Best spots to read Med Gulls rings
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Where to watch Med Gulls in Asturias/Asturies (north of Spain) by César Álvarez Laó

Best spots in Asturias

In Asturies the Med Gulls are more frequent in the central and western coast, but very scarce in the oriental littoral. Few birds appear dispersed for beaches and coastal fields, except in the center of the region, where there are small groups in Avilés, Luanco/Lluanco and Candás, possibly dependent of the great population that there is in Gijón/Xixón (to see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Localities of Asturies with Med Gulls. Small circles (yellow) present minim amount of birds, medium circles (green) present few ex., but big circle (red) present a lot of gulls.

Where to watch Med Gulls in Gijón/Xixón ?

Xixón agglutinates most of the Med Gulls of Asturies. The winter censuses show numbers ca. 600 ex. This city is the bigger than Asturies; in its coast it possesses a commercial port ("The Musel"), a fishing port, a port sport, several beaches, a park with two ponds, and a stonecutter intertidal (to see Figure 2). These places concentrate many gulls (ca. 10.000 ex.) of several species (up to 14 species). It is the best place in the Cantabrican coast to observe gulls, and of course the best for Med Gulls.

Best spots in Asturias
Places of Xixón with Med Gulls. Green circles contain few birds; red circles contain a lot of gulls.

How to arrive ?

To Xixón you arrives in several ways:

By car: from Santander you catch the national roadway N-634, and continues in highway (A-66) from Oviedo/Uvieo. There is 225 kms between Santander and Xixón.

By air: to the Airport of Asturies; from here you catches the national roadway N-632 to Avilés, and continues from here in freeway (A-8). There is 40 kms between the Airport and Xixón.

By ship: the sport port of Xixón admit private ships.

Places of interest :

The Med Gulls are observed mainly in five places (see upper map and next map) : Best spots in Asturias

Fishing port: there are many gulls of several species in the roofs and in the jetties. Med Gulls comes mainly to sleep to the "Pantalán" (tube located to the west of the fishing port). Here the telescope is needed.

Beach of "El Arbeyal/L´Arbeyal": during the low tide small groups of Med Gulls (among other gulls) meet in this small beach (of 300 mts of longitude), settling in sand and rocks. The telescope is necessary to read rings (scarce).

Beach of "San Lorenzo/San Llorienzu": it is the main place to seemed gulls. This beach has 1,4 kms of long, but the gulls concentrate on the oriental third. In low tide you can watch here more than 100 Med Gulls. But this beach has people the whole year, for what are frequent the nuisances of walkers and dogs. In high tide small groups Med Gulls congregate in the outlet of the river Piles. In low tide is preferable to enter in the beach, but in high tide it is observed from the walk that skirts it. The telescope is necessary to see rings (enough).

Park of "Isabel The Catholic": in the big pond you see many gulls, among those that there is some Med Gulls. It is the best place to make pictures and to read metallic rings, due to the proximity that the birds are. It is not indispensable the telescope. It is observed from the road that skirts the pond. Here we register numerous rings.

Stonecutter of "The Rinconín": there are groups of Med Gulls here with any tide, mainly in their oriental half. It is observed from the walk that the stonecutter skirts. The telescope is necessary, although few rings we observed, because many birds are in the water or among algae.

To arrive to all these places you can leave in car, urban bus, in bike or walking.

Best sites for observe Med Gulls in Xixón. Green circle (Isabel The Catholic Park) and yellow circle (western part of stonecutter "El Rinconín") show few gulls. Red circle ("San Llorienzu" beach) and black circle (eastern part of stonecutter "El Rinconín") show a lot of gulls.

When to come?

Third picture : Med Gulls are in Xixón in autumn and winter, being strange the rest of the year. Here the migrating birds are very scarce, because most of the Med Gulls comes to wintering. The first ones arrive in September, most in November-December, and they leave in February-March (sometimes already in January).

Rings :

The percentage of birds with colour rings is variable, oscillating among 1-10%. Most are Dutch, in smaller quantity French, German and Hungarian, and very few birds are Italian, Czech and English.

The Coordinadora Ornitolóxica d´Asturies is the association that takes the registration of the Med Gulls with rings observed in Asturies. If you have observed some ringed gull here, pleased send us the data to our e-mail address:

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