Great news: European Herring Gull ringed in 1986 as Black D, Green A is still alive!
I have been following this gull since 2009 during which period I have regularly observed him between the months of March/April until September/October in each of these years. He then disappears somewhat out of sight during the winter period until he reappears again in January.
Because of his old age (he is now 27 years old and in his 29th calendar year), my anxiety about him surviving the winter increases by the year. This winter was no exception and with the last observation dating from 2 November 2013 (when I observed him at the same location as today), I was very much wondering whether he would still be around.
I was therefore extremely pleased when I sighted him through my telescope while scanning a large group of gulls fouraging on the beach. He looked to be in good shape and the condition of the slightly damaged green color ring (he lost the black ring in 2012) seemed not to have changed.
Luckily he was close enough to be photographed and after feeding for a few minutes he flew up and disappeared out of sight.
Needless to say that this is good news and hopefully the first of many more observations for the coming year.