Dec 8, 2011

Oldtimer from Neartic and Herring Gull ringed in UK

3rd of December the returning Ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis) was rediscovered. It was spotted by Alf Tore Mjøs who is responsible the majority of the records of this species in Bergen. The Ring-billed Gull found today has spent the last 19(!) winters in Bergen. It has not been ringed but a miscolouration on one of the primaries make it possible to recognise this individual. Our plan is of course to put a plastic ring on this beautiful bird, but experience from earlier years have shown that it can be difficult due of it's feeding habits. This individual have never been seen taking bread in the city center lake. The only observations of it outside it's resting places are at the famous fish market in Bergen (Fisketorget) outside a kebab snack bar and at an other snack bar on the other side of town. Our returning Neartic fellow may be particular in it's feeding habits and has to tempted it with a delicious (warm) Shawarma.

Dates for the first observation of the old faithful Ring-billed Gull:

Ring-billed Gull resting on the pier in Store Lungegårdsvann, Bergen

The city of Bergen have 15 records of Ring-billed Gull. The faithful one is of course counted as one. Bergen can therefore make a show of having half of all records of this species in Norway. Two individuals ringed in Bergen have also been recovered and are the only recoveries in the Norwegian ringing scheme. One of these individuals was read in a breeding colony in Newfoundland which shows that regular migration from Nearctic to Western Paleartic is possible for this species. We do not know anything about our returning individual but trans Atlantic migration is the most probable based on ringing recoveries.

The individual read in Newfoundland was ringed in Bergen January 1990 and read in field by Bruce Mactavish in Newfoundland October 1990. This is 3900 kilometers from it's ringing place! The individual recovered on Iceland was ringed in November 1983 and shot in Iceland April 1990 (The Norwegian Bird Ringing Atlas 2003). Both birds was ringed by Alf Tore Mjøs.

The 3rd of December we also found the first ever Herring Gull ringed in United Kingdom in Hordaland. It was spotted in a industrial area the first day, and on Sunday (4th of December) it was feeding on bread in the city center lake. It was ringed by North Thames Gull Group the 14th of February 2009 at Pitse Landfill in Essex UK. Since it was ringed in winter the subspecies is most certain a argentatus which was wintering in UK. A map can be seen on the website of North Thames Gull Group

Herring gull NGOT probably a male judged by it's large size in the city center lake 04th of December

Thanks to Frode Falkenberg, University of Bergen and Alf Tore Mjøs at the Norwegian Ringing Scheme, Stavanger Museum for valuable information on the occurrence of Ring-billed Gull in Bergen.

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