Meds, michs and questions

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2015

Another week of December gull roosting at Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire produced seven species of Laridae.

The Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus continue to appear with a minimum of six noted between the 12th and 18th. Unfortunately, as the picture above illustrates, not all the birds are ringed, but individuals can be identified on plumage characteristics.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2015

The adult bird above was present on the evening of the 15th – present for one night only, while the bird below first appeared on the 16th, and also dropped in on the 18th.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2015

This 2nd winter below also appeared for the first time on the 18th, after two other birds of this age had been present over the period 13th-15th.

Mediterranean Gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus Tophill Low NR, East Yorkshire December 2015

A 1st winter on the 13th may have been one of the birds present on the 10th or – a completely new individual. However, over the six day period, six different individuals were found in the roost.

This raises questions – where do they go, and perhaps more interestingly, with the changeover of Mediterranean Gull I. melanocephalus over the period, how many birds of the more commoner species – Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus and Common Gull Larus canus – move through unnoticed despite the roost remaining at a relatively similar number each evening?

Away from the smaller gulls, a least three more Yellow-legged Gull L. michahellis appeared on the reservoir during the week – once again all first year types.

As ever, for more of the latest news from Tophill Low NR, check out the official blog.

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