Popular London Caspian Gull fails to return


A popular Caspian Gull that returned to the same London pond for at least six years has not been seen this winter.

The gull had become a regular winter fixture in the north-east of the capital at Eagle Pond, Snaresbrook, and arguably deserved the title of being Britain's most reliable Caspian Gull.

It was first seen at Eagle Pond as a third-winter in autumn 2017 and was particularly approachable, allowing close study. Interestingly, a first-winter bird that appeared at nearby Wanstead Flats in winter 2015-16 looks very similar in stature to the Eagle Pond bird, and the suspicion is that the sightings refer to the same individual. It was not seen at either Wanstead Flats or Eagle Pond in winter 2016-17.

The Snaresbrook Caspian Gull in January 2023 (Tony Brown).

Eagle Pond has been a popular stop for birders in the capital since the Caspian Gull first appeared there six winters ago. The bird was a regular visitor and was often the only large gull on the pond, mixing with the more numerous Black-headed and Common Gulls. It was reported frequently throughout last winter, with the last sighting on BirdGuides coming on 4 March 2023. However, to the disappointment of local birders, there has been no sign of it this winter despite regular checks.

For all the latest sightings of Caspian Gull across the country, log on to birdguides.com/sightings – or buy a bird news subscription to keep up to speed with observations nationwide.

The Caspian Gull first appeared at Snaresbrook in the autumn of 2017 (Paul Chamberlain).