There and black-back again!


Tuesday 22nd September comments: The majority of the birds now have left for the winter and migrant birds on the move.  Most birds fly south for the winter heading for warmer climes.  This is true for our Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  Through ringing birds, putting a metal ring with a unique number on their legs, we can track bird’s movements.

This year during spring we spotted two ringed adults both were originally ringed in 2005, both at least four years old, at a landfill site in Gloucestershire.  One of the adults was sighted for four consecutive winters in Gloucestershire, it was next sighted in 2011 on the Isle of May during spring.  It then spent the winter of 2013 and 2014 at a landfill in Leicestershire. In April this year it was seen again on the May and by July it was back in Leicestershire.

The other adult had more of a journey.  After being ringed as an adult in 2005 at the same landfill in Gloucestershire, it was sighted on the May in June 2011, probably breeding.  The following sighting, February 2013, was far south in sunny Morocco.  After spending the winter in Africa the adult made the return journey of 1,700 miles back on the island in May.  It has been seen back on the island every spring since.

Both these birds probably breed on the island and then head south for the winter with one heading the south of England and the other even further to north Africa. It is interesting that there is so much variation even within the same species, with ringing and research bringing to light these fascinating movements.

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