It is important to remember that when Viola was writing her diary there was a completely different culture when it came to wildlife. Egg collecting, for example, was a common occurrence and in this entry Viola notes that she ‘took an egg from a sparrow’s nest’.
Although some egg collecting was made illegal in 1880, it wasn’t until the Protection of Birds Act 1954 that made it illegal to take most wild bird eggs.
The rest of Viola’s entry concerns two of our most recognisable gulls: the lesser black-backed gull and the herring gull.
She correctly points out the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is to check the colour of their feet. If they are pink it’s a herring gull and if they are yellow it’s a lesser!
July 27. Riverdale.
About July 15 I took an egg from a sparrow’s nest
and left a few feathers on the grass underneath.
Ten minutes after I came back, and the hen was
busily picking them up and replacing them
in the nest.
Several young Lesser Black Backed Gulls
come to the garden now for food. They
are like Herring Gulls except for their legs
which are yellow not pink. Or one might
say that they were large Black Headed Gulls
without the black hood and pink feet.