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Gary the Greenock Gull 2018

Gary lives in Greenock and was our second gull to be tagged

Gary is an adult male Lesser Black-backed Gull.  He and his mate nest on the roof of Greenock Police Station
and he was our second gull to be tagged on the 18th of May 2017. This year he had three eggs and the chicks hatched out on the 31st of May. However, during our weekly breeding monitoring checks his nest, which was in one of the roof drainage channels, was found to have been moved by heavy rainfall and there was no sign of the chicks. Chicks are very good at hiding and when we returned a week later we found two chicks within the vicinity of the nest.  At the time of tagging he weighed 845g and has a wing length of 39.3cm. He wears a colour ring, 9P5:C, which helps to identify him in the field. Gary was named by St Joseph’s Primary School in Greenock.

Click this link to see Gary’s movements in 2017

Click this link to see Gary’s movements in 2019

Movements for 2018 below


Map updated 08/01/18 Gary moved over the border into Portugal on the 26th of December and is currently hanging out at a nature reserve near Lisbon.

Map updated 18/01/18 As you can see from the map below Gary has settled into his wintering grounds.  He is particularly favouring the area around Coruche which from our satellite maps appears to be a very agricultural area.  Gary favoured agricultural land in the UK and it looks like he is doing the same in Portugal.

Map updated 30/01/18 Gary has remained around the area of Samora Correia.

Map updated 07/02/18 Gary is still up to the same tricks in Portugal. He isn’t far from where Roger is hanging out but so far their foraging flights haven’t overlapped.

Map updated 15/02/18 Gary has left Portugal, where he arrived on the 26th of December and headed back to Spain. To us this looks like he is starting his return journey to Scotland.  He left the nature reserve on Monday and was picked up near Couca. He then flew back to the border where he spent time going between the two lakes he had visted previously.  He then headed back to the dog shelter before his current position heading north-east.  Where will he be when his next update comes through?

Map updated 23/02/18 Our hopes for Gary heading home have been put on hold at the moment.  Gary has spent the majority of the last week on the lakes on the border between Portugal and Spain.

Map updated 01/03/18 Gary is still in Spain and is dividing his time between hanging out at the dog kennels and the lakes on the border with Portugal.

Map updated 09/03/18 Gary is really favouring the dog kennels at the moment and using it as a base to go back and forth from Spain into Portugal.

Map updated 23/03/18 Gary has moved back into Portugal and is currently hanging about Avis.  It’s interesting to see that our gulls are in no hurry to return to Lochwinnoch when there are already other Lessers back declaring territory. I can’t say I blame them.

Map updated 03/04/18  Finally one of our gulls has started his migration north. After a couple of false starts and hopes Gary set off from Portugal at 0239 on Thurs the 29th. He was just north of Avis when he decided to start heading home flying north east into Spain. Four hours later at 0640 he was picked up at Aguilar de Campoo before heading over the Bay of Biscay where he was then picked up still flying at 0940 and 1241. His next update came in at 1540 where he was flying over Nantes in France. At this point he had covered half his migration route in 10 hours!  He left the shores of France at 2237 on Thurs night and made landfall on the Dorset coast at about 0600 on Friday morning.  He then flew north west before circling around Puddletown before heading back to the south coast at Weymouth for a few hours rest. Early on on Saturday morning (31st) he took off north and was last picked up flying over Mere at 1525. Since Saturday night he has travelled through Glouchester, Tewkesbury and Telford before having a rest on Sunday night at the Aqualate Mere National Nature Reserve. In the early hours of Monday morning he was off again and arrived in fields near Hales. He then spent 9 hours in the fields foraging and resting before heading off and he was last picked up near Buerton at 1804 on Monday night. He isn’t far from Doddington Pool where he spent alot of time in the autumn so it will be interesting to see if he heads here again.

Map updated 05/04/18 Gary is back in Greenock! After leaving on the 29th of July last year he has returned home. He carried on north on Monday evening and flew over Northwich, Bolton and over the Forest of Bowland. He then headed north west and it looks like he followed the M6 again like he did going south. He was last picked up in England near Caithwaite on Tuesday morning at 0957. He crossed the border and was picked up at Ecclefechan at 1254. He then continued north west to Troon and then onto Lady Isle at 1854. Saltcoats was his next transmission point and at 0251 yesterday morning (4th) he was flying over Quarriers Village before being picked up in Greenock at 0649. It’s great to see the first of our gulls back and really shows that they only spend a small amount of time here.

Map updated 12/04/18 Gary has returned to his nest site at Greenock Police station and is keeping close to the vicinity of it.  His map below includes last years foraging pattern so it may be quite hard to see what he is up too.  However, we took a trip down to the station on Monday and who was the first gull we saw on the roof…Gary!

Map updated 24/04/18 We have left Gary alone for a few weeks to allow him to settle back on his nestsite with his mate.  His map may be a bit crowded but what we can see is he is sending a fair bit of time around the container yard near Clarence Street.



Map updated 03/05/18 We visited the police station this week and saw Gary on the roof.  He and his mate have been busy nest building and the nest looks almost complete.  Hopefully they will soon be incubating a nice clutch of eggs.

Map updated 21/05/18 It looks like Gary is now looking after his nest on the roof of Greenock Police Station.  Three eggs appeared in the nest five days since our previous visit.  It is hard to see where he is foraging at the moment as we still have last years data present but hopefully we can archieve this to see what he is doing this year.

Map updated 31/05/18 Gary and his mate’s nest still has three eggs and Gary has been in close attendance when we have been up on the roof. He has been busy foraging in fields near Gryfe Reservoir and over near Cardross.



Map updated 13/06/18 Gary is here, there and everywhere when he is out foraging.  When we visited on Monday he had two new chicks and one was about to hatch.  He is back to being Super Dad and bonked Hannah on the head when we were checking the nest.  He did this to Hayley last year and is the only gull on that roof who we have to watch out for.  This is to be expected and easily avoided by one of us sticking our hand up in the air to protect the other.


Map updated 20/06/18  So after Storm Hector last week it looks like only one of Gary’s chicks has survived.  The chicks are very vulnerable to the wet and cold and the others likely succumbed to this when the parents were away foraging.  Gary was in fine fettle and tried to bonk us again but we were too quick for him!

Map updated 05/07/18 Gary is busy looking after his chick when he is not bopping the T-n-T Team on the head.  His chick is doing well and has now been colour ringed with the ring number 12W:C.

Update 11/07/18  Gary is busy on the police station roof looking after his chick.  As you can see below his chick is growing well and is now sporting it’s very own colour ring.

Map updated 01/08/18 Gary, one of Team Gull 2017’s members, is off on his second recorded migration! And what has really surprised us is that he has started on the same date as he did last year, the 29th of July.  In the early hours of the morning he was recorded on the roof of the Chivas building in Paisley before heading off and being recorded south east of East Kilbride at 0904.  By 1503 he was over the A702 and then in Abington at 1801.  By 0158 on the 30th of July he had stopped for a rest on the Dingbro roof in Dumfries where he remained until being picked up feeding near on the banks of the River Annan at 0954.  He was still there six hours later and was then picked up flying south near Keilhead at 1851.  Our last record of him was on the banks of the Solway Firth at 2249.

Last year Gary headed south by following the motorway network but seems to be taking a different route this year.  Will he head back to Burton upon Trent? We will let you know.

Map updated 10/08/18 Gary has returned to Burton upon Trent where he spent five months last year after rearing his two chicks.  Over the next week or so we should start to see if he returns to his old haunts or if he decides to only make a quick visit this year before heading into Europe.

Map updated 16/08/18 Gary has been back at Blithfield Reservoir this week where he spent alot of his roosting time last year.  He has also been on the roofs at an industrial estate near Churchbridge, Cannock. Today he was picked up in the early hours flying towards Stoke-on-Trent.

Map updated 31/08/18 Gary has settled back into his old routine in Burton upon Trent.  The question is now will he stay there until December like last year?

Map updated 20/09/18 No change for Gary.  He is still following his routine travelling between Stoke and Burton for roosting and foraging.

Map updated 21/10/18 Can you spot Gary’s green cross? He is at Nantwich today but is still sticking to his routine that he has been following over the last few months.

Update 25/10/18 Gary’s chick 12W:C has been spotted in Knightswood Park in Glasgow on the 21st of October. The last time we saw the chick was back in July on the Greenock Police Station roof. It’s great to see it is doing well as he was the only one of three chicks to survive during all that hot weather we had this summer. So if you are in Glasgow keep your eyes peeled for gulls with colour rings.

Map updated 21/11/18 It can be hard to see what Gary has been up to when you look at the map below.  The thicker the areas of blue the more he visits these areas.  Today he is just south of Whitchurch and you can see if you compare with last month’s map that he has headed into Wales. Last year he headed off to Portugal on the 15th of Decembe.  Will he do the same this year?

Update 06/12/18 Remember Gary’s two chicks from last year? Well 19R:C, who has since been spotted twice in Portugal since he left his nest on Greenock Police Station, has been spotted again. He was spotted and photographed by Isidoro Soares at Praia da Mata on the 28th of November and he is looking fantastic. This is the same beach he was seen on on the 15th of November last year. Awesome!

Map updated 26/12/18 The 15th has been and gone but Gary is still with us.  However he has moved further south and is hanging about on the River Severn near WWT Slimbridge.  We wonder if he’ll head onto the reserve and get spotted.

Gary’s sponsors

St Joseph’s Primary, Police Scotland, The Browns of Kelty Bridge, Judith Kent, Ruedi Nager

Would you like to adopt Gary and see your name here?  Then found out how you can adopt him here




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