Thursday, 21 November 2013

Flying norseman

Black headed gull J8Y6 which I spotted among a throng of ringed Coot at Killingworth Lake on 15th November is but one of many. I submitted the sighting to Morten, a researcher in Norway with  whom I have had previous contact on Friday at 6.00pm and within an hour had a response back! The bird was ringed near Oslo as an adult male (3 yr old+) in 2012 and was spotted by GB at Killingworth in November last year.
This seems to be a typical picture for Black headed Gulls in the north east of England returning to their birth place in Scandinavia to breed in April. J72J is a well recorded bird probably living off fish and chips at Amble and recorded since 2005 but all the records are in winter months until last year when he was recorded at Vinge-Velvang in Norway in April. Presumably he switches to Rollmops when back home. Another bird J9CE was ringed at Malledammen in Norway in 2012 but has wintered at St Mary's Island for the last two years and SV 106967 has moved between St Mary's Island / Holywell Pond and Utterslev in Denmark for the last two years.
So records from four birds but I wonder how many of the hundreds I see on the coast and rivers each year in winter are returning to Scandinavia in Spring.


  1. Peter, spotted 2 similar ringed (black on white) BHGs on Saturday whilst partaking in a little refreshment in the Car Park at Amble. Is black on white a standard ringing for all BHGs or just colours selected for a scheme from Oslo/Norway. John and I spent 20mins searching for them but they just vanished.

  2. I don't know any standard exists but it seems a pretty good bet they're from Scandinavia