SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know if I've actually read, or heard this anywhere, but I have an observation that I make from time to time that I find is very accurate in predicting gales.

When the weather is reasonably calm, or somewhat windy (doesn't have to be dead calm like "the calm before the storm") if you see a large number of seagulls milling about inland in open, flat areas, you're in for a pounding.

I learned this trick in a rural school in Australia that I attended which was near some waterways. The school has big grassy sports fields and I was usually looking out the window. Periodically, I'd see lots of seagulls milling about on the cricket pitch (open grassy field) looking bored.

Being from the PNW, I know that these white/grey flying rats are usually out and about looking for food. Milling about out in the open, where they can't find food and appear vulnerable seemed like odd seagull behavior to me. I started to notice that a few hours after observing these behavious there would be a huge windstorm.

2 days ago, the wind was predicted to be 15-25, but I thought it would be higher. I even put on my BFS T-shirt hoping for some photos of a BFS and sure enough, an unforecast gale appeared.

See the story and photos here: MedSailor's BFS

Today, while at home, we're getting pounded again by another wind storm and this morning the seagulls were inland again milling about the school yard.

Anyone else know of this trick?

MedSailor
 

·
Closet Powerboater
Joined
·
3,925 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
But if I am 3 miles offshore how am I going to see the seagulls?
Usually you won't see seagulls 3 miles offshore, so you'll need better gale prediction techniques out there.

HOWEVER, if you DO see a bunch of seagulls trying to land on your boat 3 miles offshore, it likely means that there was a huge earthquake and your former cruising grounds have sunk into the sea. So, what it really means is that you're now 30 miles offshore.

;)

MedSailor
 

·
Member
Joined
·
2,448 Posts
I would imagine in the past sailors were very attuned to sights, smells and wave patterns that would give them clues. That would include animals.

It makes you wonder how much was accurate and how much was "old sailors tales"...
 

·
Registered
Corsair 24
Joined
·
4,594 Posts
motissier was very big on wave patterns, and sea life, especially birds...

he also had the famous dolphin pointing him away from the rocks scenario...

a lot of stuff can be learned...but lost these days...

thanks for the tip
 

·
SV Skalliwag #141
Joined
·
744 Posts
I knew there was a nautical saying regarding this:

Seagull, seagull, sit on the sand,
It's a sign of rain when you are at hand

In general, birds roost more during a period of low pressure. Before a hurricane, flocks of birds will be seen roosting. Take off may be harder when the pressure is low or the air is thinner because the natural updrafts are lessened.
 

·
A perfect day!
Joined
·
116 Posts
Usually you won't see seagulls 3 miles offshore, so you'll need better gale predictor..
MedSailor
Years ago, when I was teaching, my classroom was on the second floor, overlooking the athletic fields... I remember on many gray days I would see flocks of gulls roosting on the grounds and figured it had something to do with approaching weather...but never heard any explanation for this behavior...now I know! Btw..the school was approximately 3 miles or so from the south shore of Long Island... Cool! Guess it just depends where the fields are!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,323 Posts
I would imagine in the past sailors were very attuned to sights, smells and wave patterns that would give them clues. That would include animals.

It makes you wonder how much was accurate and how much was "old sailors tales"...
At sea I get a feeling, but its probably the unconscious acvumulation of facts: waves change height and direction, breeze less consistent or less lulls, or more gusts, increasing high cloud, etc

A lot of the old sailor tales and rhymes were indeed correct! But only for the places they were made up! Red sky at night: yes in the UK means weather system has passed, but on the east coast of the USA could mean system coming.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top