Although it is very early in my research on Lesser Black-backed Gulls breeding in the Channel Islands, Mark Lawlor has kindly mapped the reports from 2009 - both for birds ringed as adults and as chicks.
Over the next few days I will post these maps - starting with the reports of 1st winter birds.
Mark Lawlor - Guernsey's Bird Recorder - sent me the following very nice photo of Herring Gull White 2.JJ2 taken on 25 January 2010 at Rousse Bay, Guernsey. This is less than 2 km from our garden (Ty Coed) where this gull was ringed as an adult female on 31 May 2009. Surprisingly it has only been recorded twice before - on 07/06/09 on Vazon Bay (Julian Medland) and on 18/07/09 at Chouet landfill Beach (PKV).
Herring Gull White 2.JJ2 at Rousse, Guernsey - Mark Lawlor
A biting cold strong NW wind rather dampened the gull watching at Chouet landfill this morning. The 54 colour ring reads were hard work with most of the birds being somewhat distant too. An adult Yellow-legged Gull was a bonus.
Amongst the Herring Gulls were Blue BHC (originally ringed at Gloucester landfill as a 2nd winter in January 2007 - Peter Stewart - seen eight times in Guernsey since 17/02/09), alongside White 1.XX7 (ringed in our garden at Ty Coed in May 2009- but then recorded on 25 October in Greater London, England (Johnny Allan). First recorded back in Guernsey on 25 January 2010.
Herring Gulls Blue BHC and White 1.XX7 - Chouet landfill - P K Veron
Around 100 Great Black-backed Gulls were present - including six French birds and five locals. All six French birds were known to me - Blue 93D (Le Havre, Seine-Maritime - pullus female in June 2009) - recorded in Guernsey on 09 and 14 January 2010), Blue 73D (chick at Le Havre in June 2009 - 10th record in Guernsey since 22/09/09), Black 13E and Black 17E (both chicks at Fecamp, Seine-Maritime the former seen previously on 25 and 30/09/09 Guernsey...and the latter 23/01/10 in Guernsey). All four birds are from Gilles Le Guillou's projects based at Le Havre.
GBBG Black 13E Pembroke Bay - P K Veron
GBBG Blue 73D Chouet landfill - P K Veron
Also seen were Green E.87 (1st Winter) and Green A87 (3rd winter) - both from Chausey Islands, Manche (Seb Provost). The former seen on 02, 25 and 30 January in Guernsey, while the latter has been seen 10 times since 16/10/08 (with a record from Erquy, Manche, France in between).
Once again Lesser Black-backed Gulls had increased in number to 27 birds - but the only colour ringed bird was White 3.T8 - which was the first of my known gulls to come back to Guernsey on 15 January 2009.
Herring Gull White 6.AA4, ringed as a chick on Lihou Island off the west coast of Guernsey, was seen on 26 January 2010 at Sizewell, Suffolk, England (Jon Gibbs). This movement north-east (429 km) is unusual, as most locally born Herring Gulls either linger around the Channel Islands in winter, or disperse west and south along the French Channel coast, travelling as far as the Vendee and Loire-Atlantique regions.
At lunchtime I took a quick look at Bordeaux harbour on the north-east coast of Guernsey. With low tide c 50 Herring Gulls and 30 Black-headed Gulls were resting on the beach.
Bordeaux Harbour (Herm Island in background) - P K Veron
Amongst the Herring Gulls was White 5.XX9 - ringed as a chick in June 2009 on Longue Pierre islet (to the north of Herm), and White 1.RR0 (ringed as a 1st summer female on 10 May 2009 in our garden at Ty Coed).
Herring Gull White 5.XX9 at Bordeaux - P K Veron
Herring Gull White 1.RR0 - Bordeaux harbour - P K Veron
I also came across Great Black-backed Gull Green E.87 (which I had seen earlier in the day at Chouet landfill). Ringed on Chausey Islands - Seb Provost.
GBBG Green E.87 at Bordeaux Harbour - P K Veron
To finish off I popped into the adjacent Banque Imbert car-park (where gulls are often fed scraps by people at lunchtime). Jersey E 15061 (1st winter) Herring Gull was tame enough to read the metal ring here. This bird was ringed as a chick in June 2009 at Jerbourg Cliffs by Chris Mourant.
The highlight at Chouet landfill this morning was the sighting of Lesser Black-backed Gull metal Jersey E4527. I ringed this gull as a chick in one of the Sark colonies in July 1990 - so the bird is now in its 20th year! It is amazing to think how far this gull has flown in its lifetime (almost certainly wintering in Iberia), and how many chicks it has raised successfully over its long life!
LBBG E 4527 at Chouet landfill - P K Veron
LBBG White 3.T8 (originally seen on 15/01/10) was also in the landfill this morning.
LBBG White 3.T8 at Chouet landfill - P K Veron
64 locally colour ringed Herring Gulls were recorded. Great Black-backed Gulls were noticeabl;y scarcer today - with ony c 40 birds, but this included two (already known) French birds from the Chausey Islands (Seb Provost) Green E.87 (first seen in Guernsey on 02/01/10) and Green E.30 (first seen in Guernsey on 07/11/09). Interestingly both of these birds had been seen at Portland, Dorset, England (Martin Cade) before travelling to Guernsey.
Peter Stewart has kindly confirmed that Herring Gull Blue 493, which was seen at Chouet landfill on 25 January 2010, was ringed at Gloucester landfill, England as a 1st winter on 28/10/06. It had been seen in Gloucester in January and December 2008 (John Sanders), but there were then no further sightings until the gull turned up in Guernsey.
Also amongst the large number of locally colour ringed Herring Gulls at Chouet landfill on 25 January was White 3.PP6. This gull had been ringed as an adult female at Chouet Landfill on 05/06/09, and had been seen several times in the north of the island up until 18/07/09. It was then reported from Briqueville-sur-Mer, Manche, France on 13/09/09 (Emmanuel Chabot). This is another example of one of the Herring Gulls nesting in Guernsey, which had left the island for the autumn/winter, returning very early in the new year - presumably to begin preparations for its next breeding attempt.
It was so grey this morning before work that a Barn Owl was still out hunting L’Ancresse Common when I went to Chouet to look for gulls. Poor light reduced success but 24 colour rings were read – 21 Herring Gulls (including one Green ring white code BP8 – of as yet unknown origin) and 3 Great Black-backed Gulls (two Guernsey birds and Blue 47D a well known 2nd winter bird - 26th sighting in Guernsey since 05/02/09 - from Seine-Maritime, France (Gilles Le Guillou).
News in from Javier Marchamalo that Lesser Black-backed Gulls White 1.U3 (adult from Sark) and Black 0.H9 (1st winter from Burhou) are still at Pinto Landfill, Madrid, Spain.
LBBG Black 0.H9 Pinto Landfill, Madrid, Spain - photo Javier Marchamalo
Black 0.H9 Burhou, Alderney 10 July 2009 - photo Catherine Veron
On 13th January 2010 Lesser Black-backed Gull (LBBG) White 8.Z0 was seen at Porto de Lagos landfill, near Portimao, Algarve, Portugal by Stef Waasdorp. Today this gull is back home here in Guernsey…although to be accurate it actually nests in one of the colonies on Sark. Given the cold weather here I’m surprised it hasn’t stayed longer in Portugal, but it was noticeable today that several new LBBGs have arrived. There were 10 birds on Chouet landfill Beach, and as well as White 8.Z0 there was White 1.T6. This Lesser Black-backed Gull was ringed as a chick in Sark in 1999, and caught in our garden in Guernsey in May 2009 as an adult female (when the colour ring was added). Although I saw this bird 15 times in 2009 (last on 16th August), there were no reports of it over the winter period.
LBBG White 8.Z0 home from Portugal - Chouet landfill Beach - photo P K Veron
Less than 50 Great Black-backed Gulls were in Chouet landfill this morning, but this included two French birds – both from Chausey Islands, Manche (Seb Provost). Green A87 ringed as a chick on 01/07/07 (seen nine times in Guernsey since 16/10/08), and Green E.87 ringed as a chick on 02/07/09 – then seen at Portland Bill, Dorset, England on 22/10/09 (Martin Cade) before first being seen in Guernsey on 02/01/10.
GBBG Green A87 Chouet landfill - photo P K Veron
After being closed on Sunday, c 1,500 Herring Gulls were feeding voraciously at Chouet landfill. 57 local colour ringed birds recorded including White 1.XX7 (ringed as an adult male on 25/05/09 in our garden in Guernsey), which had been seen on 25/10/09 at Beddington Sewage Farm, Greater London, England (Johnny Allan). It is noticeable now how several Herring Gulls which have been recorded away from the island over the autumn/winter period are now turning up in Guernsey again.
Herring Gulls at Chouet landfill 24 January 2010 - photo P K Veron
Finally another dozen locally colour-ringed Herring Gulls were seen on Chouet landfill Beach, along with an adult Herring Gull carrying a Blue 493 (orange code) – one of the Severn Estuary Ringing Group’s birds (Peter Stewart).
All in all an excellent gull watching session before work!
News in from Stef Waasdorp and Joost Valkenburg that they have seen two 1st winter and two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls from Guernsey around Portimao, Algarve, Portugal. These include Black 0.A9 ringed on Burhou, Alderney on 10 July 2009 (and originally seen at Portimao by Morten Helberg on 14 December 2009)
Black 0.A9 on Burhou 10 July 2009 photo CatherineVeron
Black 0.A9 Portimao Fish Port - 14 December 2009 - photo Morten Helberg
Also adult White 2.T3 ringed in our garden at Ty Coed, Guernsey on 31 May 2009, and seen on 31/12/09 by Nelson Fonseca and Stef Waasdorp at Portimao Fish Port and Ferragudo Beach, Algarve (respectively).
White 2.T3 Guernsey 31 May 2009 - photo Catherine Veron
2.T3 at Portimao 14 December 2009 - photo Nelson Fonseca
News in too from Daniel Lopez Velasco that White 4.V5 (1st winter from Burhou, Alderney) is still at Gijon Harbour, Asturias, Spain.
White 4.V5 on Burhou 10 July 2009 - photo Catherine Veron
White 4.V5 El Musel Harbour, Gijon - photo Pablo Fernández Pérez
Very little time today to look for gulls - so a real bonus to find a new 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull on Perelle Beach (west coast of Guernsey). Black (yellow code) 17E is one of the chicks ringed by Gilles Le Guillou in the summer of 2009 in Seine-Maritime, France.
It was on the beach with a flock of 32 GBBGs (including Blue 30C) - another of Gilles' GBBGs from Le Havre, France - but this bird is very well known in Guernsey.
Also one of the Herring Gull chicks from Pleinmont Cliffs, Guernsey (June 2009) on Perelle Beach.
Herring Gull 5.VV8 Pleinmont 30 June 2009 - P K Veron
Herring Gull 5.VV8 Chouet Beach - August 2009 - P K Veron
Martin Cade has informed me that one of the Great Black-backed Gull chicks ringed on Crevichon, Jethou on 9th June 2009 was seen at Portland Bill, Dorset, England on 22 January. This bird (Yellow 0L3) may even be the sibling of another chick from Crevichon (Yellow 0L1) which Martin saw at Portland on 28 August 2009.
Another of the 2009 chicks (this one ringed on Lihou, Guernsey on 24 June 2009) was seen at Portland on 21 October 2009 by Nick Hull.
Two of the 128 Guernsey-colour ringed Herring Gulls seen at Chouet on 21 January 2010 had returned from France. Both of these gulls had been ringed as adult females on 5th June 2009 at Chouet landfill, and both can be assumed to be local nesting birds.
White 3.CC7 was seen at Ouistreham, Calvados, France on 2nd September 2009 (Emmanuel Chabot), while White 3.PP7 had been seen at Mesanger Landfill, Loire-Atlantique, France on 19th November 2009 (Vincent Tanqueray).
The movements of Guernsey nesting Herring Gulls outside the breeding season are interesting, for while some birds remain in Guernsey all year, others (including 1st winter, immature and adult birds) disperse to France - with the most common direction being south to Vendee. A smaller number of birds move north to the south coast of England with a few birds reaching the landfill sites around Gloucester.
White 3.PP7 at Mesenger landfill, Loire-Atlantique, France. Photo Vincent Tanqueray
As the light is slowly beginning to pull out in the mornings I managed an hour at Chouet landfill before work. A superb session with 3,000+ gulls - mostly Herring, but with c 100 Great Black-backed Gulls and 8 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
The highlight was the return of Lesser Black-backed Gull White 6.Z8 (originally ringed as an adult in one of the Sark nesting colonies in May 2009). Seen in Guernsey until 29/08/09, then recorded four times over the winter (from 25/09/09 - 04/12/09 at two landfills in North-west France).
Chouet landfill 21 January 2010
88 colour ringed Herrng Gulls recorded - all Guernsey birds, except Orange JR.2T (the 1st winter from Essex - Paul Roper).
Only five cr Great Black-backed Gulls this morning - four Guernsey birds (three adults and one 1st winter) and one from France - Blue 26C (Seine-Maritime - Gilles Le Guillou).
Great Black-backed Gull Yellow 0J3 (Guernsey)
GBBG Yellow 0P0 (Guernsey)
I was also very pleased today to receive news from Gabriel Martin in Spain of the sighting of LBBG White5.U8 on 16 January 2010 at Alcazar de San Juan landfill, Cuidad Real, (ringed on the nest on Burhou, Alderney in June 2009) and seen at Portimao, Portugal on 16 September 2009 (Rob Voesten and Stef Waasdorp).
LBBG 5.U8 Alcazar de San Juan - Gabriel Martin
40 more cr Herring Gulls (all local) during 30 minutes at Chouet landfill and Chouet Landfill Beach at lunchtime.
Colder temperatures today, combined with an early morning high tide pushing the birds off the beaches, resulted in very good numbers of gulls at Chouet Landfill first thing in the morning. I was only able to watch for 30 minutes before work, but amongst the 2,000+ Herring Gulls and 150+ Great Black-backed Gulls I recorded 34 local Herring Gull colour rings, along with four Great Black-backed Gulls (one Guernsey-ringed and three French birds). There were only five Lesser Black-backed Gulls (no rings).
Blue 30C (from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime – Gilles Le Guillou) is a very well known gull. This was my 43rd encounter with this bird since my first sighting on 18 September 2008. The two other French GBBGs were both from Chausey Islands, Manche (Seb Provost). Both were known to me. Green B.36 (ringed as a chick in June 2008) was seen in Guernsey from 12-26 February 2009, before turning up in Granville Port on 20 June 2009 (Jaques Alamargot). It re-appeared at Chouet landfill, Guernsey on 15 January 2010. Green E.04 (a chick from the summer of 2009) was seen in Guernsey at Chouet on 08 and 10 September 2009. It then disappeared until being seen again today.
At lunchtime Catherine and I went to St Peter Port Harbour to feed the local Herring Gulls (which were certainly very hungry). We recorded three colour ringed Herring Gulls (all had been ringed as chicks - two at Jerbourg Cliffs, Guernsey in June 2000 and one on Sark in June 2009).
Herring Gull White 5.UU7 St Peter Port Harbour (ringed June 2009 Sark)
2009 turned out to be a very productive year for the "Guernsey Gulls" research projects with good numbers of adult and nestling gulls of three species ringed across the islands of the Bailiwick. There was also a very encouraging number of reports of these birds beyond the Channel Islands. 2009 has provided a solid base for the gull research to move forward in Guernsey over the next 5 - 10 years.
A summary report for 2009 is now available on the web by clicking the following link:-
If anyone would like a full version of the report (i.e. with the eight appendices - details of gull movements and list of observers in 2009) please send me an e-mail and I will forward it firstname.lastname@example.org
A little earlier than forecast but today saw the return of the first of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls which nest in the Islands - White 3.T8. This bird was ringed at Chouet landfill on 4th June 2009 as an adult. I saw the bird on four further occasions at Chouet in 2009 - the last of which being on 13 August 2009. Unfortunately this bird was not seen over the winter...so although I am sure that this bird left Guernsey I do not know where it wintered. My guess would be not in Iberia, but much closer to home in northern France or (most likely) southern Britain. Only further time with my projects will reveal such information.
Wherever it went...it was very good to see the first of my Lesser Black-backed Gulls back home!
Chouet landfill - 15 January 2010
Other than that it was a very good 2 hour session from first light at Chouet landfill - with my first 100+ colour ringed gulls day of the year - 99 Herring, 1 Lesser Black-backed and 10 Great Black-backed gulls.
One Herring Gull (Green BTJ) ringed as a chick on Les Ecrehous reef, Jersey in June 2000.
Six French Great Black-backed Gulls - three Chausey Islands (Seb Provost) - Green A87, Green B.36 and Green E.30 and three Seine-Maritime (Gilles Le Guillou) (Blue 26C, Blue 73D and Black 28E).
Green A87 - ringed Chausey, France
Great B B Gulls - Yellow 0J2 (Guernsey) and Blue 26C (Seine-Maritime, France)
Herring Gull 1.AA0 Chouet landfill Beach
Herring |Gull 5.ZZ5 Chouet landfill Beach
Two bonuses today were a near adult Yellow-legged Gull at the landfill this morning and a Barn Owl which drifted across the road at dawn as I drove out to Pembroke bay.
Hundreds of Fieldfares and Redwings enjoying the thawed out Common and football pitches near home!
Hey...I shouldn't be making a posting today - as Catherine and I were meant to be in the Algarve, Portugal for a week of warmth looking for our gulls down there. However...snow at London Gatwick airport yesterday had other ideas...so here we are back in Guernsey!
Chouet landfill (30 mins before work and 30 mins at lunchtime) - only 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (no rings), but 100+ Great Black-backed Gulls, and 1,500+ Herring Gulls.
60 colour ringed Herring Gulls (59 local) - 42 from my project (2009 on), 17 from Jamie Hooper's (1998-2007) including some from 1998, and the "usual" 1st winter bird from Pitsea, Essex (Orange JR.2T).
Nine ringed Great Black-backed Gulls - 3 local birds from Guernsey and six from France (all known birds) - two 1st winters from Chausey Islands, France (Seb Provost) (Green E.71 and Green E.30) and four from Seine-Maritime, France (Gilles Le Guillou) (Blue 94C, Blue 26C, Blue93D and Blue 77C).
Only c 50 Great Black-backed Gulls at Chouet landfill (closed) - but one 2nd winter from Seine-Maritime Blue 47D (Gilles Le Guillou) (25th sighting in Guernsey since 05 February 2009) and one from Chausey Islands, Manche, France Green E.37 (1st sighting in Guernsey) (Seb Provost). Also one ringed as a chick in Guernsey on 04/07/09.
Also GBBG Yellow 0J3 ringed as 2nd W male at Chouet landfill, Guernsey in April 2009 seen at Vazon Bay today.
Still cold in Guernsey, but no ice or snow today. Plenty of Northern Lapwings, Redwings and Fieldfares around, along with smaller numbers of Eurasian Golden Plovers.
Cold again - thin ice on roads on north of Guernsey. Worse conditions in south. One hour visit to Chouet Landfill. 1,000+ gulls - mostly Herring, but 100+ Great Black-backed Gulls and 10 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Most gulls observed bathing and resting on Chouet Beach.
Lesser Black-backed Gull Blue CSK - ringed 16/02/08 at Stoke Orchard landfill, Gloucester, England (Peter Stewart). This gull had been seen in Gloucestershire in November and December 2008, but there were no sightings at all in 2009.
Four cr Great Black-backed Gulls - Green E.30 (Chausey Islands, France - Seb Provost) andBlue 26C, Blue 30C and Blue 93D (all Le Havre, France - Gilles le Guillou). E.30 is a 1st winter bird. Catherine and I saw this bird on Siouville Beach, Manche, France on 12/13 October 2009. It was then seen at Portland Bill, Dorset, England (Martin Cade) on 22/10/09 before turning up at Chouet landfill, Guernsey for the 1st time on 07/11/09. It has been seen four times since.
Green E.30 Chouet, Guernsey November 09
Green E.30 Siouville Beach, France October 09
Blue 30C (ringed as a chick at le Havre - Gilles Le Guillou on 25/06/07) has been seen in Guernsey 35 times since 18/09/08. Blue 26C (ringed Le Havre 25/06/07 - Gilles Le Guillou) and seen 20 times in Manche, France - mostly at Granville Port - before being seen in Guernsey for the 1st time on 07/01/10.
With very cold weather conditions - snow and ice in southern part of Guernsey, I paid a quick lunch time visit to Chouet landfill.
18 cr Herring Gulls - including two from Gloucester, England (Peter Stewart) - Blue EHY and Blue BHC. The former is a new record in Guernsey of a gull ringed as a 2nd winter on 07/02/09 at Gloucester landfill, seen there on 10 further occasions until 30/06/09 - and then not seen until turning up in Guernsey today. By contrast BHC (ringed as a 2nd winter on 13/01/08) was first seen in Guernsey on 17/02/09. It has been seen six times since.
Two cr Great Black-backed Gulls - Blue 26C ringed 25/06/07 at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France by Gilles Le Guillou. Seen 20 times since in Manche, France - mostly at Granville - before turning up today in Guernsey. Black 28E (ringed Le Havre 23/06/09 - Gilles Le Guillou) and seen before at Chouet on 26/27/11/09.
The year got off to a very good start with several thousand gulls at Chouet Landfill - mostly Herring Gulls, but also 150+ Great Black-backed Gulls and six Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
84 Herring Gull ring reads - including Orange JR.2T ringed at Pitsea, Essex, England on 21 November 2009 (Paul Roper) and seen 27 December 2009 at Grandcamp-Maisy, Calvados, France (Gilbert Vimard) before turning up at Chouet landfill, Guernsey on 30th December 2009.
Orannge JR.2T at Chouet landfill Beach
Nine colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls - four from Guernsey, and five from France -Blue 47D, Blue77C and Blue 30C (all from Gilles Le Guillou's project based at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France -all recorded before in Guernsey), and Green A87 (first recorded in Guernsey 16 October 2008) and Green E.87 from Chausey Islands, Manche, France (Seb Provost) - (first sighting in Guernsey...although it had been seen at Portland Bill, Dorset, England on 22/10/09 by Martin Cade, Portland Bill Bird Observatory).