Meeting an Old Friend

Magazine Source

Gavin Haig

Magazine Author

Gavin Haigh

Magazine Date
16-09-20
Magazine Article
Lunchtime last Friday found me sitting on the bank of the River Axe estuary, stuffing my face and scoping gulls. Mainly this is a winter pastime, but whenever there is a good number of birds present I am often tempted. My unsuccessful search for a Caspian Gull was briefly interrupted by a colour-ringed Herring Gull. Zooming up to read the ring, I was chuffed to realise that here was an old friend...

MG6T...I know that ring looks red, but apparently it's orange.

I recognised the code straight away. I couldn't recall the exact year, but remembered first seeing this bird on Black Hole Marsh, back in the days before any hides. A bit of archive-trawling located the photo...

28th March, 2009 - MG6T as a yoof.

MG6T was ringed as a 2cy (2nd calendar year) on 9th January, 2009 at Pitsea Landfill Site, by the Thames in Essex. It promptly relocated to the Axe, and my encounter with it in March was the first of many Axe sightings over the years, a few of them mine. I don't know when we last met, but it has definitely been a while...

Curiously, despite 35 reported sightings, it has never been recorded anywhere except the Axe. There have been blank years (2013, 2014 and 2019) but basically this 12 year-old gull has spent its life in E Devon. I don't blame it.