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Flyback the local Gull 2018

Flyback was our fourth gull to be tagged and was hand caught in Lochwinnoch

Flyback is an adult male Lesser Black-backed Gull.  He was hand caught at Castle Semple Loch on the 9th of June. 
As he was hand caught we don’t have any evidence of nesting behaviour but it is believed, by the movement data below, that he may have a nest in Linwood.  At the time of tagging he weighed 847.5g and has a wing length of 42.2cm.  He can be identified in the field by his colour ring number 10R:C.  Flyback’s name was suggested by Primary One pupil, Jasmine of Houston Primary School.

Click this link to see Flyback’s movements for 2017

Movements for 2018 below


Map updated 18/01/18 It’s looking like we will not be able to retrieve any data from the gulls in Africa until they move to a new mobile network area.  The tags work by getting location data sent to them via satellite then relaying the info back via the mobile network.  The tags are currently collecting data but due to the fault that happened in the mobile network last month they haven’t been able to send location data back to us.  Once they connect with a new mobile network we will receive all the data and see what the gulls have been up too. It’s a pity we don’t look like we will be getting this info in real-time but hopefully we will find out soon how they are doing.

Map updated 09/04/18 Back in November we lost the mobile connection to our gulls in Africa. This has led us to wonder how they were all getting on and this morning we finally heard from Flyback as he downloaded four months of data in a few hours. He is currently in Spain near Huevla after leaving Morocco. When we last heard from him he was in Safi at the coast. He moved further inland and spent the rest of the winter near Youssoufia. In particular, he favoured the area around Lac Sale Zima where he rubbed shoulders with the local flamingo population. He left yesterday morning (Sunday the 8th) at 07.44 and flew over land towards the coast and arrived near Sidi Abed at 13.01. He then headed out to sea and flew along the coast passing Casablanca at 15.00. Instead of turning north and going straight over the sea into Spain he flew along the Moroccan coast line and crossed into Spain near the straight of Gibralter at 0538 this morning (Monday the 9th). It took Flyback 25 days to get to Casablanca how long will it take for him to come back?

Map updated 12/04/18 Flyback has been zooming his way back to us over the last few days and has flown nearly 1000 miles since leaving Morocco on Sunday. We last updated you when he was flying towards Huelva in Spain. He headed inland after reaching Huelva and crossed into Portugal at about 1500 on Monday the 9th. He continued north before landing on an island on the Portuguese-Spanish border at 18.55. What has amazed us is this is the same little island Gary spent time on when he was crossing west to east on his migration. Flyback then went south back into Spain at 1956 and spent the night resting before flying back to the wee island at 0606 on Tuesday morning where he spent the day resting and foraging until 1920 that night. He then crossed back into Spain and remained there until 0530 on Wednesday morning. Since then he has flown north crossing over the border three times before arriving on the sea at Ria de Vigo on the Spanish coast at 2342 on Wednesday night. He left there this morning and our last update at 0847 saw him still flying north over Caldas de Reis. He is now on day five of his migration and is going strong.

Map updated 16/04/18

Flyback has flown just over 400 miles over the Bay of Biscay from the northern coast of Spain and into Brittany. He has been near to this part of France previously and at the time he stopped for about a week feeding on fish. This time he is a little further south near a town called Porguern. We wonder how long he will stay in France this time? Or perhaps he is in a hurry to get home to enjoy the warm weather we are meant to be getting soon!

Map updated 18/04/18

Flyback has returned to Little Cumbrae where we believe he had his nest last year. His return journey took only 9 days as he left Morocco on the 8th of April and arrived in Scotland last night on the 17th. As seen in the map he followed a very similar route back home choosing to travel through Cornwall and then through Wales before returning home. Flyback was our first gull to start migration on the 29th of July and is our second gull to complete their migration. He was away for nearly 9 months! Welcome back Flyback!

Map updated 03/05/18 Since returning to Scotland Flyback has pretty much stayed in the vicinity of Little Cumbrae.  He has been to Castle Semple a few times and been spotted by us twice.  He is now starting to move around a bit more in the Renfrewshire area and if he hasn’t started nest building on Little Cumbrae he may look at doing so in Linwood again.









Map updated 21/05/18 Flyback looks like he may have set a nest up on Little Cumbrae instead of Linwood this year.  He travels about alot for foraging and has been seen back at Castle Semple.



Map updated 31/05/18 Flyback has been busy flying back and forth between Little Cumbrae and Lochwinnoch over the last week. We have seen him a couple of times and he is looking nice and healthy. Keep an eye out for his colour ring 10R:C which will help you identify him.


Map updated 13/06/18  Flyback regularly visits us here at Castle Semple from his nesting site on Little Cumbrae.  We have spotted him a few times and he is looking really healthy but isn’t keen to stick around and get his photo taken. We think he recognises us!



Update 11/07/18 Unfortunately we have learnt that Flyback has died.  Flyback was our first gull to be hand caught at Castle Semple in 2017 and was also the first gull to head on his migration all the way to Morocco.  We spotted Fluback back at the Loch in April and were pleased to see he was doing well.  He had decided to set up his nesting site on Little Cumbrae instead of the TnT factory roof in Linwood and was making regular visits to the Loch.  At the start of the month we noticed his tag hadn’t been updating and when we looked into it further we realised there were a cluster of points near the Kaims Dam at the back of the village.  We headed up to see what was going on and found the remains of Flyback underneath the power lines.  It’s such a shame that a bird travelled all the distance to Morocco and back only for him to pass away by colliding with a manmade object a mile or so from his tagging site.  We haven’t been able to find his tag which may have been carried off by a scavenger but did retrieve his colour ring. He contributed massively to our project and it is a massive shame to lose such an important bird.

Flyback’s sponsors

Houston Primary School, Melissa Davies, Andrew Currie, Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Glasgow Branch, Paisley Natural History Society, Jess Finn, Nigel Walker, Joan O’Brien

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
















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