Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

Once you establish that the Black Headed Gull would be more suitably called the Chocolate Faced Gull it leaves the question, what is this gull with a really black head that you see on the coast of Dorset, mainly around Poole Harbour and on the Fleet and, in winter, at Radipole?

The Mediterranean Gull inhabits the coasts of Europe, especially the Mediterranean and the Iberian peninsular and on to the southern coasts of Britain. It was very rare here when I started bird watching some thirty years or so ago and when one arrived near us at Titchfield Haven in Hampshire it caused quite a stir and ended up being featured on the front of the Hampshire Bird Report.

The Dorset Bird Report (2007) describes it as a rare breeding species in Poole Harbour and a scarce wintering species, especially around Weymouth.

Last year there were quite a few pairs on the lagoon at Brownsea but yesterday we could only find one bird, let alone a pair.

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