Report Guernsey Colour Ringed Gulls

Sightings of Guernsey colour ringed Gulls can be entered here for an instant life history, or sent to for a life history to be returned by e-mail to observers.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Herring Gulls from further North

I have received three reports this month from The Netherlands (North Holland and then South Holland) of a Herring Gull colour ringed in GuernseyWhite 8JA0. What is more...this same bird has previously been reported from Scotland in October 2014! These would be exceptional movements for a locally-reared bird. However, this gull was caught in November 2013, in its first winter, during one of our infrequent winter gull catches. It is still a very exciting series of movements, but the gull is most likely to originate from a colony much further north than Guernsey, which was wintering in the islands in 2013.
Herring Gull White 8JA0 at Mejendl Beach, South Holland (c) Vincent van der Spek


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lesser Black-backed Gulls from Northern Europe

When we began our intensive week-long colour ringing at Chouet Landfill each late May/early June we assumed that pretty much all the birds present at the landfill were local birds. We now know this to be far from the truth with many adult gulls being present which are not breeding, and with significant numbers of immature gulls from colonies further north still passing through the islands at that time.
In the past few weeks I’ve received reports of three such birds, all ringed as immatures in May at Chouet Landfill, and subsequently reported from The Netherlands (two) and Norway (one).
Without the colour ringing programmes we would never have known just how important Chouet landfill has been for migrating and dispersing gulls, as well as to those nesting locally.
Gulls over Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The 2015 Seabird Season Gets Well Underway

2015 is a very important year for monitoring nesting seabirds in the Channel Islands, because this is Year One of the next British National Seabird Census. Most of our seabird colonies have not been accurately censused since the last national initiative in 2000!
Our earliest nesting seabirds are usually Great Cormorants, and this year is no exception. Our visits to the small colonies north of Herm and on the west coast of Guernsey resulted in counts of 36 and 16 active nests a total of 52 breeding pairs. There will be some birds to add to this Bailiwick total from Alderney, and possibly a few more from other tiny colonies. The nesting productivity seems up to par with recent years too.
In total 27 chicks were colour ringed on our first visit to the largest colony north of Herm.

The first seabird monitoring trip of 2015.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Seabird Cameras in the Channel Islands

This year we have a Seabird Camera operating on a European Shag nest on Jethou Island. At the moment the solar powered camera records an image every five minutes, but we are hoping to upgrade this to a live camera feed shortly.
There are also seabird cams on the Atlantic Puffins on Burhou, Alderney and hopefully there will soon be one on the Northern Gannet colonies off Alderney too.
Click below to see the details for all these cameras:-

Many thanks to Glyn Young and Birds on the Edge for this very helpful link and blog posting on BTE.

A recent image from the Shag Nest Camera (no eggs as of today!).









Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lots of activity on the beaches

An hour before work this morning at Chouet Landfill Beach resulted in another 180+ cr reads from the increasingly active gulls. With the 2015 breeding season fast approaching there was plenty of display behaviour and also courtship on the beach this morning. It's a wonderful time of year to study gulls' fascinating courtship rituals.
After the watch I did a short TV interview for the local news - hopefully promoting the fascinating lives of our gull populations. Just no time for any photos this morning - sorry!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New Herring Gull from SW England and GBBG from Seine-Maritime, France

A cold NE wind this morning at Chouet Landfill Beach reminded me that it is still early spring in Guernsey! Not that the cool weather put the gulls off...there were good numbers at the landfill. A one hour watch at the adjacent beach resulted in c 160 ring reads (110 LBBGs, 40 Herring Gulls and 11 GBBGs). I'm always thrilled to record our colour ringed LBBGs returning at this time of year, but other highlights were a Herring Gull (Yellow C+Z)  ringed by Peter Rock in SW England, and another new GBBG (Black 43S) ringed by Gilles Le Guillou at Seine-Maritime, France.
GBBG Black 43S from Seine-Maritime, France (c) PKV

Herring Gull Yellow C+Z from SW England (c) PKV

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Just about as fast as it gets!

For the first hour this morning at Chouet landfill Beach I recorded colour ringed gulls at the eye-straining rate of 216 birds per hour! That's just about as fast as I ever get here...and after an hour I was ready for a cup of coffee! Conditions this morning were perfect - a slow rising tide pushing the birds ever closer on the beach, and few dogs passing flushing the gulls. In 90 minutes I recorded just over 100 cr LBBGs (including a Portuguese-ringed bird first seen in Guernsey last year - Blue M:012).
I also recorded 140 Herring Gulls and 14 GBBGs - including three French-ringed birds. All in all a wonderful start to the day!
Gulls on Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

LBBG B8N7 (recorded in Portugal this winter) (c) PKV LBBG 3.H5 has never been recorded in winter (over four years since ringing) (c) PKV

LBBG Blue M:012 - ringed Figueira da Foz by Rute Costa (c) PKV


LBBG B0AW4 (recorded this winter on autumn passage in Northern Spain by Gilberto Jardon and Oscar Chao, then in Northern Morocco by Peter Rock, Nils Helge-Lorentzen and PKV, and in Portugal on return passage by Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira) (c) PKV

Gulls on Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

100+ cr LBBGs and a French-ringed Herring Gull

A 90 minute trip to Chouet Landfill and then half an hour at Chouet Landfill Beach resulted in my first 100+ cr LBBG day of the spring! Amongst the ringed Herring Gulls was Light Blue B93G from Seine-Maritime, France.

Gulls at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV Black 9V0 winters in the Canary Islands, while Black 2AC5 winters in Spain each year.

Friday, February 27, 2015

85 cr LBBGs today - including a Spanish-ringed adult

Today the light was very much better than yesterday, and there were also more gulls present at Chouet. A one hour watch at Chouet Landfill Beach produced more than 100 cr gull observations including 85 of our returning LBBGs. There was also a Spanish-ringed adult on the beach today - White N0A6.

Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach - the wind made them very flighty this morning (c) PKV

Thursday, February 26, 2015

And another 26 cr LBBGs

Well...I couldn't resist another look at Pembroke and Chouet landfill Beaches at a slightly better state of the tide...and this proved to be  good decision with another 26 of our cr LBBGs back on the beaches after their winter sojourns in NW France and Iberia. More will be arriving by the day really is one of my very favourite times of the year! last I'm back in the field...and just in time!

After very little time in the field recording gulls since the turn of the year, I just had to get out in the drizzle this morning. Visibility was poor...but as expected I very soon found some Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Pembroke Beach...and three of them were carrying our colour rings. Two had been in Iberia for the winter...and I was lucky enough to see one of them (B8AL5) at Eirol Landfill. Portugal (with Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira) in November. That was such a nice reward for the brief session this morning! It feels really good to know that our LBBGs are returning now in force for the 2015 season!
LBBG B8AL5 on passage in NW Spain - José Vidal August 2012
LBBG B0AH4 Chouet July 2013 (c) PKV 

Friday, February 13, 2015

To boldly go...

Peter Rock, Nils-Helge Lorentzen and I spent the last ten days of January on a gull ring reading expedition to Northern Morocco. Although several gull observers (including me) had been to Southern Morocco in recent winters, the Northern part of the country (from Tangiers to Oualidia) has been sadly neglected for far too many years. It was clearly very important for gull research in many countries in Western Europe that the area was once again explored for gulls - hence our trip.
And so what were the conclusions:-
  1. First and foremost the north-western coastline of Morocco is of major importance to wintering (and presumably passage) Lesser Black-backed Gulls from a wide part of their breeding range (at least from Norway, through Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Britain...and yes...the Channel Islands!).
  2. This area needs much more attention from gull researchers in future winters. Not all Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Morocco go to Anza!
  3. And order to get the best work done it is necessary to access several fishing ports and landfill sites - and this will very definitely require authorisation in writing in advance (almost certainly achieved through one of the Moroccan universities)
The main concentrations of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were found at the following sites:-

Larache 3,000

Moulay Bousselhem 2,000

Kenitra 20,000

Kenitra Landfill 2,000

Rabat 6,000

Skhirat 400

Casa fishing port 3,000

Tit Mellil Landfill 3,000

El Jadida 16,000 (of which 9,000 at the landfill)

Oualidia Landfill 1,500
Kenitra and El Jadida were relatively easy to work, mainly in the case of the latter through the very hard work of local Ruth Garcia Gorria (and her husband) who ensured that we received support for our scientific work at the local university . This enabled access to the fishing port and the landfill at El Jadida. Although in other areas access to the fishing ports and landfills was far more problematical, all the Moroccan authorities were at least understanding and very polite with us - even if they did not have the authority to let us enter the areas with telescopes (which were frequently wrongly believed to be cameras).
We recorded 350+ colour-ringed LBBGs, and a high percentage of these gulls had not been recorded in the area in any previous winters (because of the lack of visits by gull watchers!). The majority of the birds were from Northern Europe (Norway, Germany and Denmark), but there was also a good representation of gulls from Britain and other countries in western Europe. I was personally delighted that we recorded 28 different LBBGs ringed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
As well as these LBBG colour ring reads we also secured a good number of colour ring reads on Audouin's Gulls, as well as a few Mediterranean Gulls, White Storks, a single Sandwich Tern and one Eurasian Oystercatcher. 
It is now to be hoped that in future winters other gull recorders will follow in our footsteps and make more highly valuable observations of colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Northern Morocco.

 A small selection of photos from Northern Morocco