My first observation of a wintering Black-headed Gull this season

They have been in our country for quite a few weeks now: Black-headed Gulls from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Southern Europe, here to use our farm lands as a rich food source while they finish their primary moult and then to continue on to more southern and warmer climates.

The group of Black-headed Gulls that stay here for the winter are most probably doing the same in the countries surrounding The Netherlands before they start to arrive later in the year. For example: I’m expecting an individual from Lithuania around about October 18th to arrive on my local gull patch.

For us gull watchers, the arrival of these foreign birds signifies that the breeding season has come to an end and that “winter” has officially started (even as far back as July…)

I have been following the reports of observations of my fellow gull watchers with interest, but I hadn’t come across any ringed Black-headed Gulls from abroad myself.

Last Saturday I finally observed my first Black-headed Gull with foreign ring: White T83, belonging to a Danish project.

It was part of a group of about 100 other Black-headed Gulls, together with a Mediterranean Gull (also ringed) and a few European Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. They were fouraging on a grassy wetland and could be observed quite well.

It was still present yesterday and today, when I was able to take some nice photos of it (even though I had to digiscope them).

Adult Black-headed Gull with Danish color ring White T83. Ring info: pending.

It is quite a territorial individual, actively reacting to any gull that came nearby by long-calling and displaying the oblique posture.

Adult Black-headed Gull with Danish color ring White T83 long-calling while adopting the oblique posture.

Adult Black-headed Gull with Danish color ring White T83.

I was also able to take a nice video of him fouraging and reacting to other gulls:

This all took place here:

Black-headed Gulls fouraging. Oegstgeest, Rijnfront, The Netherlands.

I’ll be keeping an eye on this location over the coming days to see how long T83 will stay here for and for any other ringed gulls that might turn up.

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