Franklin's Gull

Franklin's Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan (Wagler, 1831)

Franklin's Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan (Wagler, 1831)

(Extremely rare vagrant PM)

  1. One, probable 2nd-winter, 15th Dec. 2007 (N.R. Milbourne).*
  2. One, 2nd-winter, 26th March 2008 (N.R. Milbourne et al.).

On the 15th December 2007 the WeBS team decided to abandon the morning count due to the awful weather (freezing, strong SE wind). However, I decided to go down to the lake to check the afternoon gull roost because I thought something unusual might come in. I spotted a small dark-mantled gull that I considered to be a Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan, a North American vagrant that I've seen many times. I rang Richard Mielcarek when I got home and told him to put the word out among the Chew 'watchers'. I also told a few friends and the WeBS team, but no-one saw it again until Bruce Taylor found it at Torr Reservoir on 13th January 2008. It then turned up at Chew Valley Lake, and several other sites from the Severn Estuary to Dorset. I saw it at Somerdale, Keynsham on 18th March and amazingly, back at Blagdon Lake on 26th March. My description for the bird seen at distance in December was 'not proven' according to the BBRC, which was fair enough, but thankfully the second sighting was accepted and becomes the first record for the lake.

Bibliography (sources of information)

  1. Rose, Dr H.E. (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 2008. Avon Ornithological Group.

Updated 10 January, 2013