Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Winter visitor in small to moderate numbers. Bred in Worcestershire in 2001 & 2002 (with failed attempts in 2002 & 2003).
Great Black-backed Gull is a regular winter visitor to the region but in much smaller numbers than Lesser Black-backed Gull and Herring Gull. Nevertheless, some substantial concentrations for inland counties have been encountered at the large Staffordshire and Warwickshire roosts and landfill sites, especially Chasewater and the Cannock Landfill. The monthly profile of numbers mirrors that for Herring Gull, with few before November, peak numbers during December and January and a fairly rapid exodus during February. It is likely that a significant proportion of individuals is of Scandinavian origin.
Harrison et al. (1982) estimated that the wintering population during the 1970s was of the order of 400 while Harrison & Harrison (2005) reported that it reached 1400 by 1990/1 and had remained fairly stable since. The five-yearly means of maximum counts at the principal roost sites, between 1986 and 2005, are presented in Table 1. As the BTO's Wintering Gulls Survey in January 1993 revealed 550 at Draycote it seems likely that, as with a number of other species at Draycote, more general counts tend to underestimate the actual numbers roosting. In the Warwickshire Tame Valley numbers have declined substantially during the past twenty years, no doubt a result of changing procedures at local landfill sites.
|5-year Mean||Draycote||Tame Valley||Westwood||Belvide||Blithfield||Chasewater||Bartley|
|1986 - 1990||103||140||10||40||256||388|
|1991 - 1995||170||94||45||57||281||372|
|1996 - 2000||166||79||23||27||444|
|2000 - 2005||275||61||18||36||163||479||15|
|2006 - 2010||334||44||12||21||inadequate data||302||11|
Table 1. 5-yearly mean maximum counts of Great Black-backed Gull at principal roost sites, 1986 - 2010.
In Worcestershire, the species is relatively scarce, so it is particularly remarkable that a pair bred at Bredon's Hardwick during 2001, raising one young, and in 2002 raising two young. This is one of very few records of inland breeding by Great Black-backed Gull, perhaps the only record from a truly 'land-locked' county (see West Midland Bird Report 68: 108). Unfortunately, breeding attempts in 2003 and 2004 failed and no nesting was attempted in 2005.
| Laughing |
Ring-billed | Common |
Lesser Black-backed |