Photographer Michael Winsor saw first-hand one effect of plastic pollution while taking pictures of birds at Quidi Vidi Lake on Monday.
Winsor, a seasoned wildlife and landscape photographer, has witnessed his share of Newfoundland’s beauty in his travels throughout the island over recent years. But he hadn’t seen anything like what he saw Monday, when he spotted a seagull flying, dragging a plastic bag with it.
“It was flying up across. [The bag] was almost acting like a parachute as he was flying. In the picture you can see the seagull. and the big, black bag was just kind of pulling behind,” Winsor said.
Winsor said he made his way to the opposite side of the lake to try to free the seagull. Its original predicament was caused by people but as Winsor got closer to the gull, he saw survival of the fittest taking over.
The seagull was visibly struggling with the bag, which was wrapped tightly around its foot, and Winsor wasn’t the only one who had noticed: a juvenile bald eagle soon swooped in, possibly looking for an easy lunch. Winsor gave chase as the pair of birds fought their way to the lower end of the lake.
“When I got down there I got out of the truck at the right time, I guess, and the bald eagle actually had the talons right into the seagull. I figured it was over at that point,” he said.
“But the ironic thing is when [the gull] hit the water, the bag actually filled up with water. It kind of saved him in the long-run, because the bald eagle couldn’t lift the seagull and the bag full of water.”
The birds struggled for a few moments, until the seagull was able to free itself from both its captors, Winsor said. The bag itself remained floating in the lake, an environmental booby trap for another day.
“It’s going to be there for years, so it’s kind of unfortunate,” Winsor said. “This is the type of stuff that happens that we don’t see.”
While he was happy to see the seagull break away for another day, Winsor said he often comes upon trash in the province’s woods and hiking trails.
“It’s unfortunate you always see these little spots where people don’t take their trash,” he said.