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Common (Mew) Gull - FiskemåkeLarus canus
Fiskmås - Stormmåge - Kalalokki

Common (Mew) Gull is a very common and numerous spring migrant at Skogsøy, indeed it may be THE most numerous. The species is almost completely absent in the winter at Skogsøy so it is easy to pick up on the start of the spring migration in mid March. Numbers build up until approximately mid April before slowly dropping off again and by early May few are still migrating. Peak counts can number several thousand, although 2000 is more regular.

The Norwegian Ringing Atlas states that good population data are missing for this species. Norway has a special responsibility for Common Gull - the latest estiamtes is that there are in excess of 150 000 breeding pairs in the country. There have been reports of large scale declines from much of its breeding range, including from a number of areas in Norway. The species is concentrated in Europe and has an unfavourable conservation status.

This is another species that occurs in much higher numbers than, for example, at Utsira.

The following diagram shows the maximum recorded in a given three day period (green line, scale on right hand axis). In order to give an idea of the frequency of observation observer effort is presented as the blue line (number of visits) and the orange lines (number of days the species was recorded). More comprehensive data is available on the Skogsøy downloads page.

Common Gull - maximum counts

Although the largest numbers of this species are recorded in spring, Common Gull is also a common autmn migrant at Skogsøy. Passage commences towards the end of July and continues well into November. The majority of Norwegian birds winter further south around the North Sea, with large numbers reaching the U.K. Some go as far as the Bay of Biscay.

Common Gull are undergoing a decline and should therefore be monitored. Counts of returning birds in the spring would seem an ideal way of doing this.

On the best migration days passage is very concentrated around dawn with numbers tailing off rapidly during the first few hours of daylight. It is not just adult birds that migrate north in the spring - non-breeders also make the trip.

The record is 5000 in three hours

The best counts often occur during light winds and sunny weather - these factors seem to be more important than the actual wind direction. During sunny weather at this time of year it is very common to have a wind with a strong northerly component.

Common (Mew) Gull

Migrating Common Gulls, Skogsøy, April 2015
Above and below: Migrating Common Gulls, Skogsøy, April 2015

Migrating Common Gull, April 2015

Migrating Common Gull, Skogsøy, April 2018

Above and below: Migrating Common Gulls, April 2018
One Black-headed Gull with them in image below

Migrating Common Gull, Skogsøy, April 2018

Tveit, B.O., Mobakken, G. og Bryne, O. 2004 Fugler og fuglafolk på Utsira. Utsira Fuglestasjon
Bakken, V., Runde, O. & Tjørve, E. 2003 Norsk Ringmerkingsatlas Vol. 1, Stavanger Museum, Stavanger


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