November 21st   Leave a comment

A map of all the sightings of JP08 – winter in blue, spring and autumn black, and red summer (one where it was born and the other where it now breeds)

I saw a couple of colour-ringed black-headed gulls among the roost on the rocks just below the entrance to the Saucehope Caravan Park (always a good place to check!)  on the 4th of November. I googled the colour-ring register – there are pages of schemes for individuals ringing gulls throughout Europe. Each has their own “scheme identifier” – a particular colour of ring or a particular sequence of numbers. Gull rings can be larger and so many have alpha-numeric codes as you can see from the photo. They are a bit trickier to read but with a photo through a telescope you can be very sure you haven’t made a mistake. I found the two schemes within a few minutes: the yellow ring bird comes from a scheme in Aberdeen, so I assume the bird was ringed there and the green ringed bird from Norway. I emailed both schemes and heard back from the Norwegian Natural History Museum a couple of days ago. JP08 was ringed as a chick on the 15th June 2014 near Oslo; it winters with us at Crail and Kilminning, having been seen twice in 2017 and now by me this year, and it breeds near Oslo, about 17 km from where it was born, and 880 km from Crail as the gull flies. The longevity record for a black-headed gull is over 30 years so watch out for this Crail winter resident over the next few years. Like most migrant birds, it is very likely to stay faithful to its winter and breeding site for the rest of its life.

The colour-ringed black-headed gulls at Saucehope on November 4th

Posted November 21, 2018 by wildcrail in Sightings

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