Polish Mediterranean Gull

A Polish Mediterranean Gull in Filey

As we’ll be looking at in more detail in the near future, colour-rings provide a fantastic way of learning about an individual bird’s life history. Gulls can be a particularly rich source of information, and checking the flocks on the beach, in fields or at local wetlands is always worth a try – particularly in winter, when we receive birds from much further afield than you might think.

Click on images to enlarge

Polish Med Gull (right) – click on images to enlarge

A perfect example occurred this week, when I was checking the Black-headed Gulls bathing at our East Lea reserve. A first-year Mediterranean Gull – a scarce visitor to our area – dropped in for a while, and could be seen to be sporting a red colour ring with white figures…. unfortunately, the ring was just out of readable range, but when the bird and many of the accompanying black-headed Gulls took off, I took a chance on them dropping in nearby at the Dams.

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Luckily my plan paid off, and there in front of the East Pool hide stood the Med Gull, code clearly displayed as PTR3. A quick check online told me it was from a ringing program in Poland, and a couple of days and an exchange of emails later, and we found out the bird was ringed as a chick in the nest, on an island in the middle of a lake in central Poland, some 1284km west, 170 days later – the first sighting of the bird since it was ringed. Fantastic stuff, and welcome to England, young Pole!

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Words & pictures – Mark