10th annual Audouin’s gull boat count completed – our rarest gull continues to decline

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For the 10th year running, BirdLife Cyprus and the Turkish Cypriot bird protection society KUŞKOR jointly organized a boat survey of our one-and-only breeding colony of the rare Audouin’s gull Larus audouinii at Kleides islands, off the tip of the Karpasia peninsula.

This year’s survey took place on 28 May 2016, with our Chairman Melis Charalambides, Treasurer Christakis Charalambides, members Melis and Emily Pitta, Recorder Jane Stylianou, our visiting full-time volunteer surveyor Nathan Wilkie and Research Coordinator Martin Hellicar taking part for BirdLife Cyprus. Numbers of Audouin’s Gulls at the colony have been in decline since 2007, a pattern that continued this year, with the rare gulls hitting a 10-year-low of 18-22 birds counted.

During a two hour survey from a small fishing boat, we counted a maximum of 6 nesting Audouin’s Gulls, on the very last rock of the Kleides chain. We also recorded 94 Yellow-legged Gulls Larus michahellis, including 10-15 young birds and up to 24 nests, as well as 29 adult and 34 juvenile Shags Phalacrocorax aristotelis. Other notable species recorded during the Kleides survey were Pallid Apus pallidus and Common Swifts Apus apus, Rock Doves Columba livia, a Little Egret Egretta garzetta and a pair of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus.

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