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

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Sun Sep 3 13:28:45 PDT 2017

I might add, too, that those who have hunted or even fished for actively feeding fish like stream trout learn quickly (if they are to be successful) how to read the comfort of the animal. When you have to get close to something without disturbing it you learn how to do it, even if you know the quarry sees you. Plus, comfort range varies with the individual. When we were looking at Snowy Owls, there were some that flushed when you were 100m away. Others, no problem at 10m. Part of the fun of observing wildlife is learning how to be close without disturbing it.

Hal Michael
Science Outreach Director, Sustainable Fisheries Foundation
Olympia WA
360-791-7702 (C)
ucd880 at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----

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.

206 932-7225 (currently only land)

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