

Suddenly a rampaging toddler disturbed the status quo, throwing out the delicate mutual respect Spider Boy and I had achieved with the flock of seagulls. They squawked, they flapped. Spider Boy jumped. Then I felt something drop onto my fish and chips paper at the same time as hearing a distinctive splat! I felt something wet on my hand and leg.

I looked at my lunch fearing what I knew I would see there, and I’m not talking about tartare sauce.

“A seagull just pooed on my lunch!” I shared with my family and passers-by.
“Well at least a seagull didn’t land on your head!” said The Senorita. “That happened to me once you know!” 

Here are some pics from Sunday…

Edited highlights: drowning in the shadow of a lighthouse

There’s slim pickings on the photo front this week, due to illness (Spider Boy and I) and a neck/shoulder injury (mine, not serious, but annoying, like a big fat pain in the you-know-what), but I managed to capture a few shots this week.

I had the brainwave of taking Spider Boy on a tour of a really old lighthouse on Sydney’s South Head. I think it’s only open once a year, but of course, the morning we were due to go on our pre-paid tour, the weather was looking ominous.


So near, yet so far. View from the car. In case you were wondering why the sky looks so dirty. That’s the windscreen.

We drove up , parked in the next street, and the exact moment Spider Boy and I got out of the car was the exact moment the heavens opened. Not just a sprinkle – it was torrential. Now of course, being an adult, you know that once you’re in the lighthouse, you won’t be rained on, you’ll get an amazing never-before-seen view, even if it’s raining outside (maybe). And Sydney weather being what it is, the skies might have cleared by the time we’d climbed the hundred steps to the top.

A hundred steps, I thought. I was ready to tackle them, but was Spider Boy?

By now the rain was blowing sideways and coming in under our umbrellas as we began the trek up to the lighthouse. Spider Boy was crying tearlessly as his little pirate umbrella attempted to make a break from his hands. “My umbrella! Mum, I’ve changed my mind I don’t want to go, let’s get back to the car!”

“Oh come on,” I enthused, “It’ll be fine. Don’t you want to see the lighthouse and the view?”

“No, I want to get back in the car!”

He’d been so keen that morning, waking up and running into the living room chanting “We’re going to the lighthouse!”

“Oh come on, it’s only a few minutes walk, it’s just there, see, just that thing there, it’ll be dry inside! Just there!”

“No, I want to go home!”

“Ok” I agreed, “let’s go back to the car”

So we got back in the car and drove a bit closer to the lighthouse and stopped in the No Stopping zone just across the road from it.

The rain had stopped. I made a last-ditch attempt. “Are you sure you don’t want to go?”

“No! I mean, yes, I’m sure!” my little boy said.

I thought of Spider Boy trudging up those hundred steps. He was recovering* from a cold, he was probably still feeling a bit weak, maybe it was too much to expect of him. He is only six.

As we drove away I noticed a patch of blue and light in the sky over the Sydney heads. Maybe next year.


So long, farewell, and better luck next time.

I never thought I’d be the type to be a birdwatcher, but oh, look what I’ve become. I’ve been enjoying magpies outside my window, reminding me of cool country mornings of childhood holidays. A walk across a local golf course saw me surrounded by swallows; diving, swooping, circling me and generally showing off. All I needed was Bambi and I would’ve been Snow frickin’ White (yeah, right, that’s ALL I need to become a Disney Princess). Once across the golf course there was no Bambi, just a flock of nut-cracking cockatoos.


In other exciting mediocre news, I discovered a new line of Cadbury chocolate, “Strawberries and creme”. It feels much healthier and bizarrely, like I’ve eaten less calories, when this chocolate is eaten with actual strawberries. My philosophy must work because I’ve lost 300 grams (of fat, not chocolate) in the last month. Yes, it’s a slow loss. Because that’s how I roll.


*Spider Boy’s cold that I thought he’d recovered from on lighthouse day turned into a middle-ear infection this week. Was it because he has a mother who would have him climb a lighthouse in a downpour? I am also on antibiotics for extended coughing and spluttering.  Blame it on the rain?

How was your week?