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When I was in Barry earlier this week, I noticed one of the Black-headed gulls at The Knap was colour-ringed so I took its photo and reported my sighting by checking who was ringing what where on the European Colour-ring birding website.

Today I heard back from Paul Roper of the North Thames Gull Group (NTGG) and the information he supplied is fascinating. This bird was ringed as an adult (‘third calendar year or older’) at the Pitsea Landfill Site in Essex on 12 March 2016 but it doesn’t seem to spend much time in England. As Paul commented in his email, ‘This one is particularly interesting as it appears to breed in Finland and goes there via Germany’.

190208 Black-headed gull

Another thing that intrigued me was how site faithful this bird is in its choice of where to over-winter and Paul confirmed that, from their records, many birds ‘do seem to stick to a site faithfully in the winter’. From sightings dated 11 November 2016, 15 August 2017, 5 February 2018 and my sighting on 4 February 2019, we can see that, once it’s finished breeding in Finland, this little Black-headed gull heads back to Britain to spend its winters in Barry, in south Wales. You can see a map of its movements on the NTGG website here. There must be something about the fish and chips in Barrybados that keeps bringing it back!