This GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL was born in NORWAY in May 2008, thus making it a 5th Winter - over 4 and a half years old. It was a bird I saw in Lowestoft this January and had been processed by the Stavanger Museum in Norway. The Lista Ringing Group very kindly provided me with the history of its movements and interestingly, it has spent five consecutive winters in the Lowestoft area, Andrew Easton recording it in each year. It has also been sighted in Denmark and Holland.
Surrounded by adults of the same species, one can clearly see noticeable differences with the bird, with leg colour, bill pattern and colour and primary pattern most notable. Many observers considered it a 4th-winter but the ring proves how variable and difficult it is to accurately determine the true age of large white-headed gulls.
Tony Wileman was the first observer to email me with the correct species and ageing of the bird, a year's free subscription now winging its way to him.