During the 2022 breeding season, the Bird Barrel Island was home to nesting black-headed gulls (more than 300 nests), common terns (76 nests) and the rarest species at the site, the mediterranean gulls – as many as 16 pairs. Last year it was the largest breeding colony of this species in Poland. From the 16 nests, 21 young birds were ringed, most of which flew out of the colony. They were provided with plastic rings to make it easier to identify the bird in different parts of Europe by birdwatchers there. We already have the first news of where birds from the Bird Barrel have been seen.
Last fall, two young birds were found in England and the Netherlands. And now, twice in February, our young Lesser mediterranean gull was seen in Portugal on the Atlantic coast. This is as far as more than 2,300 kilometers from the place of birth. In future years, we will track the fate of such tagged birds thanks to information collected in the national POLRING database.
The gull photographed in Portugal is an individual in its second calendar year of life. The bird hatched in 2022, and the photo is from early 2023. The gull has metamorphosed into the winter coat of a juvenile bird in autumn. It will not obtain the mating coat of an adult bird until its fourth calendar year. Adult gulls in their winter coat are almost all white, with only a little black on their heads.
As you can see, the Bird Barrel, which was designed as a safe nesting site for the common terns, is also of special importance for the mediterranean gull. And this species of gull, like the common tern, is given special care under the European Union’s bird protection regime.