Date: 9/3/17 1:03 pm From: Stewart Wechsler <ecostewart...> Subject: [Tweeters] minimizing harassment of Swallow-tail Gull, while possibly taking a boat to see it
While I was pleased to hear Trileigh Tucker's concern about possible excess harassment of the gull, and I don't want to encourage any excess harassment, I would like to offer my angle on how to get closer to, while minimizing harassment of, an animal. I also have no experience with whale-watching boats, so I don't know what they do, but could easily imagine that, as they are doing this as a business, and as many people are not sufficiently concerned about the effects of their wildlife watching pursuit on the animals, some might indeed be excessively harassing those whales.
Since I was a young butterflier and herpetologist, then birder, I figured out that I could get closer to butterflies, snakes and lizards, then birds, then any animal, if, without ever moving directly towards it, I would slowly and casually zig-zag closer to any animal I tried to get close to. As I was always on foot, I would also largely avoid looking directly at the animal. (I described the avoidance of eye contact on my Tweeters post - subject "Western Screech Owl perhaps" - a day or two ago, as I walked under a low perched Barred Owl in Lincoln Park, without it leaving the perch.) If one was on a boat, eye contact and faces directed towards an animal, would be of minimal concern, but it would seem that a casual speed, with no direct movements towards the animal, would be appropriate.
There are a lot of boats in the sound, so I don't imagine that one more boat would be a problem, if it wasn't moving too quickly, or directly, towards the gull. That said, if it became multiple boats, I could imagine that having them grouped on one side, rather than surrounding the gull, would scare the gull less.
I welcome input of others about what might be appropriate, or inappropriate, considering the interests of the gull.
I might add, that while I have a service called "Stewardship Adventures", pretty much all of the "adventures" I have led, have been nature walks of one or two hours in Seattle city parks, mostly for family and school groups, not out of town trips to see rare animals.
-Stewart stewardshipadventures.com 206 932-7225 (currently only land)