This national survey is planned.

In 2019 there will be a national census of urban nesting Gulls. This follows last year’s census of natural nesting seabirds as part of the 4th UK seabird census (called the Seabird Count) which has been running since 2015 but only fully funded and nationally coordinated since 2018. The census has been developed by the Seabird Monitoring Panel (SMP) and is coordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), managed by national organiser Daisy Burnell and a team of county organisers for which I volunteered for Hertfordshire. Full details can be found at Seabird Count.

Last year in Hertfordshire we achieved good coverage of our regular “naturally” nesting seabirds which comprise Cormorant, Common Tern and Black-headed Gull. Results have been collated and are being entered on the JNCC national database. It is hoped that the data from the 2018 and 2019 fieldwork will be presented in a future article in the Herts Bird Report.

It’s now time to prepare for the final year of the Seabird Count which will be of our urban nesting Gulls, which comprise Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This will be no mean feat as the presence of breeding Gulls on buildings may not always be realised, especially in industrial estates, and not all locations are known.

Although details of the methodology have not yet been rolled out, it is important that we know where all our urban nesting Gulls are located. The results of the Herts Breeding Bird Atlas will be used but it is likely that birds may have spread since. I would therefore appreciate if anyone knowing of nesting Gulls on buildings in Hertfordshire could let me know of the location. I’m aware that Watford has a population of urban Gulls and birds were reported to be breeding in Hoddesdon this year, but there are probably several other towns and locations that have breeding birds.

If anyone wishes to take part please contact me at murray.orchard@live.co.uk