Winter has arrived

It’s July 23 and while I write this we’re experiencing somewhat of a heat wave here in The Netherlands with temperatures averaging close to 30C during the last couple of days.

Even so, winter has arrived!

Over the last couple of weeks, adult birds have been leaving their breeding colonies all over Europe and are migrating to and arriving at their wintering grounds.

I have been following observations of fellow ring-readers with interest who have seen ringed gulls arriving from the northern and eastern parts of Europe and today it was my turn to observe my first returnee: Black-headed Gull White EJA9.

EJA9 is one of a group of about 50 Black-headed Gulls that were ringed at the end of December 2012 and it is nice to see one of them returning so early. Unfortunately he has not been observed during the breeding season so we don’t know yet where he breeds, but it would not surprise me if it turns out that he is Scandinavian or Polish.

Here he is shortly after being fitted with his ring:

Black-headed Gull White EJA9. 24 December 2012, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Black-headed Gull White EJA9. 24 December 2012, Leiden, The Netherlands.

In January:

Black-headed Gull White EJA9, 12 January 2013, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Black-headed Gull White EJA9, 12 January 2013, Leiden, The Netherlands.

And here is one of my latest observations of him in March 2013:

Black-headed Gull White EJA9, 12 March 2013, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Black-headed Gull White EJA9, 12 March 2013, Leiden, The Netherlands.

I last observed EJA9 on March 30, so he has only been away for 115 days. I will surely enjoy his company over the next 8 months until he leaves again next March.

I wonder also when we will see the other gulls of the same ringing session arriving in the area…

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