When I studied passerines, spring was often heralded by the first returning Common Chiffchaff or Northern Wheatear...but for me these days...this honour goes to the first Lesser Black-backed Gull which is known to have wintered south of Guernsey. This year the first colour ringed bird back is Black 8AA9, an adult male ringed in May 2011. This bird has spent each of the last three winters around the Aviles estuary, Asturias, Spain. I first saw this gull back on 16 March in 2012, then 21 February in 2013...so this year is the earliest return so far recorded. It was last seen at Aviles on 31 December 2013.
LBBG Black 8AA9 at Chouet in March 2012
LBBG Black 8AA9 at Zeluan Beach, Aviles, Spain (c) Ivan Díaz Pallares
LBBG B8AA9's Annual Migrations 2011-2014