Report Guernsey Colour Ringed Gulls

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Monday, May 31, 2010

A Thousand Large Gulls Caught in 48 hours

Catching Gulls at Chouet Landfill 

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Paul Roper, six other members of the North Thames Gull Group and the Guernsey Seabird Team and supporters, we managed to catch, ring and release just over a thousand large gulls (184 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 824 Herring Gulls)at Guernsey’s landfill site over two days. This fantastic effort will now provide much valuable data on the Bailiwick of Guernsey’s populations of Herring and Lesser Black-backed gulls for many years ahead. This is very important especially as major changes in our gull populations and behaviour can be expected as the island moves away from the land filling of organic waste in the near future.

A fuller account and some photos will be posted in due course....once we have got our breath back!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Guernsey 2010 Seabird season gets underway

Chris and Mish ringing Cormorants on Longue Pierre
Thanks to Dave Perrio three members of the Guernsey Seabird Team (Chris Mourant, Michelle Hooper and me) managed to get out to two of the islets making up The Humps - just north of Herm. We had the necessary permission to visit the islets to monitor the Great Cormorant colony on the Humps. Initially things looked poor when a sea mist meant we could not even see Herm from Guernsey's harbour. However, the mist cleared just before our early afternoon departure. With a light NE breeze sea conditions were a little bumpy, but thanks to Dave's seamanship he landed us on both Godin and Longue Pierre. For the past 20+ years all the Cormorants had been on Godin, but in 2009 they caught us out by also nesting on Longue Pierre.

Cormorant chicks on Longue Pierre
This is also the case in 2010 with c 20 active nests on both islets. It looks like an "early" season for cormorants as we were only able to ring about half the chicks - 21 in all.


Boat at Godin - Herm in background

Longue Pierre
It was also very good news for European Shag, which also appear to be nesting successfully and early. We do not normally ring Shag chicks until June, so 47 pulli ringed on this quick trip was a good total, and an encouraging sign that the 2010 season in the Bailiwick of Guernsey may be fairly productive for this species.

Ringing Shag chicks on Longue Pierre
Both islands also hosted 20+ pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls, and there were good  numbers of Common Guillemots on Longue Pierre.

Great Black-backed Gull nest Godin

A full write-up of this trip will appear on my web site ( in the next few days - under the Section Seabird Visits 2010.

Once again a big thank you to Dave for all his help in getting us out there.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Further news of a Great Black-backed Gull seen in Guernsey in January 2009

As many gull watchers will know the Norwegian ringing scheme's computer database of colour ringed birds is truly outstanding. News of the colour ringed birds seen quite literally comes with the click of the computer mouse. Equally impressive is the fact that the system automatically informs you if one of the birds you have seen is re-sighted. This must add a further boost to observers to report their colour ringed bird sightings - something all of us ringers would surely wish to encourage. in today was of a Great Black-backed Gull ringed as a chick in southern Norway  (Mandal, Vest-Agder) on 28 June 2008 (Finn Jorgensen), which I saw on Vazon Beach, Guernsey on 22/01/09. This immature gull has now been seen (22/04/10) at Anse de Guillec, Plougoulm, Finistere, France (Jean-Yves Provost).


just in case some of you may think that I am a little anti-dog - because I sometimes refer to the gull flocks I am watching being disturbed by dog-walkers...let me put the record straight. I grew up with dogs and have a real affinity for them. For the past three weeks we have hosted a friend's Border Terrier, which has increased my levels of fitness considerably as I have taken him for many walks. However, he goes back early next week...and we will all miss him! After he goes back you may find me grumbling about dog-walkers disturbing the gull flocks again...if so...apologies in advance!

Man's Best Friend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Another immature Lesser Black-backed Gull reported from Spain

I was very pleased today to receive a report from Antonio Gutierrez of one of our immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls at A Frouxeira lagoon, Valdoviño, A Coruña, NW Spain on 19 May. This is one of the 43 chicks that Catherine and I managed to ring in one of the Sark coloines on 08 July 2008 - a very poor breeding season for gulls generally here in the Channel Islands. Antonio's is the first sighting of this gull - amongst a flock of c 800 immature LBBGs - must have been some sight!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Islands of the Bailiwick & another British metal-ringed LBBG

LBBG London GC79x21 Pembroke - PKV

Gull flock on Pembroke Beach - PKV

Amongst a small number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Pembroke Beach this morning was another British metal-ringed bird. I managed to get a good read of all digits except one (unfortunately in the middle of the ring), but the bird is a 2nd summer gull (i.e. born in summer 2008)...whether this is enough to trace this bird remains to be seen. It was London GC79x21

Over the past few days we have taken a few photos while walking on Guernsey to show how close some of the other islands of the Bailiwick are to us here.

Herm & Jethou from SE Guernsey - Catherine Veron

Sark from SE Guernsey - Catherine Veron

Alderney from North Guernsey - PKV

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another fabulous gull weekend

LBBG Blue CHN courting Chouet landfill - PKV

LBBG E 14863 Chouet landfill 15 May 10 - PKV

Chouet landfill had more immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Saturday than I have seen for a long time. There were around 100 2nd and 3rd summer LBBGs present. I managed to read one 2nd summer with a British ring (London GC59368 and one that Catherine and I had ringed as a chick on Breniere, Sark on 07 July 2007 (Jersey E 14863).

25 locally colour ringed LBBGs were recorded - none new for the spring.

LBBG 1.U8 Chouet landfill - PKV

LBBG Black 1.P5 Chouet landfil - PKV

On Sunday Catherine and I managed to catch four more Lesser Black-backed Gulls, along with a few Herring Gulls, in our garden. Thanks again to Phil Alexander for getting us back in action so soon!

LBBG Black 1.S2 Ty Coed - Catherine Veron

LBBG Black 1.R0 Ty Coed - PKV

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gull counts for Herm & a big thanks to Phil Alexander

Gulls nesting on Herm's south-east cliffs - 23 April - PKV

Local BTO representative Phil Alexander has very kindly given me his gull counts for the BTO Atlas survey in relation to Herm Island. The counts were made in mid-April and are impressive - giving 430 Herring Gulls, 100 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 75 Great Black-backed Gulls. The densest concentrations (not surprisingly) are on the island's south-east cliffs. It is hoped this year to follow the fortunes of these nesting gulls a little more closely than in 2009 (when the Herring Gulls appeared to be quite successful).

Also a very big thank you to Phil for making me two new poles for my garden clap net. Made within 24 hours of my call for help...Phil's much appreciated efforts should ensure that we can try to catch a few more gulls at Ty Coed on Sunday.

LBBG Black 1.R1 at Ty Coed - 08 May 2010 - PKV

LBBG Black 1.R1 Chouet landfill Beach 10 May 2010 - PKV

Monday, May 10, 2010

A weekend of mixed fortunes

The weekend was characterised by a very good session at Chouet landfill on Saturday morning, with 34 colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls observed - many at very close range enabling some nice photos to be taken. As expected this late in the spring no new birds were recorded.

Blue ACE - a well-known LBBG originally ringed in winter in Gloucester, England, but most likely a Channel Island nesting gull.

Another highlight was yet another first record of a 1st summer Great Black-backed Gull from Gilles Le Guillou's project based at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France (Black 84E).

The rest of the weekend was a little more mixed in that Catherine and I did manage to catch a small number of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in our garden, but we had major problems initially with the clap net (which I could redress) and then the copper poles (which I could only mend very short term). All too soon both poles bent far too much and became unserviceable - ending what would otherwise no doubt have been a very productive gull catching effort.

BBBG Black 1.P0 Ty Coed

LBBG Black 1.R1 - Ty Coed

LBBG Black 1.P9 Ty Coed

Herring Gull White 6.KK7 (originally metal ringed as a chick in June 2007 on Jethou by PKV et al)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A busy couple of hours at Chouet Landfill

Chouet landfill 06 May 2010 - PKV

After several days with very few colour rings seen, today was much better. Chouet landfill was particularly busy for Lesser Black-backed Gulls with >450 birds around. 31 of my colour rings were read, but the highlight was a metal ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull, (Jersey E 14864), which Catherine and I had ringed in July 2007 as a chick in one of the small Sark sub-colonies. Another metal ringed LBBG (E 7762) had been ringed as a chick on another of the Sark colonies by Jamie Hooper in July 1999.

Gulls resting at Chouet landfill - PKV

LBBG White 4.T3 Chouet landfill - PKV

LBBG White 3.Z5 Chouet landfill - PKV

Herring Gull White 5.SS2 Chouet landfill 06 May 10 - PKV

Monday, May 3, 2010

A late arriving Lesser Black-backed Gull and a visiting Great Black-backed Gull goes to Norway!

An interesting few days produced another new Guernsey colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull arriving back on the island - White 6.T2. This is the first new bird seen in 10 days. It had been ringed as an adult male in early June 2009 at Chouet Landfill and was seen on 09 and 10 October 2009 at Esmelle Beach, A Coruna, Spain (Antonio Gutierrez and Paco Veiga).

After three weekends trying we finally managed to catch a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the garden at Ty Coed. It is really fantastic to be handling these birds again.

LBBG Black 0.H8 Ty Coed - PKV

LBBG Black 0.X9 Ty Coed - PKV

We also caught a few Herring Gulls, including White 5.XX7 which we had ringed as a chick on The Humps north of Herm, Guernsey on 01/07/09, and which I have seen 13 times in the north of Guernsey since.

Herring Gull White 5.XX7 - Longue Pierre - 01/07/09 - PKV

Herring Gull White 5.XX7 Ty Coed - 03 May 10 - PKV

Paul Roper of the North Thames Gull Group very kindly let me know that Great Black-backed Gull Orange GC9.T, which the Group ringed at Pitsea, Essex, England on 09/01/10, and which I had seen at Chouet, Guernsey from 17 - 27 March 2010, had been seen on 30/04/10 at Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway (Morten Helberg).

GBBG Orange GC9.T Chouet March 2010 - PKV

GBBG Orange GC9.T Vest-Agder, Norway - 30 April 10 - Morton Helberg

GBBG Orange GC9.T Vest-Agder, Norway - 30 April 10 - Morton Helberg