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A Laughing Gull in Iceland

Although not an extreme rarity in Iceland, this adult bird in summer plumage is the first ever twitchable in Iceland and only the tenth record for the country. Sigmundur Ásgeirsson was the lucky finder, on the evening of 7th April 2006 at Hafnarfjörður (SW-Iceland). Two other birders managed to see it before dark. A team of birders was at the spot the following morning and after a long search it could be found on the town's lake, before disappearing for a while. At late afternoon it gave excellent views, either along the shore or on the lake. At least eight birders have managed to see this bird in less than 24 hours.

This bird stays with up to 1000 Black-headed Gulls Larus ridibundus, several Common Gulls L. canus plus several Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus graellsii and Iceland Gulls Larus glaucoides. And at times the whole flock of gulls is flushed away by the local Gyr Falcon Falco rusticolus...

As previously mentioned this constitutes the tenth record for Iceland and the finding of one this spring (with the migrating Black-headed Gulls) was in a way expected because of the large number of Laughing Gulls that reaced Western Europe in Oct-Nov 2005, as a result of hurricane Wilma.

- YK 08/04/2006

- click on the photos to enlarge -

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

© Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

With a single Iceland Gull and Black-headed Gulls.

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

© Yann Kolbeinsson

Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Hafnarfjörður (SW)
8 April 2006

© Jóhann Óli Hilmarsson