At the weekend Bob and I did quite a thorough check of all the Gull legs we could find on the Camel Estuary which paid off with 2 adult Black-headed Gulls adorned in beautiful Colour rings!
The first Gull that we encountered was an old friend that sported a Yellow Darvic with the code 2DFS. It was originally ringed on Rainham Tip, London on the 22nd of February, 2014 as an adult bird (at least 3 years old). I then found it on the Camel Estuary, Cornwall on the 1st of September, 2014, where it has returned every year since during the month of July and staying throughout the winter months. Lets hope it continues to do so for many years to come and that one day it is found on its breeding site.
The second Gull that we found was a new one for us but from a scheme we know very well. It had a White Darvic that was coded 23S8. Here is the lovely e-mail I received from Tim Ball of Berkshire:
"Many thanks for your record - John forwarded your email to me because it's one of my birds and I deal with the Berkshire part of his project. 23S8 was ringed as a chick at Hosehill LNR which is just SW of Reading in June 2015 it was seen in the colony for a while after it fledged and then appeared on the Camel Estuary in September and was reported a few times until January. Unfortunately we don't know where it spent it's first breeding season and the next report of it was back on the Camel Estuary at the end of June and it seems to really be loyal to that area!
All the best
"This bird is a typical example of how Med Gulls can turn up just about anywhere! The bird was ringed as a pullus on the 29th of June, 2013 at Barbâtre, France. It was last seen at this location on the 17th of July, 2013. Almost 6 months passed before it was recorded and photographed holidaying in Las Palmas Harbour, Canary Islands on the 3rd of January, 2014, it remained here until 4th of March, 2014. On the 29th of June, 2014 it made a brief appearance back at Barbâtre, France. Just over 2 months later on the 11th of September, 2014 it was observed at Hayle Estuary, Cornwall where it remained until at least the 14th of October, 2014. Quite an incredible year for this individual clocking up over 3241 miles in just 15 months!"
The bird had travelled back to Babtre, France during the spring of 2015 and then on to Hayle Estuary, Cornwall during the winter months. It was not recorded again until Simon's sighting at Hayle at the end of September 2016.
By looking for, finding and receiving details of colour ringed birds my knowledge of our local avian life is extended each and every time. I know so much more about birds origins, migration and breeding habits and how long they live! Anyone with a scope should be looking out for these little "knowledge gifts"! Not only are the individual life histories fascinating, the information that you provide to the Ringers and Ornithological organisations is of huge importance to their knowledge and the conservation and survival of many species.