Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ringing in the new year with high-school sweethearts.....

The sweethearts in quesion being these two european herring gulls (Larus argenteus).

crung gulls

You may just be able to make out that each of them is sporting a big chunky ring. These are hard plastic darvic rings intended to be read at distance and since these two decided to land on a rock in front of me and obscure my seawatching view reading them was pretty easy.

Now the last time I found a colour rung bird it turned out to have travelled from New Jersey to the Caribbean (and who could blame it?). I had a quick look at the local gull ringing initiative's website and noted these rings were a different colour to those typically used so I was optimistic I may have another travel story to share with you.

The answer shows this wasn't the case but its still pretty interesting. These two were rung in the same month in 2004 as chicks (ie they are headed for their 7th birthdays). The one on the left was seen again in 2005 a couple of times before turning up on the local landfill in 2008 and it's been seen 2 or 3 times a year there or in the surrounding area ever since. The bird on the right disappeared for almost 5 years after ringing but turned up at the landfill on 19 February 2009 (interesting the left most bird was recorded in the same spot on 18 February 2009). The dates I've been given suggest this is the first time the two have been seen together but I rather like the idea that the two of them have been hanging out not far from one another since they were chicks and are still hanging out now.

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