After my comment in the last post concerning the distribution of Common Gulls around the Swansea area, I decided to do a bit of research to discover if indeed this cold weather has been pushing these birds further afield. To my surprise I discovered that the winter range of the Common Gull is far more extensive than I would ever have imagined. By looking at the BTO winter survey carried out between 1981 and 1984, it can be seen that there were upwards of potentially 1,500 individuals overwintering on Gower alone. Contrast this to the breeding survey where their range is much more restricted being primarily located north of the border in Scotland. The west coast of Scotland was previously the only place that I had seen Common Gulls, unsurprisingly during the breeding season. I think the fact that I have seen them over the last couple of days in this area is due to my being out and about more this winter than last and with a greater knowledge of Gulls than to any shift in behavior as a result of the weather. It has been interesting nonetheless to be learn a bit more about another of the winter visitors to these shores.
The above maps were constructed from data collected as part of the BTO Bird Atlas project. The BTO are currently constructing the next Bird Atlas and any help is very much appreciated. For more information head to the Bird Atlas homepage.