A SEAGULL which swanned around Linwood in the spring has winged it to Morocco in an epic 2,000 mile flight.

The far-travelled bird has swapped Renfrewshire for North Africa where it is following fishing boats in the Mediterranean in the hope of picking up a free lunch.

Movements of the lesser black-backed gull are being checked daily by ornithologists at Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park who caught the bird at Lochwinnoch in the spring and fitted it with a small satellite tracking device as part of a pioneering study.

The bird’s migration is of particular interest to Houston Primary pupil Jasmine Rae, who named the bird “Flyback”, after a park team visited the school to talk about the project.

Hayley Douglas, project officer, said: “Lesser black-backed gulls are migratory. They spend the spring and summer here then go south in the Autumn – but Flyback left particularly early.”

She said the bird’s urge to migrate was the likely reason, rather than the bad summer weather.

Hayley said information relayed back via the satellite device in the spring showed him making regular visits to a rooftop in Linwood where he may have had a nest.

However, on July 22 he started heading south and within a few days had flown over Wales, the south of England and the Brest Peninsula in France.

During August, he flew to Portugal and then crossed the sea in an 11-hour journey to Casablanca in Morocco.

Hayley said the intrepid Flyback might even go as far as the Gambia in West Africa to spend the winter.

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