We have just returned from a week's family holiday based at Azoia, near Sesimbra, Portugal. Each morning I was able to search the gull flocks at Sesimbra Beach and Fish Port for two hours from dawn, and also to record a few gulls at Lagoa de Albufeira. The beaches from Costa da Caparica to Fonte de Telha were very busy with people enjoying the sunshine, so the gulls were loafing during the day at Lagoa. However...they were almost always very difficult to observe here at close quarters because of disturbance from dogs and swimmers. Up to 20,000 gulls were present here at times...mostly Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
During the week I took 106 cr readings - including 98 Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The most amazing thing was that although these sightings included birds from Iceland, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands, Belgium, Britain, France and Spain - the most frequently recorded birds were "Guernsey Gulls" - with 21 observations of 16 different birds.
This is clearly a disproportionately high number of Channel Islands birds and it makes me wonder whether our gulls were so common because of the western geographical positioning of both the Channel Islands and western Portugal, and also because of early migration away from the islands? Whatever the reason I was absolutely thrilled to see so many of our own birds in Portugal!
Gulls at Lagoa de Albufeira
LBBG Black 4.X3 (from Burhou, Alderney) at Lagoa
Xavega (fishing) at Sesimbra Beach
Sesimbra Fish Port
Common Tern - Sesimbra
Gulls at Mouth of Lagoa
LBBG Black 8AC3 (from Burhou, Alderney) at Sesimbra
LBBG Blue DKV (From Gloucester, England) at Sesimbra. By coincidence I saw this very gull at Chouet in February 2011!
LBBG N561 (from Spain) at Sesimbra
LBBG Blue Y8 (from Belgium) at Sesimbra
LBBG Blue P+H (from Bristol, England) at Sesimbra
Yellow-legged Gulls at Sesimbra