Returning Lithuanian

Black-headed Gull returns from Lithuania

The breeding season has long passed and adult gulls are starting to arrive in their winter quarters. They will replace the local individuals which themselves have moved south. They will stay until early next year after which they will return to their breeding grounds once more.

Over the last week or so I have seen Black-headed Gulls arrive in Leiden, The Netherlands, and I have been looking out to see which individuals have survived the last 6 months. Over the last 2 winter seasons, some 15 or so ringed individuals have stayed in my area and today I was able to welcome to first returnee: metal-ringed Lithuania HA 08.566.

Black-headed Gull, 3cy, M[Lithuania HA08.566]
M[Lithuania HA 08.566], Leiden, Zijlpoort, The Netherlands, October 18, 2011

This is my 17th observation of this individual.

The first one dates from January 2, 2010 (so I missed seeing it as a 1st-calendar year by just a few days):

Black-headed Gull, 2cy, M[Lithuania HA08.566]
Leiden, Maresingel, The Netherlands, January 2, 2010.

I saw it for the last time that season on March 13, until I observed it once more on October 26, 2010:

Black-headed Gull, 2cy, M[Lithuania HA08.566]
Leiden, Maresingel, The Netherlands, October 26, 2010. Note the orange legs, typical for a 2nd-calendar year.

The ringing location (and most likely the place where this individual now breeds) is 1,160 kilometers (in a straight line) from Leiden.

Map showing distance travelled

It’s nice to see it in good health and I’m hoping to see more ‘locals’ arrive over the coming week or so.

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