Laughing All The Way To The Bank

Photo: Laughing Gull at New Brighton (James Walsh)

A rare, North American gull that has flown over the Atlantic and taken up residence in New Brighton has attracted thousands of birdwatchers from all over the country giving a significant economic boost to the Merseyside town

On Tuesday 3rd February 2015 a Laughing Gull (scientific name Larus atricilla) was found at New Brighton, Wirral, Merseyside

This bird has remained faithful to the New Brighton area, with occasional visits to other local sites, and was still present on Sunday 5th April 2015

Laughing Gulls, named after their raucous laughter-like call, are common in the USA where they are the equivalent of our Black-headed Gull and can be seen around lakes, beaches, marshes, towns and fast food restaurants, but are very rare on this side of the Atlantic

Cafe owners have reported an increase in business, and also Wirral accommodation providers have also received increased business with birdwatchers taking holidays on the Wirral as, along with the Laughing Gull, there has also been lots of other birds to see such as Snow Buntings, Surf Scoters, Purple Sandpipers, Hen Harriers, American Wigeon, Snow Goose, Bean Goose, White-fronted Goose, Water Pipit, Long-eared Owl, Great White Egret, Iceland and Glaucous Gulls

How long this bird is likely to stay no-one knows, but previous Laughing Gulls have stayed around for years, such as one in the Newcastle area in the 1980’s, and Merseyside is known for long-staying rare gulls such as the Spring returning North American Bonaparte’s Gulls at Seaforth/New Brighton in the early 1990’s, the New Brighton Iceland Gull that returned each winter from 1957 to 1985, and the Thurstaston Glaucous Gull that returned each winter from 1981 to 1992

The New Brighton Laughing Gull has caused a lot of attention from local people, who have been curious about the big crowds that have arrived in this coastal town and have, in turn, learnt more about birds through casual conversations with birdwatchers, so the long stay of the trans-Atlantic visitor has been a very positive situation, especially for the Visit Wirral Tourism Association



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