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The Irish Winter GullFest of 2013/2014

April 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

It was a winter to remember in terms variety and quantity of stellar "Northern" Gulls. Multiple numbers of Ivory and Ross's Gulls made the headlines, while the amount of Glaucous and Iceland Gulls, and in particular the 'Kumlien's' race of Iceland Gull, were mind-boggling and breaking records. Another few stray waifs such as Ireland's first Slaty-backed Gull (a gull of the Pacific), a young Laughing Gull (of North America), Thayer's Gulls (also of Northern latitudes) and a Caspian Gull (of a more Eastern flavour) added to the impressive list of Larid species. The 'Northern' Gull influx was most certainly attributed to the 3 winter months of persistent Atlantic storms.  The storms were originating from the high Arctic due to the lower-than-normal jet stream, and were being funnelled down through Baffin Bay, which lies between Greenland and Canada.  This provided the conditions for a few 'perfect storms', resulting in records being set for wind, rain and waves in Ireland.  Our coastline was being relentlessly pummelled as a result, making for a winter of hardship for many, particularly those on the islands off our west and south-west coasts. Other species of note making landfall were the North American species American Herring Gull, Ring-billed Gull and Bonaparte's Gull. Despite the battering and resulting destruction, birdwatchers were revelling in what had become Irish Winter Gullfest 2013/2014.

Ivory Gull (1st winter/2cy; Tacumshin, Co. Wexford. 18th January 2014)

Ross's Gull (adult winter; Poolbeg, Dublin Bay. 23rd February 2014)

 Laughing Gull (1st winter/2cy; Ballycotton Pier, Cork. 7th February 2014)

Kumlien's Gull (1st winter/2cy; Ferrypoint, Co. Wexford. 18th January 2014)

Kumlien's Gull (1st winter/2cy; Ballycotton Pier, Co. Cork. 7th February 2014)

Iceland Gull (1st winter/2cy; Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, Co. Dublin. 17th March 2014)

Glaucous Gull (2nd winter/3cy; Ballycotton Pier, Co. Cork. 7th February 2014)

Yellow-legged Gull (adult; Inner Cork Harbour. 9th February 2014)


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