For the past two years a handsome Ring-billed Gull that I call Stanley  has visited my campsite for the odd treat. He appeared one day when he saw the crows feeding at my site, and he has been a regular visitor since. He warns other gulls off, and every time I call his name, he fluffs up and shakes.

This past Thursday, my daughter Cathy and I were at camp preparing to go fishing. Stanley had flown in earlier onto my neighbour’s boat cover (sorry, Sean) waiting for his treat. I put a treat out for him and the local crows. As Cathy rowed us away from camp, I saw Stanley, wings out, chasing the crows from the food.

We have to row a narrow channel between lily pads and reeds to reach the bay. As we rowed down the bay, deciding on a good spot to cast our lines, I noticed Stanley flying away from my camp along the path we had taken out of the reeds. As soon as he saw us he turned toward us and started circling our boat. I used my regular greeting to him, “Stanley, is that you?”. He looked right at me and continued circling. He was behind me when Cathy asked “What’s he doing?”. I turned to see Stanley making tight circles just above the water, not far from us, near a submerged stump. Suddenly a large fish jumped out of the water where Stanley was circling.

Excitedly, I grabbed my pole and cast towards the spot. First cast fell short. Cast again… on. The fish took it! After a short battle with a strong fish (so exciting!), we managed to land a Large-mouthed Bass … 18 inches. After picture taking was done, we safely released this beauty to swim another day.

When it was all over, Stanley had gone. I looked at Cathy and said “Do you believe what just happened? Stanley showed us where the fish was! Unbelievable!”. That was the only fish we caught that day. Needless to say, when Stanley returned to camp at supper time, he got a special treat!

Who needs expensive fish finders to locate the fish…..just befriend a gull and then pay attention! LOL!

Barb Evett

Stanley, the Ring-billed Gull - Barb Evett

Stanley, the Ring-billed Gull – Barb Evett

Drew Monkman

I am a retired teacher, naturalist and writer with a love for all aspects of the natural world, especially as they relate to seasonal change.