During our visit to Cornwall we rented a cottage in the fishing village of Mousehole, a few miles west of Penzance.
Outside the peak hoilday season Mousehole can be a fairly peaceful place. It doesn't get much through traffic so it's an ideal spot to get away from it all. However, the village is also home to a raucous colony of Herring Gulls, which nest on the roofs and chimney pots.
At midsummer, the gulls seem to be active 24 hours a day. They squawk, mew, yelp, shriek, yap, whine, screech and bicker incessantly... and then there's the "crowing" (which sounds a bit like Basil Brush laughing, only without the "boom-boom" at the end). Crowing presumably serves some sort of territorial purpose. Once one bird starts, they all join in. They don't seem to care whether it's day or night. Several times we were woken by a chorus of crowing at three o'clock in the morning.
Worst still there are several pairs of great Black-backed Gulls dotted around the roof-tops. Bigger than the Herring Gulls and armed with a vicious looking bill, they make a noise like a Rottweiler choking on its own vomit. They're belligerent buggers and spend much of their time chasing rivals off their "patch".
When we were in Stromness last June, we noticed plenty of gulls around the town but they were strangely quiet. One day we discovered why. We watched as a Herring Gull began its crowing display. It was promptly attacked by Great Skua, a bird which even Great Black-backed Gulls are scared of!