People often ask me why I am so obsessed with gulls.
This is why.
You can see clearly here how a med gull (as birders like to call them) differs from a black-headed gull.
Firstly, it really does have a black head.
Also the bill is larger and brighter red.
The wings are paler, with no marking at all in a full adult.
This bird is actually a sub-adult, in its second winter, as it has black spots in the wing-tips and a black end to the bill.
Here's a film of a full adult filmed last week on the River Stour.
Shame it's so far away.
When I started birding in the late 1960's med gulls were very rare,
I think it must have been several years before I saw my first one.
Then in the mid-70's we started seeing them more and more, especially in the gull roost in Weymouth Bay.
Some evenings there might be as many as 10 there!
Since then the species has started nesting all over Europe and even in Southern England, with huge numbers wintering along the Channel coast.
It was only a few years ago (10?) that I saw my first flock of 50, at Ferrybridge.
This winter there must have been at least a thousand there on some days.
Here's a short clip of a large flock at Ferrybridge from last year:
Finally here's a youngster filmed at Lodmoor last August.
As it says on the YouTube page, this one is for gull enthusiasts only.
Four and a half minutes of a young gull preening its feathers.