[Tweeters] minimizing harassment of Swallow-tail Gull, while possibly taking a boat to see it

Stewart Wechsler ecostewart at gmail.com
Sun Sep 3 13:01:29 PDT 2017


While I was pleased to hear Trileigh Tucker's concern about possible excess
harassment of the gull, and I don't want to encourage any excess
harassment, I would like to offer my angle on how to get closer to, while
minimizing harassment of, an animal. I also have no experience with
whale-watching boats, so I don't know what they do, but could easily
imagine that, as they are doing this as a business, and as many people are
not sufficiently concerned about the effects of their wildlife watching
pursuit on the animals, some might indeed be excessively harassing those
whales.

Since I was a young butterflier and herpetologist, then birder, I figured
out that I could get closer to butterflies, snakes and lizards, then birds,
then any animal, if, without ever moving directly towards it, I would
slowly and casually zig-zag closer to any animal I tried to get close to.
As I was always on foot, I would also largely avoid looking directly at the
animal. (I described the avoidance of eye contact on my Tweeters post -
subject "Western Screech Owl perhaps" - a day or two ago, as I walked under
a low perched Barred Owl in Lincoln Park, without it leaving the perch.)
If one was on a boat, eye contact and faces directed towards an animal,
would be of minimal concern, but it would seem that a casual speed, with no
direct movements towards the animal, would be appropriate.

There are a lot of boats in the sound, so I don't imagine that one more
boat would be a problem, if it wasn't moving too quickly, or directly,
towards the gull. That said, if it became multiple boats, I could imagine
that having them grouped on one side, rather than surrounding the gull,
would scare the gull less.

I welcome input of others about what might be appropriate, or
inappropriate, considering the interests of the gull.

I might add, that while I have a service called "Stewardship Adventures",
pretty much all of the "adventures" I have led, have been nature walks of
one or two hours in Seattle city parks, mostly for family and school
groups, not out of town trips to see rare animals.

-Stewart
stewardshipadventures.com
206 932-7225 (currently only land)
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