After the continuing success of the large gull colour-ringing project in North-East Scotland, this summer Grampian Ringing Group undertook a new project to cover Black-headed and Common Gulls. One of the main aims of the project is to find out the dispersal and wintering patterns of the chicks from the various colonies in the region. On 30th June this year, we visited an inland colony of 2200 Common Gulls stretching over vast moorland (red pin).
|Tillypronie colony - Euan Ferguson|
There are very few colonies of such scale left in the UK after large declines in the breeding population. During the single ringing visit we ringed 180 chicks, 150 of which were also colour-ringed. Since ringing, six sightings have come in of Common Gull juveniles dispersing from this colony. Five of them were dotted around the North-East coast, valuable information, but we did get one sighting we did not expect.
|Common Gull in Santa Crus de Oleiros - Antonio|
A few days ago an email arrived from Sergio Paris, reporting that his friend Antonio had seen and photographed a Common Gull carrying an orange darvic (2XKN) in Santa Cruz de Oleiros, North-West SPAIN (green pin)!
According to the BTO recoveries database up until last year 94,916 Common Gulls had been ringed in the UK and Ireland. Only 1 of these had been recovered in Spain, a bird ringed in Kerry, Ireland in 1957 (blue pin)! Found only 7 miles from this one!
View Common Gull in Spain! in a larger map
This sighting is exceptional for the project and the ringing scheme but with only six sightings we are far from building a clear picture of where the majority of Grampian’s Common Gulls spend the winter. All sightings of all species of gulls are much appreciated and if you are not a ringer, sightings can be reported via ring.ac.