Mini logo

Gary the Greenock Gull 2019

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 2018

Movements for 2019 below

Map updated 07/01/19

Happy New Year folks. We hope all is well with you all. Back in the office after a month off we are pleased to let you know that as the 1st of January was drawing to a close Gary decided it was New Year, new location time. He has been down near Stoke since August and on Boxing Day he headed down to the River Severn near WWT Slimbridge. He stayed there until 1731 on the 1st. By 2029 he was in Devon and in the early hours of the 2nd he was flying over Torquay. He was off the coast of Salcombe by 0823 and was off the coast of Brittany in France by 1718.
Now this is where he has surprised us. Last year he headed through France and Spain to reach Portugal. This year he has taken a different route entirely. He flew over the sea after passing France for 3 days before he reached the Portuguese coast near Figueira da Foz on the 5th of Jan at 1725. You can see he took quite a wide route and it will be interesting to see what the wind conditions were at the time. So just when we thought we knew Gary he has surprised us again!

Map updated 09/01/19 And Gary has returned to his wintering ground despite taking a completly different migration route this year.  It really goes to show how site faithful these birds can be.

Map updated 25/01/19  No change for Gary.  He’s been concentrating his foraging routine around the arablke area on the south bank of the River Targus.  0L4:C from Pladda is hanging about in this area to but we don’t know if they have met up.

Map updated 21/02/19.  As you can see things are pretty much the same with Gary for the time being.

Map updated 03/03/19  Gary has headed off to Spain.  This is the first time he has returned here this year and he is hanging about at some of his favourite haunts from last year, particularly the roof tops of the buildings near the dog kennels.

Map updated 11/03/19  Gary has hopped back across the border into Portugal and is in the forested region round about Aldeia Velha where he spent some time last year.

Map updated 22/03/19 We have been following Gary since May 2017 where he was one of the first gulls to be tagged here at Tag-n-Track. Since then we have had lots of fun with this guy and he appears in all our talks and workshops. Gary has been overwintering in Portugal again before showing signs that he was getting ready to come home by heading to some of his favourite places in Spain before heading back into Portugal. On Tuesday (19th) he decided it was time to leave Albuferia where he has been for the last week and head towards the coast. He left at 1440 and after flying for 6 hours he reached the coast in the Aveiro region. He continued flying until the early hours of Wednesday morning where he decided to rest up at São Jacinto. By mid-morning he was off up the coast again and flew into Spain in the early afternoon. He has continued heading north hugging the coast passing Louro at 1734 and Camariñas at 2033. He is likely to have had a wee rest overnight before being picked up again at 0831 on Thursday morning on the north eastern tip of Spain. Gary’s migration really excites us as he is taken a different route to the one we recorded on his outbound journey at the start of the year and his 2017 migration. We are looking forward to seeing him back at Greenock Police Station.

Map updated 29/03/19  We haven’t heard from Gary for a week and we must admit we were getting a bit worried.  It’s been very windy with strong northernlys which had put a halt on our gulls migrations.  However, we came into a update from Gary this morning and we can now see why we haven’t heard from him.  He has spent the last seven days in the Bay of Biscay away from mobile phone reception. After his last update on the morning of the 21st, where he was on the north western tip of Spain, he travelled east along the coast to Valdoviño where he was picked up at 2025.  He then left the coast of Spain and travelled east towards France across the Bay of Biscay.  Last year it took him roughly 9  hours to get to France, this year it took 6 and a half days.  At one point he looked to be heading towards Mimizam south of Bordeaux before heading north west back out into the Bay.  We suspect the wind has had a big effect on his flight pattern.  At times we can see he has had long periods of up to 12 hours in roughly the same area which suggests he has been resting on the sea.  He finally flew into France yesterday morning (28th) around 8am.  He certainly deserves a rest and we are glad to see he has had the reserves to make this journey as he may have struggled to find food over the last few days. Go Gary Go!!!

Map updated 02/04/19 Gary is our first tagged gull to return to the UK this year, just like he was last year. When we last updated you he was flying over France and we thought he might take a rest after his epic trip across the Bay of Biscay. But no, not Gary! He has continued heading north where he was recorded over Jersey at 0823 on Saturday morning (30th). He crossed the English Channel and was south of the Isle of Wight at 1422 before his first ping in England at 1720 near Langley Wood Nature reserve. Gary arrived back in England on the 30th last year aswell!! He then turned around a bit and flew south east to Ibsley Water where he took a well earned rest overnight. On Sunday morning he was off again and flew north over Homington, past Easterton and Devizes before heading to the River Severn near Slimbridge at 2008 for another rest overnight. He was last picked up flying over Ledbury on Monday morning (1st) and it is hoped he will be back in Greenock come Thursday.

Map updated 03/04/19 Yesterday we let you know that Gary was back in England and was last picked up just north of Ledbury on Monday morning. He continued heading north to one of his autumn stomping grounds at Doddington Pond where he rested up for the day. Gary then flew north through Monday night, passing Fleetwood and Ulverston and as dawn was breaking on Tuesday, Gary was picked up flying over the Lake District. He was finally picked up flying in Scotland at 1354 where he continued north before turning south east towards the River Esk. He arrived on the banks of the River Esk just before 2000 and remained there resting overnight. We last picked him up at 0746 this morning where he is west of Lockerbie. Our next update is due in two days time but we reckon he’ll be back in Greenock by tomorrow if not there already. We visited the police station rooftop yesterday and there were no signs of any LBB Gulls so Gary looks likely to be the first back.


Map updated 05/04/19 Our boy has made it home and amazingly he arrived back in Greenock on the same day he did last year!! He carried on from Lockerbie on Wednesday morning and flew north west over Nethermill and Sorn before arriving on Little Cumbrae at 1647. He then headed over to Great Cumbrae where he spent four hours before heading home in the early hours of Thursday morning (4th) to Greenock Police Station. We are so excited to see him back and amazed that we have followed his adventures over the last two years and seen the similarities of his journeys. Welcome home Gary!

Map updated 21/04/19  Using the Animal Tracker app we can see that Gary is spending alot of his time back on the police station roof.  We hope to visit him soon to see what is going on with him and his mate.

Update 13/05/19 Gary’s tag hasn’t been transmitting for a couple of weeks now and we believe the tag has finally failed. The tags have a predicted lifespan of two years so we think we have done quite well.  We are hoping to catch Gary and fit him with a replacement.  We will let you know how we get on.

Map updated 10/06/19 Gary’s tag is working again and he is pretty much focusing his attention to the Police Station Roof.  He hopefully should have chicks by and we are planning a visit for Friday to see what is going on.

Update 30/06/19  Friday was ringing day for the chicks on Greenock Police Station roof and we are pleased to see that Gary’s two chicks are thriving.  They have now been fitted with their BTO and colour rings and we can’t wait for them to fledge to see where they head too. All three of Gary’s previous chicks have been spotted with the 2017 ones being seen in Portugal and last year’s chick in Knightswood Park in Glasgow.

Map updated 21/07/19 Gary is still in Greenock.  We are getting close to his leaving date which for the last two years has surprisingly been the 29th of July.  Will he leave on that day this year?

Update 13/08/19  Gary’s tag hasn’t downloaded since our last update.  He is keeping us waiting to see where he is.  There is a chance his tag has reached the end of its life though as he has now been wearing it for over two years.  We hope not and will let you know if we hear anything.

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




Make a booking