Monday, 4 February 2019

More Darvic'ed Black-headed Gulls!

This winter has been phenomenal for the number of darvic and metal-ringed Black-headed Gulls that me and my nephew, Luke, have been able to find in Derbyshire and neighbouring Nottinghamshire (17 and counting to date). Today I managed to add not 1, not 2, but another 5 to the list!!! (22 in total).

All five were found at Rufford Country Park in Nottinghamshire. When Jayne and I arrived, the lake was about 95% frozen, and there were at least 200 Black-headed Gulls (and up to 10 Common Gulls) on the ice. As we approached the café, there were several families feeding the Mallards and Canada and Greylag Geese, which, in turn, attracted in approximately 30 - 40 Black-headed Gulls.

The first colour-ringed bird that we found was EUM3, a Dutch ringed adult bird. This bird had been ringed 395km away, on Benthuizerplas, a breeding colony near Zoetermeer, The Netherlands (see here), as a chick, on 27th May 2017. It was first seen at Rufford in November 2018, and has been reported there, throughout the winter.


The next bird, P519, was another adult. This bird had been ringed, as an adult, 1456km away, in Klaipeda, Lithuania on 1st April 2010 (8 years, 10 months and 2 days ago). This bird had also been seen at Rufford before, on 8th January 2018, so is possibly a regular wintering bird.


The third bird, an adult, V77K, was a Danish bird. This bird had been ringed on the island of Hirsholm (see here), 911km away, as a pullus, on 12/06/15. The first record since ringing was at Rufford on 16/11/18 by Dean (from our ringing group), followed by my sighting.


The final two birds (217A and 221A) were perhaps the most exciting, as they had been ringed by a member of the Ringing Group I am part of (Sorby Breck Ringing Group) in January this year.


217A, a 1st winter bird (born in 2018), was ringed on 17th January 2019 at Center Parcs, approximately 3km away. 

The final bird, 221A, was ringed, as an adult, on 19th January 2019, approximately 15km away in Creswell.


It will be interesting to see if these wintering birds will relocate abroad in the spring, or whether they'll hang around and breed in this area.

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