Posted on: 15 Jun 2016
Loch of Strathbeg RSPB is hosting the first pair of Little Gulls to breed in Scotland, and just the sixth for Britain.
The world’s smallest species of gull has been confirmed to be nesting in Scotland for the first time, the RSPB announced today. Photos of the birds’ nest containing an egg have confirmed the record; the most recent British breeding attempt was in Norfolk in 2007.
There’s no confirmed record of Little Gulls successfully raising chicks in Britain, so all eyes will be on this pair. It’s hoped that their choice of nesting area at RSPB Scotland’s Loch of Strathbeg reserve will help the attempt, as the pair have set up home on the tern nesting island. Along with the protection provided by the island being inside a fence, RSPB Scotland staff will mount a 24-hour watch and use cameras to protect these rare birds.
The nest was discovered late last week, and the reserve's drone – usually used for monitoring the establishing vegetation on the recent renovation work – caught images of the nest including a single egg on its video camera. RSPB staff say they expect the birds to hatch their first chick any day now.