Not many gulls are as famous as Steven. Said to be Estonia’s most photographed seagull, he lives in Tallinn and is often seen on the viewing platform overlooking the Lower Town. He has featured in hundreds of tourist photos and became so famous that in 2016 he got his own Instagram account.
OK, this started as an April Fool’s prank / PR stunt from the city’s tourist board, but if they were seeking publicity for their city (which frankly is too beautiful to need any extra help from a gull!), it worked. Steven, who is a European Herring Gull, became an instant star.
I have to be honest. I have no way of knowing if my photo above, which was taken in 2014, is of the real Steven or an imposter. But it was taken on the Kohtuotsa viewing platform, his favourite hangout, so I believe it could be him.
Birds beginning with …
Steven may be a star, and could have served as the perfect introduction to a post about this lovely town. Maybe one day he will. But today he is here to welcome you to my selection of ‘birds beginning with G’ for this week’s Bird Weekly challenge on that theme.
Let me take you on a short tour around the world, starting very close to home in west London.
An Egyptian Goose drinking from the stream in Bushey Park, west London
A Black-headed Gull in winter plumage at a lake near Druridge Bay in Northumberland
A young Herring Gull wading in the shallows at Seahouses in Northumberland
A six foot tall Goliath Heron perched in a mangrove tree at Mandina Lodge, Gambia
A Great Kingfisher posing on the deck at Mandina Lodge in the Makasutu Forest, the Gambia
A pair of Upland Geese by Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park – he is smart in brown and white, she is quietly elegant in shades of brown
A pair of loved-up Swallow-tailed Gulls nesting on lava rocks on Genovesa in the Galápagos Islands
A flock of Guinea Fowl in Chobe National Park, Botswana
A Cape Glossy Starling (or possibly a Greater Blue-eared Glossy Starling?) in Chobe National Park
A Grey Go-away Bird, so-called because of his call, in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
And back close to home – a Grey Owl at a bird of prey centre in Bedfordshire, England
I was in Tallinn in 2014 (and 2015); the Gambia in 2014; Chile in 2016; the Galápagos in 2012; and Botswana in 2018