Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus in Dublin Bay

Irish Birds (8) 2008: 458-459

Stewart Holohan

Mediterranean Gulls Larus melanocephalus have been monitored in Dublin Bay from Dalkey to Sutton since September 2003. The emphasis of the study has been counting gulls, together with locating and reading colour rings and reporting these to the French-based Mediterranean Gull Research Group.

The birds are monitored year round, with particular attention being paid to when they leave for mainland Europe to nest, usually in early March, and when they return in July. A special search is made for returning Mediterranean Gulls in July and early August, including the possible occurrence of Irish colour-ringed birds among them. The number of birds are increasing, with largest flock of 75 (including nine juveniles) being recorded in 2008. Numbers fall rapidly in August as birds disperse to places unknown, including possibly feeding areas offshore in the Irish Sea. Research is continuing to locate their presently unknown wintering area away from Sandycove, where gulls are hand fed almost daily. There is a roosting area on Dublin Bay, but this does not account for the missing large numbers.
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