I’m afraid I have to report that Team Gull has lost a member. Sadly Gully MacGullface has passed away in Spain. He arrived in Spain in early November and was located at a fish farm. We noticed on the 13th that we had stopped getting downloads from Gully’s tag as well as a distinct lack of movement. After a bit of investigation work from our tag guys we discovered that Gully had died on the 3rd/4th of November. We had been told that the tag was going to sleep and would stop working as it was not being able to charge but we then got a signal last week, probably because the tag had been turned back over and was able to charge again using its solar panel.
After a discussion with members of the Clyde Ringing Group, one of it’s members, Iain, managed to contact some local birders in Spain. Jose Manuel got in touch and armed with the last known coordinates he headed out to the marsh where we believed Gully to be. He very quickly found Gully’s coloured ring and then spent an hour going round in circles before he found the remains of Gully and his tag. Looking at our data we surmised that Gully died not long after arriving at the fish farm, potentially being caught in netting. After a few days he was then removed and left nearby when he was then picked up and scavenged by a Marsh Harrier.
It’s sad news to know that this is the end of Gully MacGullface after making his migration from Lochwinnoch, into Ireland and then into Portugal and Spain but unfortunately there are many dangers that our gulls face. We are extremely grateful to Jose who recovered his tag and we were able to track it’s flight back to the UK where it landed in our office on Monday. We should be able to redeploy the tag next year. For now we will remember Gully MacGullface and his massive contribution to the Tag-n-Track project. He was a popular gull with all the pupils we worked with and has provided a vast amount of data for us to analysis. RIP Gully MacGullface.