15 November 2013

More colour-ringed gulls

The weather is looking a bit more promising for the weekend, so hopefully we'll have some ringing news of our own shortly... But in the absence of calm days, there's always the fall-back of looking at gulls! After misjudging the tide at Hayle estuary yesterday, Copperhouse Creek was my only option, and I was greeted by this rather sleepy-looking Norwegian Black-headed Gull.

J4U4 was ringed as a chick back in 1991 near Stavanger (Norway) so is a very impressive 22 years old! It has been seen at Radipole Lake (Dorset) in February 2005 and was then recaught and colour-ringed as a breeding bird in Norway in April 2012, which then guaranteed a few more sightings. It bred locally in Norway in 2012 and was then not seen until January 2013 when it was on Hayle estuary. It was seen again in February before returning again in October 2013 and still there yesterday, so it'll be interesting to see if it's a regular wintering bird in Cornwall.

J4U4 in breeding plumage in Norway in May 2012
Interestingly, most birds from this Norwegain study head to Scotland and northern England, so a regular Cornish bird is very unusual.

This map shows the finding locations of birds from the Norwegian study,
showing how exceptional J4U4 is in its choice of wintering site.
A quick stop at Stithians Reservoir then also reunited me with a bird we'd ringed in Falmouth over the summer: W:032. It had been seen at the reservoir a couple of times already, but nice to catch up with one of your own birds away from home!

Thanks to Nils Helge Lorentzen for providing the details on the Norwegian bird so quickly, but note that these can now also be reported online here, with details instantly available! Thanks also to Alf Tore Mjøs for letting me steal his photo of J4U4 in full summer attire.


  1. I was going to visit Treginiggie last night after work to see if there were any up there. Unfortunately I found myself on Kernick so I went home instead

  2. Only one seemed to hang around, but I've no seen it there for a while now...