Mediterranean Gull 2cy 3LM2 February 06 2003, Le Portel /Boulogne-sur-Mer, France (50.42N,1.34E).
This individual was ringed as a pullus in Belgium on June 4 2002, Green left 3LM2.
The post-juvenile moult is a partial moult into so-called "first winter" plumage that starts as soon as the birds leave their colonies in July and finishes by late September. This moult includes the head and body feathers, mantle, scapulars and a variable number of wing coverts. The head and under-parts become almost completely white, with a dark mask of variable size and intensity behind the eye extending as very narrow streaks over the nape. The eye-crescents are white and the dark smudge in front of the eye contrasts more than in full juvenile plumage. The second generation wing-coverts, mantle and scapular feathers are plain pale grey. The brown centres of the juvenile wing-covert centres bleach to a foxy brown and the white fringes quickly wear away. The base of the bill starts to turn paler and the legs usually turn slightly paler as well.
In this individual the three upper tertials, the two innermost greater and a few median and lower lesser coverts have been replaced by plain grey second generation feathers. All juvenile feathers look very worn and faded, and as winter progresses the contrast with the moulted second generation feathers becomes less strong. Note that the greater coverts are very worn so that the tips of the dark secondaries that lie beneath them can be seen. By this date the juvenile primaries have turned a paler brown and look worn. The base of the bill has turned paler and yellowish in autumn, the legs remain dark, but on this bird have turned slightly paler.
A summary of the records for Green 3LM2 / White 34K2, with thanks to R. Flamant and C. Duponcheel of the Mediterranean Gull colour-ring programme:
• ringed June 4 2002 as a pullus at Zandvlietsluis, Antwerpen, Belgium
• from July 7 2002 to July 13 at Zandvlietsluis, Antwerpen, Belgium (3 records)
• from July 31 2002 to December 13 2002 Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England (19 records)
• from January 16 2003 to February 6 2003 at Le Portel, France (4 records)
• on February 22 2003 back in Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England
• on February 27 2003 back at Le Portel, France
• on March 22 2003 switching back to Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England
• on August 4 3003 at Wimereux, Plage Nord, Pas-de-Calais, France
• On August 8 2003 to March 14 2004 in Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England with one brief excursion on January 26 2004 to Le
Portel, France(18 - 1 records)
• from July 9 2004 to February 6 2005 at Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England (13 records)
• on April 11 2005 at Noordelijk Insteekdok, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
• from July 25 2005 to February 24 2006 at Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England (18 records)
• on April 14 2006 at Zandvlietsluis, Antwerpen, Belgium
• from July 14 2006 to February 24 2007 at Folkestone, Copt Point, Kent, England (15 records)
• from July 27 2006 to November 3 2006 at Le Portel, France (19 records)
• from March 3 to March 12 2007 at the Ineos complex, Antwerpen, Belgium (3 records)
• on May 17 2007 is was caught on the nest at Noordelijk Insteekdok, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium where it’s colour-ring was
replaced by white 34K2.
• on March 7 2008 at Zandvlietsluis, Antwerpen, Belgium
Another good example of winter-site fidelity. Apart from a few brief stays at Le Portel this bird has always been faithful to Folkestone, arriving in late July and leaving in February. It has visited it’s birth ground in Belgium on several occasions but has only been found breeding in 2007.
This is one of the famous Folkestone birds that had it’s colour-ring read over and over again by the late Raymond Hanson. Raymond was one of the most reliable and productive Mediterranean Gull watchers in England and his passing is clearly visible in many Med Gull life histories.