I've just come back from spending the past two days on Burhou, Alderney completing my gull research there for 2011. Although it was, as ever, a tremendous privilege to spend a little time on this magical island and to be very close to a strong colony of my favourite bird (Lesser Black-backed Gull), it was a disappointing trip because the gulls have had a mass failure again this year. This makes it three very bad years out of the last five - with only 2009 and 2010 being successful seasons for the 1,000+ pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls there. Lesser Black-backed Gulls have failed to breed successfully in 2011 in all the colonies I've visited on Alderney, Sark, Herm and Guernsey. I presume the cause was the very wet and windy weather just when the chicks would have been hatching.
I ringed 11 Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks, along with six Herring Gulls and one Great Black-backed Gull. On the positive side I did have plenty of time to search the colony for my colour ringed birds, and I was thrilled to record more than 140 of my gulls - including three of my 2009 chicks which are back prospecting Burhou for their future breeding attempts!
Burhou 14 July 2011 - PKV
Sunset Burhou 14 July 2011 - PKV
LBBG Colony (Les Etacs Gannetry in background) - PKV
LBBG colony -PKV
Ortac Gannetry from Burhou - PKV
LBBG chicks - PKV
LBBG Black 7AC2 - PKV
Herring Gull chicks - PKV
Great Black-backed Gull Yellow 0.XX0 - PKV