New Zealand Seagull Found on Coffs Coast

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29 November 2017

Article heading image for New Zealand Seagull Found on Coffs Coast

Steve Attwood

It seems that even New Zealand Seagulls are interested in the Coffs Coast.

Back in September, Mullaway man Graham Jupp noticed a dead seagull on the rocks at the Woolgoolga Headland, and after taking a closer look he discovered a tag on the bird.

The tag said, “SEND NATIONAL MUSEUM NEW ZEALAND", with a corresponding serial number.

After taking a photo of the bird, Mr Jupp then went online to report the find.

PHOTO: Graham Jupp

Within a matter of days, he received a response from the Department of Conservation to confirm that the bird was in fact from New Zealand.

According to the response, “Band number E-203088 was placed on a female Red-billed gull as a chick at Kaikoura Peninsula, New Zealand on 19/11/2007. This bird was last seen at Oriental Parade, Wellington, New Zealand on 18 August 2014”.

The correspondence went on to say that Dr Jim Mills, who put the band on the bird in 2007, has been conducting a Red-billed gull study at Kaikoura for over 50 years has never had one of his birds seen or recovered from Australia.

According to the Department, “this recovery is very unique/strange and interesting”.

Mr Jupp also contacted the Australian Bird Guide author, Rohan Clarke, who believes the find may also be quite unique for Australia, as Red-billed gulls aren't usually found here although they look similar to our Silver gulls.

But how did it get to Australia? One suggestion is the possibility that it had followed a cruise ship or freighter where food for the journey would have been more accessible.

Either way, most locals wouldn’t be surprised that the kiwi visitor decided to call the Coffs Coast home.

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