Luke Phillips, who works for the RSPB, told us last week about a Mediterranean Gull that is visiting Radipole Lake RSPB Reserve 18 years after it was first caught for ringing in The Netherlands.
According to the ringing database, this would be the longevity record for Mediterranean Gull recorded in the UK, but not as old as the longevity record for Europe, which was a Med Gull ringed by the Greek Ringing Scheme and recorded 22 years and 1 month later.
Many Mediterranean Gulls are ringed and colour ringed in the Continent, but only a few dozen are ringed in the UK each year. In 2010 only 22 birds were ringed with a GBT ring, contrasting with the 618 ringed birds that were recovered/resighted during the same year. The number of birds wintering and breeding in this country is increasing, and this trend is expected to continue in the future.
The travels of this Mediterranean Gull are very well documented, its life history spanned 6 pages!
It was ringed in The Netherlands as a pullus and was given colour ring WHITE 96A on 02/06/1993.
It was caught again in Belgium in 1999, the metal ring was replaced and the colour ring had been. In 2006 was caught again in Belgium, the metal ring replaced and a WHITE 3K20 added.
As 3K20,it was seen on 06/12/2011 in the UK for the first time at Radipole Lake where up to 450 Med Gulls were recorded in a single evening by Luke Phillips.
The colour ringing of Mediterranean Gulls is well coordinated in Europe and sightings can be reported here.
To find out more about longevity records in the UK go to the on line ringing reports, and for European longevity records go here.
Thanks to Luke Phillips for telling us about this gull and to Chris Parnell for both finding the bird and for providing the photograph.