Tuesday, 17 November 2015

My oldest Med Gull yet

15th November 2015 - Topsham

I should now be writing about - and proudly posting 'top quality' photos of - a cracking 1st winter Caspian Gull that performed beautifully to a small but appreciative crowd at Topsham Rec over the weekend. Sadly, despite wishing really hard, said Larid did not put in an appearance. Instead I made do with a distant 2W on the Axe, an impromptu visit following a text from the estimable Steve Waite. No photos - it must have been at least 300m away - but great value and almost certainly the same individual as Mike Langman's 11th November bird, see Axe Birding for the details.

I've only once seen Caspian Gull at Topsham Rec - back in 2012, actually it was 2013 - but naively thought my chances of another were good this week. Meanwhile, I make do with colour-ringed Med Gulls.

Mediterranean Gull Adult (17yo at least) - Topsham, 15/11/2015
I've seen this individual on the Exe at Topsham for a few days now but only managed to read the ring on Sunday - 34K4. From the colour and code it was a Dutch or Belgian bird so I sent off the details to Camille Duponcheel. By very quick reply I learn that this bird was first ringed (as >3cy) in May 2001, in Antwerp, Belgium. So, if it was at least in its 4th calendar year in 2001, it fledged no later than the summer of 1998 making it now at least 17 years old (in its 18cy). It's been seen many times since first ringed (now on its second c-r); while apparently usually wintering in Somerset, it was regularly seen on the Axe Estuary in the winter of 2011/2012 and once on the Exe at Lympstone in November 2014. A few spring and summer sightings from the Antwerp area suggests that it returns there to breed.

As for the Caspian Gull, I know you're out there somewhere - just need to be there...

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