Minsmere: Audouin’s gull spotted in Suffolk for first time

BIRDWATCHERS have flocked to a Suffolk reserve to view an extremely rare species of gull never seen in the county before.

An Audouin’s gull was spotted at Minsmere, near Saxmundham, by eagle-eyed East Anglian Daily Times journalist John Grant.

The sighting of the gull, which is normally restricted to the Mediterranean and the west African coast, has already proved a big draw among birdwatchers.

The gull’s visit follows recent sightings of other rare species such as the black kite, white-winged tern, white stork and a white-tailed eagle.

Robin Harvey, acting site manager for the RSPB-run reserve, said it was a very exciting time at Minsmere.

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He said: “It’s hugely exciting. May is always the best time to come to Minsmere because you never know what’s going to turn up. Of course, all our breeding species are going strong at this time of year as well.

“We get several hundred [birdwatchers] on a good day.”

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The Audouin’s gull is about the same size as a herring gull but has a distinctive red bill and dark legs.

Mr Harvey added: “It’s the first time we have seen one in Suffolk and only about the fourth or fifth time it’s been seen in Britain.”

He said the sightings of so many rare birds could partly be down to the southerly winds coming in from the south of Europe.

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