24th February 2018 Daniel Roca

Not so Common

A quick visit to a beach near Barcelona yesterday produced a nice mixed flock of gulls resting on the sand. Dog-walkers are becoming an issue in these densely populated areas, as gulls are constantly bothered and end up roosting on the water.
Today, though, the beach was quiet enough, and gulls took advantage of it, settling on the sand for a while. This provided the perfect conditions for gull-watching.  Five species of gull plus one of tern were there. The most common species was, by far, Mediterranean, with many individuals showing already a beautiful summer plumage.

Black-headed and Yellow-legged were numerous too, as well as Sandwich terns. Some Audouin’s gulls were standing a few meters away, always a pleasure to watch these birds!

Then came a nice surprise, as a first-winter Common gull was hiding among the Mediterranean. This species is, in fact, quite uncommon in Catalonia, with just a few birds wintering regularly every year.

The bird was not there for a long time, and when it took off, it went straight offshore.

A look from the breakwater produced some Gannets and Shearwaters. No Skuas today, and the wintering turnstones were probably on the other side, out of sight. A Craig martin flew over the water, along the shore, again and again, and a poor-looking Chiff-chaff plus some Black Redstarts, Pied Wagtails and Meadow Pipits were also hunting for the few insects they could find. Winter is still kicking, but soon the first migrants will start to appear anyway. Spring is just around the corner.