Does this work or is it silly?


Sep 21, 2011
North Scotland
I changed my major misspelling thanks.

Ian handed over his money and they headed for the nearest unoccupied bench. When his sons had been little the pond had been populated by a wide variety of ducks but these days all it contained were a couple of Muscovy ducks, a flotilla of seagulls, and an angry swan and his missus. The cob was over the other side of the pond letting a couple of tourists know how he felt about having his picture taken. They had to be strangers to the park because all the locals knew about the bird’s Amish-like views when it came to photography.

It's the flotilla of seagulls - the ones at our local pond do look like organised military when they are bobbing about after bread but I'm worried it just looks like I don't know it should be flock?

Also how many knew a Cobb was a male swan? (had a couple not know)
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Flotilla sounded fine; I didn't notice it (it didn't feel wrong) and it gave me the overall impression of an organised flock. Didn't know what a cobb was though.
I think flotilla is nice because it sounds like a fine or dainty version of fleet, and that's what terns and seagulls look like to me when they are floating on a lake.

I knew what a cobb was but I'd de-capitalise it. At first it made me think of Lyme Regis and I don't think cobb is a proper noun (is it, though?).

These are the next two paragraphs - does the context come quickly enough? He's based on a swan at our local park who every year produces about twelve cygnets and it is very rare he loses one. However anyone who gets too close without food will get their boots bitten. I'm heading for my dictionary lol I keep putting cob or cobb and spellcheck objects.

He parked the pram next to the bench and rooted round in the changing bag for the wipes to remove the sticky residue that Bob Hayes had left on his hands. Beanie parked himself on the bench and looked out over at the swan. “Why’s he always so angry?”

“He’s protecting his babies. Nasty old bird he might be but every year he sees two broods to adulthood.” In the pram Tyke began to stir. “It’s a daddy’s job to look after his babies.”
It is cob - thanks. I should have gone with my own instincts lol And I need reduce incidents of parked in the park ;)
Not sure if this is too late to chime in, but I do have some things to say about your question.

It's not silly, no. Why did you think it was silly anyway? I've heard of a cobb salad, but had no idea what it meant here. I assumed it was another bird of some sort, but it was capitalized, and I couldn't find it in the dictionaries I looked at. I did feel like it was wanting some commas, but I know those can be a personal thing.

As for flotilla, usually groupings of birds and animals have a special name. I've heard "colony" used specifically for seagulls before. You might double check that. I didn't have a problem with flotilla, but if there's a correct word, it should be used, and flotilla did make my mind wander slightly.

To me, colony doesn't sound right, but you don't want to use flotilla if another word is already used to correctly describe it. But I wouldn't have picked colony as the "correct" term, not that anyone cares what I would have picked - just sayin'.
Bugger it, too late! But yeah, definitely cob (and yep, knew it was a male swan).The Cobb is at Lyme.
Cobb was me allowing my spellcheck to mislead me - it is cob.

It would be flock of seagulls but I felt flotilla described the way they bob around in formation on the local ponds. I wasn't sure if it looked silly because I'd used a word that was descriptive instead of the correct word. I hoped it was deliberate enough to not look illiterate. (Although my misspelling might have done that more effectively lol)
I like 'flotilla' and thought you had used it to describe what they were like, rather than what an actual group of them are called.
I like flotilla, regardless of whether it's the "proper" word. Nice image. "Flock of seagulls" is a band. :D

You've worked out cob, and while I hesitated a moment over it, it came clear in context. I'm sure I've heard the word sometime, as it went "oh, yeah" in a second.

Amish-like, as Boneman says.
Thanks I can keep it :). I like the image.

And I've made it Amish-like. The rest of the chapter makes it clear who the cob is. I want him introduced properly because my MC comes back to talk to him at one point (not really he's just needing to talk to someone who won't tell anyone and he chooses the swan over the priest)
According to three sites I visited, "colony" was listed as correct. But this new site seems to be more scientific and the topic quickly becomes more messy as it says, "Appropriately referencing more than one herring gull depends upon the group's life stage."

Under the heading, Colony: The terms "clutch" and "chicks" appropriately identify groups of other gull species belonging to the genus "Larus." The word "flock" is only used when referencing a group of herring gulls. For all other non-seagull species within "Larus," the term "colony" is the correct way to identify a group. In casual environments, however, the terms are often interchanged without sacrificing the meaning or the speaker's intention.

It also says a seagull is of the genus "Larus" and is a herring gull. Had no idea I opened a can of worms going there! Anyway, looks like "flock" might be the best term to use.

Heh, TheDustyZebra, I too enjoyed the word, flotilla! I do think the proper term should be used though. :)
According to three sites I visited, "colony" was listed as correct.

Heh, TheDustyZebra, I too enjoyed the word, flotilla! I do think the proper term should be used though. :)

To be contrary, why? Surely in fiction we should strive for our unique voice which may ask we deliver alternatives to the proper term? :)
I'm thinking common gulls - if I ask my son he could tell me which ones. (He's called himself Gabriel Chi-Chi man since before he could say bird lol - he was speech delayed and learned to talk by learning the various birds)

Colony is more for the likes of Puffins, Gannets etc that nest on cliffs. (except Puffins burrow into them)
Use flotilla, it gives an absolutely perfect mental image. If you used a 'whatever' of gulls, I'd just presume they were in the air.
I love flotilla, it's not so much about what they are technically called, but more the mental image your trying to achieve and it works for me ;)