One of the things that has amazed me is just how many gulls are to be found in the centre of England during the summer months. It is also great to witness the gulls migrating through Shawell. Whether its the northward movement of Yellow-legged Gulls into the area during July, or the arrival of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (intermedius) from Norway it's all interesting stuff. Knowing that many of the LBB Gulls will be going south to Iberia or beyond into Africa is also exciting (for me and a few like minded enthusiasts at least).
Getting good enough views of these wary beasts is quite a challenge, especially as the buggers panic every time a Buzzard flies past, or a helicopter, or they see their own shadow. Nonetheless I have managed to read quite a few colour-rings lately. The most satisfying was finally nailing a Dutch ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull. I first saw this gull last year, but I mis-read one of the letters and although there was only one gull with a similar code the ringer Kees Camphuysen felt it was best left un-proven. I read MAPD but the only one near was MARD. Well last Wednesday I saw what was most likely the same gull and this time I got a clear reading and it read MARD. This was the first proven sighting away from the breeding colony.
|Lesser Black-backed Gull MARD from a Dutch Breeding Colony|
|Lesser Black-backed Gull MARD|
MARD is a male and until this year he was paired with a British ringed female, but this year he gave her the boot for a younger version.
At the weekend I read the ring on a Norwegian born Lesser Black-backed Gull (JJ5M) that has been recorded in Western Sahara. This is a distance of 3782 km, which it travelled during its first year.
|LBB Gull (LR.AR)|
The gull above was ringed in Belgium and it is probably on its way to Morocco where it has wintered during the previous two winters.