This year, more than any I've experienced here before, the sound of Mediterranean Gulls flying above the coast and towns of the Solent has been remarkable in its normality.  Quite an extraordinary turn of events for a species that a century ago was largely confined to the marshes surrounding the Black Sea during the breeding season.  Just within the boundaries of the Chichester and Langstone harbour special protection area, a minimum of 1737 breeding pairs were recorded during 2018 and they fledged at least 623 young.

As they're now a regular part of our coast here, I thought we'd take a closer look at their year.

Starting in February/March, a pre-breeding season roost usually establishes itself at the West Hayling local nature reserve, an interesting choice as it's rare that any actually breed there.  Nevertheless, groups of several hundred gather, especially on the shingle islands in the lagoon, to act out courtship rituals and select mates before leaving for nesting sites elsewhere (sometimes much further afield).  This acts a great place to observe them and also re-sight ringed individuals for the European Colour Ringing Scheme (details here)