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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LBBG Black 8AH8 Back in the Canary Islands

Yesterday I received news from Yeray Seminario that LBBG B8AH8 is now back at Las Palmas Harbour, Grand Canaria! This gull was ringed as an adult at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey in May 2012, and it was seen regularly in the summer, before being reported from Grand Canaria on 01 December that year by Francisco and Javier del Campo.  I've seen this gull may times in Guernsey in each of the following summers, but it hadn't been reported again from outside the islands until yesterday. This is only the third LBBG known to spend winters in the Canary Islands!
LBBG B8AH8 at Las Palmas Harbour 22 November 2014 (c) Yeray Seminario

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This may just be...As Good As It Gets!

On my first ever trip abroad reading gull colour rings (in January 2009 to the Algarve, Portugal) I found a single Guernsey-ringed bird - and was absolutely thrilled to have done so. It seemed to me like finding a needle in a haystack - something truly awe-inspiring. Since then I've been very fortunate to undertake ring reading trips in Morocco, Portugal, Spain and France, and the thrill of finding my birds abroad has never left me!
It was unimaginable to me when the pioneer gull ring readers Peter Rock and Harry Vercruijsse made trips to Portugal and came back with almost 100 sightings of Guernsey birds. In fact Peter established a record this October when he came back with 102 sightings...the first person ever to break the century mark.
I'm still in very pleasant shock from my recent two week trip to Portugal (Matosinhos to Sines) when I took 156 records of Guernsey and Alderney-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This included a simply staggering day at Eirol Landfill with Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira when we observed 61 of our birds (amongst a record-breaking day for the site of c 140 gull colour ring reads). Of course this is only possible due to all the help on the ground (before and/or during my trip) from fellow gull enthusiasts (Peter Rock, Inocencio Oliveira, Paulo Faria, Malcolm Millais, Tim van Nus, Pedro Moreira and others).
Of course I also observed many gulls from other projects based in Northern and Western Europe and I hope to get all these records to the project leaders next week. For now  I should like to record my deep gratitude for everyone who helped to make this last trip totally awesome! This one really is going to be very hard to beat!!!
Gulls at Eirol Landfill

A Very Happy PKV - Maybe This Really is As Good as it Gets!

Guernsey-ringed Black 2.X0 at Eirol

A few White Storks to Add variety (but wait for the photos from Vil de Matos Landfill Next Week!)

Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira who undertake very valuable gull observations at Eirol

Black 8V6 (another Guernsey bird)

LBBG Black 5CS7 another Alderney youngster!


Friday, November 14, 2014

More Wonderful Gull Sightings!

I've just returned from a two week gull ring reading tip to Northern and Western Portugal, hence the lack of blog postings recently. More of this fabulous trip shortly...but first things first...I'm catching up with gull reports which have come in over the past two weeks. Apologies to observers for the slight delay in replying...but I've almost caught up fully now!
There was a wonderful series of Herring Gulls from Western France, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls from France, Spain and Portugal, but amongst the batch were two "special" ones.
Firstly - another LBBG reported on 09 November by Ruth Garcia Gorria at Sidi Moussa-Walidia Saltpans, Doukkala-Abda, Morocco. This bird - Black 8AN4 - was ringed as an adult male in our garden in July 2012, and has a long history of sightings in Guernsey, as well as a few in Sark (where I think the gull nests).
The other is a Yellow-legged Gull (one of only a handful colour ringed in the Channel Islands), which was ringed at Chouet Landfill during our week of cannon netting with the North Thames Gull Group in May this year. It was a 3rd calendar year bird, and was seen on 07 November 2014 at Hendaye, Pyrenee-Atlantique, France by Alfredo Herrero. It would therefore seem that this immature michahellis was wandering north last may when trapped in Guernsey.

Yellow-legged Gull White 7JM0 at Chouet Landfill - 24 May 2014 (c) Vic Froome


Thursday, October 30, 2014

And Now for Some Exciting LBBG Movements to Africa!

The last two blog posting have covered exciting movements of Guernsey colour-ringed Great Black-backed and Herring gulls. Today it is the turn of Lesser Black-backed Gulls with a recent hat-trick of reports from Morocco. Any gull movements to Africa always make exciting news for us…so to get three in a fortnight is rather special. Two birds (Black 2CK7 and Black 2CH7) were both ringed in May this year at Chouet Landfill. The former was a 3rd year gull, and it returned south quite quickly, being seen near Porto, Portugal on 25 June by Inocencio Oliveira and Teresa Rocha. Black 2CH7 was ringed as an adult male, but not seen again in Guernsey or anywhere else until Jeremy Dupuy and Charlotte Perrot saw both birds at Oued Tamri, Morocco – a straight-line distance from Guernsey of almost 2,200 km!
Today Ruth Garcia Gorria reported LBBG Black 3CH4 (another adult male ringed at Chouet last May) from Sidi Moussa-Walidia Saltpans, Doukkala-Abda, Morocco – a distance of just over 1,900 km from Chouet!
My thanks – as ever- to the observers who take the time and trouble to report colour ringed gulls to us.
LBBGs at Anza Beach, Morocco - December 2013 (c) PKV

PKV gull watching at Oued Tamri - December 2013 (c) Catherine Veron

Monday, October 27, 2014

And now a Thrilling Report of a Herring Gull in Scotland

Hot on the heels of the exciting report of GBBG Yellow 0J3 in Portugal, comes another exceptional sighting! This time it is Herring Gull White 8JA0. We ringed this gull as a 1st winter bird in our garden during a cold snap in November 2013. There were no further sightings of this Herring Gull until this weekend, when we got news from Bob Proctor that it was seen at Lossie Estuary, Moray in the north of Scotland! Chouet Landfill acts as a magnet for Herring Gulls in winter, particularly immature birds, and we know that many of these birds originate in southern England or northern France. However, previous observations of a Norwegian colour-ringed argentatus race Herring Gull at Chouet, and observations in southern Norway of one of our colour-ringed Herring Gulls shows that a minority of these visiting Herring Gulls have travelled much further to reach Guernsey! White 8JA0 is another such gull. It would be wonderful if this bird survives to reach breeding age, and to then produce sightings revealing its true origins!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Remarkable Flight of GBBG Yellow 0J3 to Portugal!

From time to time I get reports of our colour ringed gulls that really make me sit up and take notice! Yesterday Carlos Iván Gutiérrez sent me the most incredible report of one our Great Black-backed Gulls to date. Yellow 0J3 was ringed as a 2nd year bird in April 2009 at Chouet landfill. So far this gull has been recorded 91 times in Guernsey (the last time on 13 September 2014) you can see how I can be forgiven for thinking this is one of my very local birds! However on 23 October Ivan saw and photographed this very bird at Viana do Castelo, Braga in Northern Portugal. This is a straight-line distance from Chouet of 1,000 km! Until this report the furthest one of our GBBGs had been seen was the French/Spanish border. Often people ask me why I am so interested in gulls...and I always tell them that part of the reason is the birds' endless ability to continue to surprise and delight me with their life-styles. Yellow 0J3 is just such a bird!

GBBG Yellow 0J3 at Chouet Landfill and Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

GBBG Yellow 0J3 Viana do Castelo, Braga, Portugal (c) Ivan Carlos Gutiérrez

Friday, October 24, 2014

Still No Caspians at Chouet!

Given Carl Baggot's virtually daily updates on the numbers of Caspian Gulls he is seeing at Shawell Lagoons in Leicestershire ( see Caspian Gulls at Shawell in 2014  ) , and the number seen at Dungeness so far this would have thought I could have found one by now amongst the thousands of Herring Gulls using Chouet landfill. A 2nd Winter Yellow-legged Gull was some compensation yesterday...but the big one still eludes me - despite checking many thousands of Herring Gulls! I'm patiently awaiting the first cold snap of the autumn to see if that may stir things up a little...but the fact that 32 of the 33 cr Great Black-backed Gulls recorded yesterday are birds already known on the island shows that gull movements are still quite limited here at the moment.

Gulls at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

Gulls on Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

One of my locally ringed GBBGs - Yellow 1.VV4 (c) PKV

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Slow Few Weeks in Guernsey

Gull watching in Guernsey has been a bit slow these past few weeks. This is not because there are few gulls...there are very good numbers of Herring Gulls around (including an astonishing proportion are un-ringed birds indicating origins outside the islands for many of these birds). However, the usual autumn flock of Great Black-backed Gulls has been rather disappointing. There are reasonable numbers around with several hundred birds on the north and west coasts, but the number of new colour-ringed birds has been very low - just a few new French birds (mostly from Gilles Le Guillou's project in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime), and a couple of birds from SW England. 1st Winter GBBGs remain surprisingly scarce amongst the flocks of adult and immature birds...maybe they just haven't arrived yet?
Both immature Norwegian-ringed birds seen this week are well-known birds which visit Guernsey frequently. I'm hoping the strong winds today may just stir things up a little!
GBBG Yellow 0.NN4 at Perelle, Guernsey (c) Anthony Loaring


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Portugal Trip Summary

Although I don’t have the ringing details back for all the colour-ringed LBBGs seen on my recent trip to the Algarve, a summary of the countries where the birds were originally ringed is as follows:-
The Channel Islands 31, The Netherlands 29, England 16, France 13, Germany nine, Belgium eight, Norway six, Portugal six, Spain five, Scotland five, Denmark three, Iceland two and Wales one. Grand Total = 134 LBBGs.
The high number of Guernsey birds reflects not only the strength of our gull research projects now, but also the fact that LBBGs from the Channel Islands tend to reach their wintering quarters ahead of gulls from further north, and that Iberia is the principal wintering region for our LBBGs, whereas for colonies further north a much higher percentage of birds winter further south in NW Africa.
Many of the gulls seen on this trip are building very valuable life histories for research projects across much of Western Europe.
The 26 colour ringed Yellow-legged Gulls seen in the Algarve were originally ringed in Portugal (17 ), Spain (eight) and Ceuta (Spanish territory in North Africa) (one) . The only cr Mediterranean Gull was from Vendée, France.

Gulls at Quarteira (c) PKV


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Another Wonderful Trip to Southern Portugal

I’m just back from a very enjoyable trip to the Algarve, Portugal, based near the gull haven of Quarteira, with its fishing port and sandy beaches. During my stay there were good flocks of LBBGs and Yellow-legged Gulls around, and I managed to take 219 gull colour ring reads – the vast majority (183) on LBBGs, with 35 Yellow-legged Gulls and just a single Mediterranean Gull. The LBBGs came from the usual very good spread of projects run in countries from Iceland, through Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain and Portugal. However…the highlights for me were of course the 41 observations of 31 different LBBGs ringed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, including one of this year’s chicks from Burhou, Alderney. Many of these GuernseyGulls show great site fidelity to this area of the Algarve in autumn/winter. My thanks to Michael Davis, who first discovered the Quarteira area as a fantastic place to observe gulls, and also for helping to make sure that I got the best from my most recent visit.

Gulls at Quarteira, Faro, Portugal (c) PKV


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guernsey Pelagic 24 August 2014

One of the highlights of autumn birding in Guernsey is the annual pelagic trip organised by Chris Mourant. Local boat owner Richard Keen has been taking birders out on these trips for many years now. This year a dozen ken birders and photographers set off on 24 August. As usual we circumnavigated Guernsey in an anti-clockwise direction, motoring up to ten miles or so from the coastline.
The weather this year was perfect with very calm seas, and the birding experience was definitely one of quality over quantity. Many of the usual pelagic species were seen including three species of skuas, two shearwaters, a few Common Terns, surprisingly few European Storm-Petrels and a very nice scattering of my favourite (of course) Lesser Black-backed Gulls!
In addition to the birds we also encountered at least two Minke Whales, many Common Dolphins and a few Harbour Porpoises.
Fortunately local bird photographer has sent me a few photos of the start birds (Arctic Skuas) and a very nice close Manx Shearwater.

Arctic Skuas and Manx Shearwater 24 Aug 2014 (c) Tony Loaring
More of Tony's excellent bird photos can be seen on his web site - Antony Loaring Bird & Wildlife Photography



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Norwegian LBBG

The regular autumn west coast flock of LBBGs has not built to its usual levels this autumn. Perhaps many of the birds have also moved south? Amongst less than ten LBBGs at Vazon Beach, Guernsey this morning was Black JR0P. This gull was ringed as a chick in June 2012 on Rauna, Vest-Agder, Norway. It was seen back on Rauna this summer.
This was one of only 15 cr LBBGs observed this morning - all the rest being Guernsey and Alderney-ringed birds.
LBBG Black JR0P at Vazon, Guernsey - (c) PKV


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More Exciting Gull News

It is such a busy time of year at the moment, with so many reports of our colour-ringed gulls outside the Channel Islands that it is very difficult to keep up with blog postings! There have been so many interesting reports in the past few weeks that it is difficult to  pick out  a few highlights. Last week Tin van Nus and Pedro Moreira recorded 39 Guernsey-ringed LBBGs at Eirol Landfill during a single visit, while Salva Garcia and Gerry O’Neill made 15 Guernsey LBBG colour ring observations at Malaga Port last weekend! The Madrid Gull Team is also reporting a build-up of our gulls on the landfills in central Spain…and there have been a whole plethora of reports from beaches in northern Spain and all down Portugal’s west coast.
Herring Gulls are not to be over-looked either, with many of the locally nesting birds now being reported from their regular autumn/wintering areas along the French coast from Calvados to Loire-Atlantique.
The first of the locally-ringed wandering immature GBBGs are also now turning up in SW England, with Dawlish Warren (watched in the main by Lee Collins) being one of the most productive sites for our birds.
However…pride of place over the past few weeks must go to Yellow-legged Gull Black 1AT2, which was recorded on 5th September 2014 at Pavoa de Varzim, Porto, Portugal by Inocencio Oliveira and Teresa Rocha. This gull was originally ringed as a juvenile bird in our garden in July 2012, before being reported on a number of occasions between January 2013 and January 2014 from Catalunya, Spain. This young gull has therefore now been reported on both the east and west coasts of Iberia!
Yellow-legged Gull at Pavoa de Varzim, Porto, Portugal on 05 September 2014 (c) Inocencio Oliveira



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

And yet another old Great Black-backed Gull!

A very quick look at Chouet Landfill Beach this morning enabled me to read another metal ring on a GBBG, and this one proved to be another 20+ year old gull. I ringed Jersey E4960 as a chick in June 1992, and hadn't recorded it again until today...when it is now more than 22 years and two months old - absolutely fantastic!
GBBG E4960 amongst roosting GBBGs at CLB (c) PKV