Friday, 20 June 2014

Mediterranean Gulls - a 3rd summer and an 11th winter plus

20th June 2014 - Topsham

While most of the the rare gull action is currently at Bowling Green Marsh, I'm still regularly  checking the situation at the Recreation Ground. There's usually a couple of hundred Herring Gulls, a dozen or so Lesser Black-backed and a couple of Greater Black-backed on the big gull spit on an afternoon low tide. A presumed hybrid - the broken P9/10 bird - occasionally drops in and impersonates a Yellow-legged. Small gulls are few and far between this year, severely limiting my chances of seeing either of the two rarities at the Rec. However, I see signs of numbers increasing with 20 or so Black-headed yesterday (including a juvenile) and a couple of Mediterranean Gulls also visiting. This looked like an adult, presumably the bird seen at BGM over the last few days, then I checked my photos. That black line on P9 indicates that this is a 3rd summer bird. Non Gull fans can skip this next bit - in fact it's in its 4th calendar year, the outer primaries are 3rd generation feathers and, as it's begun primary moult, it's now in it's 4th moult cycle.

Mediterranean Gull 3rd S - 19/6/2014 Topsham

Mediterranean Gull 3rd S - 19/6/2014 Topsham
 Some more photos of the same individual from this morning, they really are beautiful gulls and it's always a pleasure to see them.

Mediterranean Gull 3rd S - 20/6/2014 Topsham

Mediterranean Gull 3rd S - 19/6/2014 Topsham

 On the subject of Med Gulls, I finally got news of a colour-ringed bird I saw in November 2012 - the code was a little hard to read so I guess it took time to sort it out.

Mediterranean Gull adult PAJ7 - 14/11/2012 Topsham
This bird - Red PAJ7 - was ringed as an adult on 10th May 2005 in central Poland (to be precise near the village of Radyczyny which lies about 40 miles north west of Łódź - I just had to look that up, apparently it's pronounced something like 'Wootj').

So it was at least three years old (3rd summer at least) in 2005, therefore in 2012 it was ten years or older and in November it was an 11th winter at least (if my always shaky maths is correct). I did a bit of digging around and it appears to have been first recorded in Devon in 2008 - and several times since.

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