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Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus) | by Elliot Montieth
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Little Gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus)

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The Little is if haven't already guessed the world's smallest gull. Little Gulls have a breeding range extending from colonies in the west of Russia all the way east to Kazakhstan and far eastern Russia with a hand full of small colonies situated around the Great Lakes of America and in 2016 breeding was confirmed for the first time in the UK with a single pair at RSPB Loch of Strathbeg in Scotland where 2 young were successfully raised.

 

In the UK Little Gulls are primarily a passage bird with at some sites such as Hilbre Island based in Cheshire, flocks of several hundred can be observed passing off shore in Liverpool Bay. Due to this Little Gulls are rarely photographable accept when a bird has turned up at a inland site during migration or individuals are blown close to shore during a storm.

 

This 1st summer bird recently turned up amongst the Black-headed Gull colony at RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands in Cheshire. It's an annual species to the county but gulls being gulls when they do turn up inland they don't stay for long. Thankfully I was able to connect with fella whilst it stuck around for it's second day at the reserve and by far my closest and best experience of this species yet.

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Taken on March 19, 2017