Friday, 28 October 2016

Common Gull - "Tarffie"

One of the main objectives of our study is to establish site fidelity of wintering gulls and below is a story froMícheál Casey from the west of Ireland of a Common Gull which is yet another fantastic example of how amazingly site-loyal these birds can be.

Photo by Micheal Casey

This Common Gull, now known among Sligo gull aficionados (there are several) as 'Tarffie' has become rather special.  It was ringed by Scottish ringer Hugh Insley at a breeding colony on Loch Tarff in the Scottish Highlands in 1997.   I first read this bird's ring in the harbour during the autumn of 2003, and have seen & photographed it in the same place in Sligo Harbour (Quay St Car Park) every winter since then. I email Hugh each August/September when I get the first photo of it, which was on the 3rd of September this year.  

It is back again this autumn beginning its 13th successive recorded winter in Sligo Harbour (I may have missed its previous winter visits) at the ripe old age of 19 years, and its site fidelity is a great example of just how precise gull migration can be - what looks like a random winter gull flock may be executing as precise a return to a favoured location as the Swallows in your garage......

Many thanks to Mícheál for the story and photograph.

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