20 November 2013

Wandering Caspian Gulls

We don't have many recoveries of Caspian Gulls and the ones we do get are colour-ring sightings of foreign-ringed birds: most are from Poland (62), with smaller numbers from Ukraine (8) and singles from Germany and Switzerland. But we have only recently started seeing reports from abroad of British-ringed Caspian Gulls and these have all involved birds ringed by the North Thames Gull Group at either Pitsea Tip (Essex) or Rainham Tip (London). A young bird ringed in December 2011 spent most of spring 2012 on Texel (The Netherlands) and another young bird ringed in October 2011 was seen at Blaringham (France) and Neeltje Jans (The Netherlands) over the rest of that winter and then on and off until March 2013. But perhaps the most interesting is GG61181 (Orange PR6T); ringed as a second-winter bird at Pitsea Tip in February 2010.

GG61181 at Pitsea in February 2010

PR6T was then seen in Germany in December 2011 and this east-west migration of Caspian Gulls seems to be the norm. True to form PR6T was then recently seen again, but this time in The Netherlands, on Terschelling Island on 18th November.

GG61181 in The Netherlands last week

Once again this highlights the kind of information that can be gained from colour-ringing studies, all of which rely on the support of the wider birding community in looking for and reporting these birds. Full details for this bird (and further photos) can be found on the North Thames Gull Group website, where you can also report any NTGG birds seen. Thanks to Paul Roper from the group for passing on this story and for the photos of he bird in the hand, and to Jacob de Vries for the photo of the bird in The Netherlands.

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