We've just found out one of 'our' new population of city gulls is holiday-ing in Spain for the winter. Lesser Black-backed Gull GA37483 was originally ringed as a chick in the massive colony at Orfordness, Suffolk, in July 2002. The colony was home to 25,000 pairs of gulls, but after years of Fox predation, the colony has shrunk to just 7,000. Many of these have birds moved inland, and since 2006 Norwich is slowly being colonised. Most birds are seen in industrial sites around the city, and one site held over 30 pairs last year.
These birds still retain their natural migration patterns though, and GA37483 does get around. It was seen in Portimao, Portugal, in March 2003 and is currently in Malaga, Spain (see Google map below).
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How do we know all of this? Well GA37483 also carries a single red ring with SUD stamped on it, enabling it to be read through a telescope. The photo here shows a similar Orfordness bird, with ring RJS. Many birds such as gulls and waders carry these colour rings, and they are unique to that bird. So if you do happen on a colour-ringed bird, then do report it online at www.ring.ac.
Thanks to Mike Marsh from the Landguard Ringing Group for letting us know about this bird, and also for the photo.