Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A 19 year old Black-headed Gull and another Casp at Crossness

I didn't get round to posting about what I did on Sunday. Mainly because since then, work has taken over and I'm looking forward to the Christmas break come the end of this week. Anyway, I headed off to Crossness where I met up with John A. We had a decent walk around the place, where there were lots of birds - typically nothing too special to start off, with a Greenshank and Common Sandpiper by the outfall, a couple of Little Egrets and Yellow-legged Gulls, and a handful of Meadow Pipits and a Chiffchaff.

The forecast cold weather never really materialised, so there were no thrushes or wildfowl on the move. However, scanning across the gulls on the foreshore on the way back we came across a 1st-winter Caspian Gull; a relatively sturdy, large bird so presumably a male. However, unlike at the tip, viewing distance was an issue for decent shots. And so, happy enough, I headed the short distance to Southmere.

A couple of weeks ago, on 30th November, I'd been there and found a Black-headed Gull with a white ring AVC. With a bit of research, it was a Danish bird and so I emailed Kjeld Pedersen. The bird was still present the Sunday just gone, and so I emailed him again to let him know it was still on Southmere, Thamesmead. Anyway, it transpires that this bird was ringed as an adult in 1997 - so the latest it can have been born was 1995! Amazing stuff, at least 19 years old and still going strong.
Black-headed Gull 'AVC' - ringed in Copenhagen, Denmark as an adult in March 1997; therefore this bird is at least 19 years old.
Remarkably, despite having its ring read over 75 times during its life, it had never ventured out of Denmark - remaining in the Copenhagen area, where it was first ringed (as a female) on 20th March 1997. Interestingly too, there had hardly been any November/December sightings of this bird so perhaps it has previously moved west early winter (just remaining undetected).

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