This past week has brought early mornings - very early. As a result I have found myself walking through a deserted world of impassive shop fronts below icy mists. The buildings in which these facades are set have had a chance to breathe, exercising the flourishes and crevices of yesteryear - Victorian temperance has rolled its eyes above the modern wine bar, whose hyperactive font now sits over the entrance like a gaudy plastic tiara.
In this world the main inhabitants are seagulls. Free to roam and strut as they wish, their behaviour and variety of expression has lead me to stop and sketch (I am naturally early, so I have time to stop pre coffee and draw). Slowly they have taken life - the elongated neck of the gull cry, calling out to others in hope or gloating; the hunched following gait of the spiv on the make as they seek for the deal that will make them rich - rich I tell you! Though it may not be entirely legit. Then the searching look of the scavenger who glances up to make sure you're not after the treasures they've found, followd by the patience of the innocent who just happens to be following your food - but it's mere coincidence I can assure you.
The same form stretches and contorts in myriad ways - eyes narrow and widen, the neck protrudes swan like before disappearing like a mastiff. Wings raise in preparation for flight, flexing each feather to feel the buoyancy of air, then shrug and contract as the nearest souce of food, discarded on the ground, is spotted. One moment sneaky and a little menacing, the next keeping feet warm with a waddles river dance; the confident lone wolf, then huddled like pub goers who can tell you how it used to be better when.
Once seagulls stayed mainly on the shore, now - like foxes, they make their ways into our urban centres where, by foraging and scavenging, they can find more waste and food that is readliy available. This urban migration mirrors our own in more ways than we think - after all they're just out for an easier life, and in searching and finding it they find their behaviour changes, they adapt to survive. Now they have become streetwise, suspicious and quick to see the profit in a situation. I guess it shouldn't surprise me what I see in how they behave, after all, it's just what I see in the humans that wake a little later.