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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

26 June, 2010

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.