One of the pleasures of my gull recording at this time of year (mid-late spring) is the increase in the number of immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls which appear at Chouet and on Guernsey’s north coast beaches. While some of these birds are known to be migrants from colonies further north, the majority are probably birds which have returned to the Channel Islands to prospect a breeding site for their first breeding attempt in one or two years’ time. These birds will have spent their first year or two further south in Iberia or even North Africa. Now that my principal gull colour ringing studies have entered their third year I am looking forward to seeing some of my “chicks” for the first time since ringing.
Today was momentous in that LBBG Black 0.S8 was back on Chouet landfill Beach. We ringed this bird as a chick on Burhou, Alderney in July 2009, and this is the first time that the bird has been recorded again in the Islands. However…what makes this gull so special is that it is one of the very first of our chicks that Catherine and I saw on its wintering grounds in The Algarve, Portugal in December 2009!
For me the return of this gull in particular is a very special moment in my studies. I hope that it is the first of many such returnees over the years ahead!
LBBG Black 0.S8 Chouet 13/04/11 - PKV
LBBG Black 0.S8 Quarteira, Algarve, Portugal - 06/12/09 - PKV