Not just a gull

Flanders Moss NNR


You can see a lot of gulls across the Carse of Stirling. Its a bit like Terminal 5 at Heathrow airport with a number of species of gulls passing through at all times of year and in all directions, stopping off to refuel. It isn’t a destination for them, either to breed or spend the winter but they use it as they pass through. But just because they are gulls doesn’t mean there isn’t an interesting story that goes with them.
Hanging around in the lounge at the moment are the common gulls (yellow beak, black eye, medium small size). In the last week there have been a couple of flocks of up to 1000+ each that I have seen on the way to Flanders from Stirling. These gulls have most probably been spending the winter further south but are starting the move north to head back to their breeding areas. Some will breed in Scotland but most will probably be heading across the North Sea in the next month or so to Scandinavia (mostly Norway). You can see from the photos that they are mostly adults (being mainly white and grey). The older birds are always keen to get back to the breeding grounds early while the younger birds and immatures (more brown in the plumage) tend to drag their feet and wander about a bit.
If you do stop and pull over to have a look at them look out for their dancing. Yes they do actually dance. To bring worms to the surface to be eaten the gulls step very quickly from foot to foot. This little dance creates the vibration that attract the worms to within beak reach. So if you are heading out to Flanders keep an eye out for gulls and see if you can them dance.

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