We’re out on a trip to Portland when we stop at Ferrybridge in Dorset. We’re there to see the Little Tern colony, but as soon as we walk onto the beach I spot a bird I instantly recognise, despite never having seen one before. It’s a Mediterranean Gull:
It’s a gull which is truly black-headed, which the Black-Headed Gull clearly isn’t. Fabulous, aren’t they?
We can see the Little Terns far across the water, where their small colony breeds. One wanders our way and we get amazingly close views of it:
Little Terns are one of the UK’s rarest breeding seabirds, with just 1,900 pairs. They’re a Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 species, so it’s illegal recklessly or intentionally to disturb their nesting sites. People still seem to drive motorbikes through their tiny, precious colonies, though. And don’t get me started on irresponsible dog owners.
Here are three flight shots in a composite to show you how elegant they are.
What a fabulous experience.