Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Luck of the Seagull

The Culprit - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Lunch Frenzy - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Wharf Scene - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

A Gull's Position - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Outside the Fish Market - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Bike Dock - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

Back at the Dock - Lynda Lehmann c 2010

We visited Portland the other day, since I had to deliver some new photos to a gallery there. Afterwards, we had a lovely lunch at DiMillo's floating restaurant, housed on a
huge ship that was originally a car ferry running between New Castel, Delaware and Pennsville, New Jersey. We
gazed at the boats in the harbor while enjoying delicious lobster club-sandwiches.

Afterwards, we decided to explore the wharf area adjacent to Congress Street. We turned a corner just a few blocks past the restaurant and came into a narrow thoroughfare that bordered the fish market area. We were fascinated by the trappings of an industry that has lasted since America began and brave new towns sprang up all over the Northeast. Old docks and walkways, colorful old buildings that bear the markings of age and exposure to coastal Maine weather: crusty and salty with worn, rusted, scarred and tattered surfaces in a variety of old materials. It was an interesting scene, and I was excited to be surrounded by vintage architecture and time-etched surfaces.

It was mid-afternoon on the first steamy day of a May hot spell, and a couple of lobster boats were just coming in with their catch. All around, the seagulls were in an uproar. Their excited cries nearly drowned out the steady, deep hum of the diesel engines. I've never seen so many swarming, screeching, flapping, swooping, fluttering, and diving creatures anywhere. The mayhem was not without a dimension of aggressive behavior, as they competed for morsels of available fish.

I was raptly photographing those graceful white birds, whose wings by the hundreds, fanned the warm, salty air. I stood at what I thought was safe distance. After shooting about 30 images, I had cocked my head to look through my camera at a new angle. Suddenly a shadow passed over my head. I heard the approach of fluttering wings and felt a rush of wind, then the sensation of cool liquid oozing into my left ear. He had let one go! And by that I don't mean a clam shell or a morsel of lobster meat. He had POOPED on me! Not ON but directly IN to my left ear!

Had it hit the outside of my ear, the fleshy part called the "pinna," I could have dealt with it better. But the idea of that oozy detritus sliding towards my ear canal, did NOT make my day.

On the way back to the car, I joked with a couple of people we met along the dock about my surprise gift from a seagull. Apparently they were fishermen, because they showed no great surprise at the event and even chuckled at my consternation. Two of them went so far as to say "When a seagull _ _ _ _ s in your ear, it's means good luck!"

"Yeah, sure," I muttered under my breath. "Maybe with an albatross...."

I was immensely grateful for the hand wipes we had in the car, and I cleaned my ear the best I could. So far I've suffered no ill effects.
I'm sure I'll survive, but I could have done without that added sensory dimension to my harbor experience.

The regal bird you see in the top photo may have been the culprit. One moment I was fixated on his dignified stance on the wood piling, and the next thing I knew, he'd given me more than a photo op. I'm grateful that it happened after lunch!

NOTE: For my last couple of posts, it seems as if unwanted code has been insinuating itself into my text. Has anyone else been having that problem with Blogger this week or last?

All images and text c Lynda Lehmann. If you would like to view more of my art or make a purchase, please visit Lynda Lehmann Painting and Photography, where my other sites are listed, as well.

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