A rare breeding species in Poole Harbour and a scarce wintering species, especially around Weymouth.
Once you establish that the black-headed gull would be more appropriately 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, in winter, at Radipole?" This is the Mediterranean gull and it generally inhabits the coasts of Europe, especially the around Mediterranean and the Iberian peninsular and, in recent times, the southern coast of Britain. It was once only rarely seen here. I started bird watching back in the 1970's 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 a book about the Birds of Hampshire. The Dorset Bird Report (2007) describes it as a rare breeding species in Poole Harbour and a scarce wintering species, especially around Weymouth. This group I photographed were nesting on the lagoon on Brownsea Island.
Like the black-head gull it loses that black head plumage in winter and it becomes a bit more difficult to tell the two species apart. The 'Med' does not have the same vivid red bill and legs of the black-headed gull.
This species has been seen at the following sites featured on the Nature of Dorset:
This map shows the nature reserves and 'hot-spots' featured on the Nature of Dorset where this species has been seen. Obviously it will occur in other places too but this is intended to give you a graphical guide as to the species distribution in Dorset. Click any marker to see the name of the site; you can then click again to see more information about that site.
This website has been created by, and is the copyright of, Peter Orchard, Wareham, Dorset. The website is run as a hobby and the information is made available free of charge to anyone who finds it useful. No responsibility is accepted for any errors or omissions in the data and information supplied. Copyright of all photographs on this website (unless otherwise stated) remains with the publisher or the contributor and they should not be used by others for any purpose without permission.
Please note that the data on this website is not the result of scientific research, it is a collection of random observations made by a very amateur enthusiast. The species database covers everything from mammals to fungi and no one can be an expert in all of these taxa and much of the identification is restricted by the quality of reference material available. One person cannot possibly produce the definitive guide to the nature of Dorset and so species lists will be incomplete and there will be reserves not covered but as time goes by so the database will grow and (depending on health and the weather) the content will become more comprehensive as time passes.
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