Monday, 18 July 2016

No(r) way!

Since we began colour-ringing Black-headed Gulls as part of our study at the end of 2012, we have had a number of birds turn up in Britain and further afield in continental Europe (see here, here, here and here for a few examples). 

Up to now, these have all been birds caught during the winter. Birds, presumably, which were born elsewhere and migrated to Northern Ireland to spend the winter before heading back to their breeding grounds in early spring.

Over the weekend I received an email from John Sandoy entitled "2ALP is in Oslo, Norway today". John had recorded the bird at Hovindammen in Oslo, also managing to get a photograph:

Photo by John Sandoy

While this was obviously another fantastic and exciting record of one of "our" colour-ringed birds elsewhere, I assumed it was most likely a Scandinavian bird which had been caught and ringed here during the winter. Until I checked the database....

Imagine my surprise when I inputted the record and generated a re-sighting report for it to tell me that 2ALP had, in fact, been ringed as a chick on Blue Circle Island in 2013 (see here)!

Blue - Ringing location
Yellow - Re-sighting location; Whitehouse Lagoon, Belfast Lough
Red - Re-sighting report; Hovindammen, Oslo

One of the main objectives of the study is to ascertain where our birds (i.e. birds born in Northern Ireland) disperse to and whether or not they return to their natal colonies to breed. This is superb record for the study and another example of new information we're learning from colour-ringing birds here.

There have been two previous sightings of 2ALP, both by Gary at Whitehouse Lagoon (see here).  In that post I commented "Wonder where it has been since, but I'm guessing it has traveled further than the 20km between Larne Lough and Whitehouse Lagoon!" Well, if this sighting is anything to go by, how right was I?!

Many thanks John for the report and the photo.

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