Friday 1 April 2016

A Little More on the Baltic Gull

Well my post to Facebook's European Gull Group (now Western Palearctic Gull Group) about my colour-ringed Baltic Gull got some people all excited.

It became bird of the week on Birdguides; featured on RBA's highlights of the week and was well discussed on Bird Forum. Mostly with no communication with me. Chaps it was at least five years old when ringed not a chick. It would have been very much adult like and hopefully easy to identify in the hand. Overall though it was fairly accurately reported.

Though it is colour-ringed, I was more excited about the presumed first-summer Baltic Gull I found last July, but no one even raised an eyebrow over that sighting. That was, if I say so myself, a good find and could so easily have been missed. Perhaps a harder one to comment on?

The first-summer birds description is with the BBRC at present and maybe this colour-ringed adult will give support to it?

The only thing that may hinder the adult is its location, as there has been some queries about whether these Norwegian  gulls are L. f. fuscus. Well the photographs I've seen from the L. f. fuscus colonies in Norway look like Baltic Gulls. 

Eight Baltic Gulls L. f. fuscus from Horsvaer, Norway were fitted with geolocators. All of them migrated from Norway through the eastern Mediterranean and all but one ended up down in east Africa (the other stayed at the eastern end of the Med). So they ended up in the same wintering range as Finnish fuscus as far as I can see. A small number of colour-ringed L. f. fuscus have been recorded in western Europe including at least one in the UK and one in Spain (the Spanish one was ringed in Finland). 

Morten Helberg in Norway is confident that these Norwegian Baltic Gulls are OK, which has given me confidence too. We must all be careful of what we say from our armchairs and be respectful of people who are much closure to the subject.

Morten has let me have a copy of a photograph that he took of J727 at the breeding Colony. 

Baltic Gull J727, Norway - Photo by Morten Helberg
Anyway I'll leave it at that, as I'm probably boring you all by now.

I'll finish off with the video I took of the first-summer at Cotesbach landfill site in July 2015:


  1. You deserve this mate for all the hours you put in, great find

  2. Hey Carl love the pic of it in Norway, it sort of helps me picture it's movements and follow it's story. You put in the effort and it has reaped the rewards, well deserved. I wouldn't take some of the comments on Birdforum seriously, it's largely full of crap from the same bunch of cyber tossers with very high opinions of themselves with far too much time on their hands who like to think they are experts on every thread.

  3. Cheers, Darren. Most of the discussions on this bird have gone on without me knowing until I was told about it by others. I am more concerned about not upsetting the Norse Men who work hard studying the gulls and passing on really useful information. I'll be rubbing shoulders with many big names in gull watching next week at the International Gull Meeting in Germany and it's their opinions I'm most interested in. Some of course will say I'm sad, but in fact I am very happy.

    1. And quite rightly so Carl. They are the sad ones mate not you. Enjoy yourself.