Gull Roost on Preston Beach

If you’ve ever been down to Preston Beach, Torbay, you’ll know that it is a very popular sandy beach for people (and dogs!) who cover much of the beach and commandeer the sea wall walkway with huts and deck chairs. However, at the far left end stands Hollicombe Head; a small but significant sandstone cliff point that juts out into the sea and has a few stone ‘platforms‘ at its base.

During the high tide these little platforms becoming the perch point for a selection of local gulls and at this time of year is place well worth checking for any migrant gulls whom might be hanging out on our southern coast. My target species: Mediterranean Gulls!

I arrived about 9.30am, just after peak high tide, and could see a good number of small and medium gulls gathered on the platforms. It’s easy enough to get close views with the use of the scope, the platforms (and the birds) are only about 15m out from the vantage point of the sea wall, so I started with a quick scan with my binoculars. I was in luck! Very quickly I was able to pick out two newbies to the group; two adult Mediterranean Gulls still in their nice summer plumage of black head and tart red lipstick bill.

I spent a further few minutes looking through the flock which comprised mostly adult and juvenile Black-headed Gulls a handful of juv Lesser Black Backed Gulls and a lone adult Herring Gull. Back to the Med Gulls to take a few pictures through my scope and I headed off, but not before the resident Rock Pipit made a brief appearance, scouting the rocky crags on the search for flies and other insects.

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