Friday, 25 February 2022

A Dose of Meds

I do bang on about gulls quite a lot, don't I? I can't help it; they have the capacity to surprise and delight like no other group of birds I can think of. The other day I was chatting with Mike, one of the Axe patch birders, and he reminded me of that day two years ago when Mediterranean Gulls invaded the Axe. I had a feeling it was about now, but in fact it was January 29th. From a previous peak Med Gull count of 30-odd, the Axe record jumped to a staggering 123, completely out of the blue. I was fortunate enough to witness it, and of course wrote a blog post to celebrate the occasion. So far this winter on the Axe I've had just the odd Med Gull here and there, but this afternoon there were four. Dazzling sunshine made for low ISO and [relatively] high shutter speeds, so here are all of them...

2nd-winter

2nd-summer, more or less

Adult

1st-winter (on the left-hand end of the line)

Even now, after many thousands over many years, each Med Gull winkled from a flock of BHGs still feels like a precious little nugget. Or, on the rare occasion I've seen them in big numbers, the joy is in the sheer spectacle. Like that time last October when loads flew past me at West Bay, including a sample count of 100 in nine minutes. I wrote a blog about that too.

Not Quite Scilly would be a lot poorer without gulls.

6 comments:

  1. In the 90s, Northumberland had 1 regular returning winter Med Gull at Craster for many years. It was twitched by all and sundry for the year tick. It was much rarer than Glaucous Gull in those days but now we get almost a hundred in some spots, my patch best is a meagre 4 but I have had several on my garden list now. How times change...

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    1. When I first moved to Seaton, picking out the occasional Med Gulls among the Axe BHGs was an enjoyable aspect of winter birding (they were pretty scarce in the part of W London where I lived previously) and thankfully it still is. They are more common where I am now in W Dorset, but I still love 'em. 😊

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  2. Regularly scanning gulls here in North Down to add a med gull to the list. Now breeding at Belfast RSPB reserve, so there's always a chance.

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    1. Got to happen eventually then I'm sure, and it will be so satisfying when it does. Such a smart gull. I still get such a kick out of finding one in a flock of BHGs. 😎

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  3. Great feeling as you say. Was scanning bhg flock last year in Hope Street aka Donaghadee and found a little gull. Still buzzing!!

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