Medway is home for Med gulls




Mediterranean gulls are increasingly choosing the Medway Estuary as a place to breed the RSPB has reported.  Recent surveys of the estuary identified over 200 breeding pairs of this protected bird, which accounts for over one third of the entire UK breeding population.  The greatest concentrations were found on the RSPB reserve at Nor Marsh.

RSPB wardens Gordon Allison and Matt May travel out to the RSPB Medway sites on a small boat to record the birds.  Gordon commented: “The trip out to record birds in our little boat is always quite an experience and we always have plenty of birds for company.”

Gordon added: “It is very exciting to have such a significant breeding population of this special bird right on our doorstep.  A real success story.”

The RSPB also monitor other seabirds on the Medway, including the largest colony of Sandwich terns in the south-east, and Kent’s only colony of little terns.

The RSPB site of Nor Marsh is an island and is not open to the public in order to protect it from disturbance.  However, the nearby Motney Hill RSPB reserve and Riverside Country Park affords great views over the Medway and provides a great vantage point to view the gulls and the thousands of other birds that use the estuary as a migration route.

With the winter migration from the Artic to Africa already underway, the Riverside Country Park has organised series of bird themed events in October and November, hosted by the RSPB.  ‘Autumnwatch at the Riverside’ will take place all day on the October 17 and 18, and again on November 7, 8, 14 and 15.

The RSPB’s Damian Fleming said: “Visitors will have a chance to see one of the Mediterranean gulls, but are guaranteed to witness the spectacle of thousands of migrant birds passing though.  People visiting the park can drop by and learn more about the winter migration and see the birds close up through our telescopes.”

For further details about this event please ring 01634 222480 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/northwardhillevents.

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