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.


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!


Words & pictures – Mark