Cruisin’ around the Bay

I have been commuting back and forth from the ship in dry dock to my nest at Pier 45 on Fisherman’s Wharf. This time of the year there are  many gulls around because the California Gull frequently migrates to San Francisco Bay during the winter.

An immature gull, left, is brown, whereas the adult develops the classic white plummage

From April until August many of my relatives fly east to the nesting site at Mono Lake.  They return to San Francisco Bay to spend the winter because the weather is very cold at the lake.  Mono lake is the second largest gull rookery in the United States.  The largest is the Great Salt Lake far across the mountains and the big desert.  Some day I hope to visit the big salt lake and see if I can find any of my relatives.  It is a long flight and I’m not sure how I will find food along the way.  The great thing about Mono Lake is that it is filled with brine shrimp and everyone loves to eat brine shrimp.

At one time the gulls that went to Mono Lake were threatened by the wily coyotes because the water level in the lake was too low and the nasty beasts were able to get across a land bridge to the island in the middle of the lake.  They attacked the nesting gulls and made a mess of everything.  All of my relatives were either born at Mono Lake or in a new rookery near South San Francisco Bay.  They even had their own organization called “Concerned Coyotes for Lower Lake Levels” and they lobbied for increased water withdrawls by the City of Los Angeles.

Anyway, enough about my relatives.  One of my favorite spots to stop during my commute to the dry dock is next to the little red boat that never seems to leave the dock.  The only time I see it out on the Bay is when we are cruising around and it comes over and tries to squirt us with a stream of water.  Maybe they think we aren’t wet enough?

San Francisco Fireboat No. 2

One other thing has come up which is distressing to me. Some goofball play writer named Anton Chekhov has written a play called “The Seagull”.  He wrote it a long time ago and from what I can see from glancing at the book left open on the hatch cover it has nothing to do with birds.  One of the actresses says . . . ” I am a seagull”, but she never explains what she means.  This is troubling for two obvious reasons:  the actress is certainly NOT a seagull, and there is no such thing as a ‘seagull’.  If she had said “I am a Herring Gull” I could understand it, even though she obviously is not a Herring Gull.  The whole thing is too confusing to me.

Editor’s Note:  Mono Lake, in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, is a historic gull rookery only second in size to the Great Salt Lake.t  Many other birds, like the tern,  also nest at the lake, but the California Gull is the most prevalent. 

The San Francisco Fire Department has a fireboat station just west of the Bay Bridge.  These boats frequently cruise around the Bay during Fleet Week and salute the ships coming into the Bay.  You can see the fireboat next to the SS Jeremiah O’Brien in the picture at the top of the page. 


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