Thursday, 3 April 2014

More Mediterranean Gulls on the Patch - April 2014

Mediterranean Gulls are a familiar sight for me these days on the patch. They were once a rare winter visitor in Hampshire, with birders travelling to the same traditional site just to get them on their year list. As time moved on they became more regular and now it is a species that breeds in Hampshire in reasonable numbers. This week there have been good numbers feeding in the horse grazed fields, and with the lighter evenings, I have had time to go and watch them after work.

Med Gulls have a very distinctive mewing call that will often make you aware of their presence, although this time of year the jet black hood and white wings make them stand out from a crowd. This week there has been a flock of about 100 gulls feeding on the local pasture, with a peak of 40 of them being Med Gulls. All of the birds present have been adults, identified by their pure white wing tips with the only black being the leading edge of the outer primary. They were mostly were paired up and were very vocal calling to each other constantly.

Two adult Mediterranean Gulls
Two adult Mediterranean Gulls - note the thin black line on the leading
edge of outer primary on the first bird
Three adult Mediterranean Gulls - all birds in full adult summer plumage
Adult Mediterranean Gull (right) with adult Black-headed Gull (left) -
note the white leading edge to the primaries on the Black-head and the dark
underside to the primaries. A stark contrast to the adult Med Gull
Adult Mediterranean Gull, with full black hood, white wings and red legs and bill
Adult Mediterranean Gull (left) and adult Black-headed Gull (Right) - note
the full black hood of the Med Gull but the incomplete brown hood of the Black-
head, that does not extend down the back of the head and the neck.

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