Regular readers may remember the ringed Herring Gull that I spotted a couple of weeks ago at Mumbles Head. Originally I read the ring as X88 but a quick internet search soon turned up a hit on the Gower OS blog for Blue BBX. Further analysis of my photos has revealed that this is the very same bird and so I sent my sighting off to Peter Stewart of Midland gull ringing fame. In just a couple of hours I had its life history in my hands (thanks Peter). It reads as follows:
16/12/06 Gloucester Landfill Site, nr Hempsted, Gloucestershire. 51.56N 02.16W
28/09/07 Gloucester Landfill Site, nr Hempsted, Gloucestershire (286 days)
25/11/09 Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea (121 km, WSW, 2 yrs 344days)
04/09/11 Bracelet Bay, Mumbles, Swansea (121 km, WSW, 4 yrs 262days)
11/05/13 Mumbles Head, Swansea (121 km, WSW, 6 yrs 146days)
According to the BTO, Herring Gulls live to an average age of twelve years with a record of just over thirty having been recorded. At six already Blue BBX is approaching middle age and there’s clearly the potential for many more years of life ahead. What is surprising is that it doesn’t appear to have travelled anywhere else since it was ringed at Gloucester landfill back in 2006 and arrived here a couple of years later. I guess that, as for humans, the lure of Wales is just too hard to resist.