“Well, won’t the fishermen be surprised when they catch a lobster wearing a sweater!”

My name is Hillary Dionne and I am a nature photographer. I also do a bit of photographic work for a great friend of mine; a woman well known in knitting circles far and wide … the colourful Lucy Neatby.  She dreams up a pattern, knits it and then brings it to me to photograph in a natural setting. I occasionally photograph the yarns that Lucy knits with as well. I live on Big Tancook Island, so quite often the backdrop for Lucy’s gorgeous knits is a rugged, wind-swept beach.

Yarn Stealing Seagulls Over Tancook Island, Nova ScotiaNow, keeping in mind the wind-swept beach setting, I would like to share with you a story. It is a true story about a misadventure I had one day while taking photos of one of the more luxurious yarns that Lucy sometimes uses. This particular yarn is 50% Merino wool and 50% silk. It is called “Omo” and is delicious to both the hand and eye. And therein lay the problem that day.

It was a blustery but sunny day in April, 2011. The tide was low and Tancook’s Southeast Cove was an expanse of grey sand flats and amber seaweed mounds. It was the perfect stage for a photo shoot with some beautiful yarns. I took several skeins of Omo out of my satchel and artistically arranged them on the sand. Suddenly I had a captive audience and I found myself in the centre of a ring of gulls, all eyeballing the Omo with intense curiosity. I was intrigued by their fascination and couldn’t help but smile to myself as I wondered what they thought the Omo was with its blended colours and lustrous, silky sheen.

Anyhow, as I mentioned earlier, the sun was out but the day was quite windy and this is where everything started to go downhill … rapidly!

Yarn Stealing Seagulls on Tancook Island Beach, Nova Scotia

Given the shape of the skeins of Omo and the relatively level surface of the sand flats, a gust of wind blew one of the little yarn cylinders away from the spot I’d chosen to photograph it. As the wind blew, the skein rolled further away from me and closer to the perimeter of gulls. In a panic, I sprinted after the yarn but one of the more alert gulls decided that now was a perfect time to get a closer look at the delicious offering being delivered by the wind.

With my camera still around my neck I thought I’d get a few shots of the gull investigating the Omo. I knew the bird wouldn’t eat it, as it wouldn’t smell or taste of food. I was right. It simply picked the yarn up a couple of times and then dropped it. No Worries.

Put That Yarn Darn!

However, we all know the nature of these opportunistic and cheeky scavengers, and whether something is edible or not they are too greedy to share with their friends. Just as the first gull lost interest in the yarn, about 30 other gulls started closing in, causing the first gull to resume interest. The gull once again snatched the skein up in his beak and started to fly away … with the other 30 gulls in hot pursuit!

They were flying toward the beach, where I figured the yarn would once again be dropped and forgotten about, so I took a few more phFlock of Seagulls... No, Not the Bandotos of the airborne Omo.

Indeed, the yarn was dropped and again I sprinted toward it, hoping to retrieve it and put it back in my bag.

As I neared the skein, the crazy gulls swooped down once more, grabbed the yarn, and this time headed out toward the open cove. I was hopeless and helpless now to do anything, so I stood and watched (and, yes, took photos) of the Omo flying away. There was a bit of a struggle amongst the gulls mid-cove and the yarn was finally dropped into the sea, where it promptly sank to the bottom.

We had a friend over for supper that night and I told him all about my misadventure. His comment was “Well, won’t the fishermen be surprised when they catch a lobster wearing a sweater!”

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