Sunday, 9 February 2014

Norwegian tourist in London

Adult male European Herring Gull Larus argentatus - a southern Norwegian bird wintering in London.
On a visit to my gull study site in east London at the end of January, I saw this adult European Herring Gull with a colour ring from an unfamiliar scheme. A quick check online back home showed it to be from southern Norway. It was ringed near Mandal, Vest-Agder, on 25 May 2008 and has been seen in that area on no fewer than 23 subsequent occasions in the summer months. Two further resightings, both in winter, came on 24 November 2012 and 23 November 2013 from Pitsea, Essex, further east along the Thames. It's fascinating to think that this bird has appeared there on only two dates but almost exactly a year apart; it also makes you wonder where else it has wandered in winter, unobserved, in the 2,077 days since it was first ringed.

J0105 when it was ringed on 25 May 2008 in southern Norway - it was already then at least four years old.
Thanks to Nils Lorentzen for permission to use this photo.
Vest-Agder is within the breeding range of the Scandinavian subspecies argentatus, southern birds of which are said to move less than their northern counterparts in winter. The map below shows J0105's longest journey this winter, though of course it surely won't have travelled direct across the North Sea, instead probably moving south along the west coast of Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands before heading west to the Thames Estuary. Where next?

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