|First-cycle Yellow-legged Gull - numbers of this species are very low on the Thames in winter.|
Systematic counting does bring small rewards, however, and it's always good to see colour-marked birds and establish their history. Most of those on the Lower Thames site I watch have been ringed by the North Thames Gull Group, a long-standing and stalwart group of enthusiasts who use distinctive orangey-red rings with black four-digit codes (always ending in 'T') to mark their birds. Occasionally, however, gulls bearing the bling of other ringing projects pitch up, and so far this year, for example, I've had two European Herring Gulls from Havergate Island in Suffolk, red VTH (below) and red VKD.
|Second-cycle European Herring Gull VTH, ringed as pullus in Suffolk on 29 June 2014 and resighted for the first time on 22 February 2016 on the Lower Thames, 112 km SW.|
|The map belies the real nature of this bird's movements, as 608 days elapsed between the two sightings at the endpoints of the line.|
|Third-cycle Caspian Gull, the rarest plumage - and also a colour-ringed bird from the Continent!|
|The ring code is difficult to read but may be VD0G, which would probably tie the bird to a Danish scheme.|