In due course I will produce the usual annual report on the work of the "Guernsey Gulls" projects. However, having just competed all the ringing schedules and worked out the total of gulls ringed last year, I thought I'd post them. It is important to remember that these totals reflect the hard work of a significant number of people throughout the catching season...in Guernsey, Alderney and Sark - to them all I am most grateful for another successful and enjoyable year.
The year was characterised by a stunning start to the season at Chouet Landfill, when Paul Roper and members of the North Thames Gull Group joined the local "gull team" for another week of cannon netting in mid-May. A massive total of 1,783 gulls was caught during the week...but even more pleasing than this huge total was the unprecedented numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (my principal study species) trapped - 493! We also caught Guernsey's first Yellow-legged Gull, as well as 1,273 Herring Gulls and 16 Great Black-backed Gulls.
After such a start to the season..the prospects for the rest of the season looked positively awesome...however...such hopes were dashed by another very poor breeding season for gulls throughout the Bailiwick of Guernsey - probably caused this year by a protracted period of cool particularly wet weather just when the majority of gull chicks were hatching. Despite the usual hard work during the summer only 173 gull chicks were ringed across the islands - and it was very sad that only 18 of these were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This species suffered another virtual complete breeding failure this year (for the third time in five years).
Full details of the ringing totals are available at http://www.paulveron.com/gullsringingtotals2011.html
And now it is another year...roll on the 2012 gull ringing season!