Gulls - the Gulls of
Europe, Asia & North America
Narrated by Bill Oddie. Filmed by Paul Doherty
53 Species/forms on a double video set running for a total of 5 hours and 33 minutes.
£27.95p. Bird Images Video Guides. 28 Carousel Walk, Sherburn in Elmet, N Yorks LS25 6LP, UK.
This double video provides detailed coverage of all the gulls of the Northern Hemisphere.
Supplied by the publisher
Have you ever been in the presence of brilliance and been left cold? I sat watching the gulls video in absolute awe… it was like being at the Tate Gallery or in front of Rembrandt’s self-portrait, or in the Albert Hall with Berlioz playing. I know that Rembrandt was a genius, but that picture just looks like a poor photograph of a middle-aged fat bloke to me. I am equally sure that Berlioz’s music is gifted and great, but the trouble is it goes over my head, all I hear is dissonance. I am afraid I was left the same way by this video. I know that if I played it over and over again I would still have trouble telling a lesser black-backed gull from a herring gull – worse, I am now left with no confidence that my past ID of yellow-legged gulls can stand.
Whilst I was watching it with the familiar tones of Bill Oddie telling me about white mirrors on primary ten and broad trailing edges I nodded internally and resolved to commit it all to memory. But then he kept saying things like – the “obviously, more upright stance” or “the outstanding white head” or “the startling wing pattern” and I began to lose that resolve. Well, truth to tell I began to lose consciousness. I don’t mean he was boring or that the video wasn’t brilliant at pointing out every ID feature you could want and more… its just, well, I know that the next time I sit on the cliff looking at passing bonxies and close up fulmars the gulls will still merge into a black, white, grey (and possible off brown) blobs that have the species status of my youth – er… um… sea-gulls.
The video transported me back to Australia’s shores – its all so much easier there – “what’s that passing bird?” – “Silver Gull” – “How do you know” – “Cos that’s all we get!” It’s all so much easier.
Look chaps, this video is pure genius, it is brilliantly produced with wonderful photography and freeze-frame shots to clinch ID. It has everything anyone even remotely interested in gulls could want. If you have even that passing interest I urge you to buy it – I urge you to use it to help you separate the argentatus from argenteus – because the differences are as subtle as the spelling and this video is all about turning those subtleties into obvious field character. I urge you to get so good at the ID you can show me which one is the rare one so I can tick it – because my brain is about as capable of doing that as it is at being able to understand differential calculus or understand the music of Berlioz. I have as much capability of cracking gull ID as I do of playing the saxaphone – I so admire anyone who can do it it hurts – but it, just like gull ID, is another country to my mind.
Created: 7th Oct 2001