James Hough – A Passion for Australian Wildlife
James Hough was a full time engineer in Surveying and Design but his passion for Australian Wildlife Art has seen him become a professional full time artist. This self-taught artist, thoroughly researches each subject by using all his own resource material from sketches to photography. The final composition may be components of sketches and photographs collected on visits to many of Australia’s National Parks and bushland reserves. All his work is achieved using acrylic, where layers of transparent colour work to build tonal effects
The Silver Gull
It has a white head, tail and underparts, with a light grey back and black-tipped wings. Adult birds have bright orange bill, legs and eye-ring. This colouration and its relatively small size (40-45cm) easily distinguish it from the other two resident gulls in Australia. These are the Pacific Gull, L. pacificus (63 cm), and the Kelp Gull, L. dominicanus (58 cm). Some smaller vagrant species live in Australia, but have distinctly different plumages to the Silver Gull. The most common call is a harsh ‘kwee-aarr’. The Silver Gull is a common sight at virtually any watered habitat throughout Australia and is rarely seen far from land. Birds flock in high numbers around fishing boats as they leave or return to the coast, but seldom venture far out to sea.
The Silver Gull also calls New Zealand and New Caledonia home. As with many other gull species, the Silver Gull has become a successful scavenger. They readily pester humans for handouts of scraps, pilfer from unattended food containers or search for human refuse at tips. Other food includes worms, fish, insects and crustaceans. With increased access to a wide-range of dietary items, the Silver Gull has been able to increase its population in areas of human activity. Available nesting grounds appear to be the only limiting factor to population increases. Breeding may take place at any time, but usually occurs between August and November.
Birds nest in large colonies on offshore islands. Often they raise two broods in a year, and both adults share nest-building, incubation and feeding duties. Usually the birds lay three eggs in a shallow nest scrape, lined with vegetation.