Friday 22 November 2019

San Sebastián International Gull Meeting

Last week I travelled to San Sebastián to take part in the International Gull Meeting. Peter Rock and I flew from Manchester to Bilbao on Wednesday morning and from there we hired a car and drove to San Sebastián. 

The IGM Team Photo

First of all, however, we spent the day with Asier Aldalur, Gabriel Martin and Viorel Dumitru Gavril. Asier knows how to show a visitor the best side of the Basque Country - see below.

Rubbish Tip Near Bilbao.

It was at this rubbish tip that I got my first good view of the local Yellow-legged Gulls L. m. lusitanius (sometimes called Cantabrian Gull). They look slightly different to the lusitanius of Portugal although they are clearly closely related. The taxonomy of the gulls of the Altantic coast of Iberia is still being worked out.

A collection of Cantabrian Gulls


A couple of Griffon Vultures passed overhead and a Black Kite harassed the gulls.


After the tip, a tour of several harbours added to our experience of the local gulls.


Watching Gulls in Getaria

A Real Treat - Thanks Asier!

After gull watching we were treated to a meal cooked by Asier and a couple of his friends. This was a real treat and something I was expecting.

Asier Cooking a Fantastic Meal

The first day of the IGM was spent listening to some very interesting talks. I gave a presentation on the Identification of the Yellow-legged Gulls of southern Portugal. This contrasted with some very scientific themes, but hopefully the participants enjoyed it.

Juan Arigaza and Peter Rock (left)

The morning of the second day was spent at a nearby fish harbour where a haul of gulls was ringed. This gave an opportunity for the ringers to work together and learn about each others techniques.

Gull Ringing

Luka Juronovic and Merijn Loeve

Peter Rock and I separated from the group at lunchtime and sneaked off to a steak restaurant called Casa Julian. Here we enjoyed steak cooked over an open wood fire.

A days gulling was in store for the last day. The weather was not doing us any favours on this trip, but we made the best of things.

Here's a few more Cantabrian Yellow-legged Gulls:

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