Viola Stirling’s Nature Diary – 27 July 1921

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.