Report Guernsey Colour Ringed Gulls

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Chouet Landfill Turns Grey (Not Black)

Early this morning I spent 90 minutes in Chouet Landfill - and wow...what a change from my last visit only 12 days earlier - the great swathes of Lesser Black-backed Gulls have gone...there were perhaps a maximum of just over 140 birds present (including 14 cr birds). Herring Gulls are still very much in evidence - so the site now has a pale grey covering when the birds are feeding or settled on the ground or windrows. At least two adult Yellow-legged Gulls were present again...I simply must be missing the juvenile birds! The other significant change today was a noticeable increase in Great Black-backed Gulls to almost 100 birds - which included no fewer then five colour-ringed birds from Chausey Islands, Manche, France (Seb Provost); interestingly these five birds were from four different year cohorts (2012 - two and one each from 2011, 2010 and 2009).

 Above Green cr GBBGs from Chausey Islands - Seb Provost 

 Yellow cr GBBGs from Guernsey

Yellow-legged Gull  all photos (c) PKV

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Lot of News!

Within the past few days I’ve just returned from a very nice week on holiday in the French Alps, where Nutcrackers, Alpine Choughs and Crag Martins made a very pleasant change from Guernsey’s birds. However, while I’ve been away lots has been happening with our gulls both at home and abroad! At home the pattern has now changed there are few Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the northern beaches. The birds that remain in the Islands are mainly to be found in flocks along the west coast, particularly at Vazon, Perelle and L’Eree beaches, although often the flock is found roosting on L’Eree Aerodrome (no longer in use) where the grass is too long to be able to read rings. So now for the next 6 weeks or so I have to drive further and check more beaches. This is the pattern that emerges each autumn at this time. 
The majority of the breeding LBBGs have now left Guernsey, with reports coming in daily now from NW Spain mainly from Antonio Gutierrez and José Vidal, but also from other observers. One LBBG recently made the 1,000 km flight in a maximum of three days! The birds which have been arriving in NW Spain throughout the past month are continuing their migrations with more and more being reported from Portugal. In fact Tim Van Nus reported 30 Guernsey colour ringed LBBGs from a single site (Taboeira Landfill, Aveiro) on 24 August – a record number of Guernsey birds abroad in one site! 
Today Antonio reported the first 2012 LBBG chick (from Sark) at Esmelle Beach, A Coruna. Strangely none of the 202 LBBG chicks colour ringed on Burhou, Alderney this summer has yet been reported overseas. 
It is also apparent that many of the Herring Gulls nesting in the islands have also left the Islands. So far the reports of these gulls have come mainly from the north-east coasts of France from Manche through Calvados as far as Somme…but soon most of the foreign reports are likely to be from Vendee and Charente-Maritime. 
Great Black-backed Gulls are beginning to wander with two 2012 chicks from the Chausey islands, Manche being seen on the island, while several of our immature birds are being reported from SW England, including the first 2012 chick. 
Finally Julian Medland recently saw a colour ringed 1st year Black-headed Gull, which was ringed earlier this summer near Antwerp, Belgium. All in all an exciting time for gull movements!
Pantín Beach, A Coruna, Spain (c) Antonio Gutierrez - this explains why LBBGs are much less numerous in Guernsey now!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lesser Black-backed Gull Exodus

A very quick trip to Pembroke and Chouet Landfill Beaches this morning was markedly different to the pattern so far this summer because of the amazing relative scarcity of Lesser Black-backed Gulls! Clearly the exodus has really picked up pace over the past few days. Further evidence of this came yesterday from Tim Van Nus who observed 23 "Guernsey" colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls in a few hours at Taboeira landfill, northern Portugal (see "Under Construction" Web Site on my Blog List to the right for photos and a report by Tim from Taboeira ).
 GBBG Yellow 1.JJ4
 GBBG Yellow 0.LL0
Herring Gull White 3FK1

Monday, August 20, 2012

LBBG from The Netherlands

On 12 August 2012 I saw a Dutch metal-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull at Chouet landfill. Despite much effort I only managed to record the last six (of seven) numbers on the ring. I assumed that this would not be enough to trace the individual bird…but fortunately Dutch gull researcher Roland-Jan Buijs informs me that all Dutch rings of the size to fit LBBGs commence with the same number…so we know the ring number – 5468383 – a LBBG chick ringed on 11 July 2011 at Europort, Zuid Holland, The Netherlands by Roland-Jan himself!
LBBG Arnhem 5468383 at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

Sunday, August 19, 2012

LBBGs Reach Central and Southern Spain

A quick trip along the west coast this morning was largely unproductive. The tide was a little too high, and the beaches were surprisingly busy so early. As reported on this blog, Guernsey-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls have been arriving in NW Spain since the end of July. However, I am now receiving news of the first "Guernsey" Lesser Black-backed Gulls reaching central and southern Spain. On 15 August Salva Garcia reported Black 4AH4  from Malaga, while yesterday Juan Ruiz saw Black 3AH4 at Colmenar Viejo Landfill, Madrid.

 The Journey of LBBG Black 3AH4 (above)
 The Journey of LBBG Black 4AH4

As more and more of the adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls leave Guernsey for the autumn/winter, I enjoyed reading the account of the week’s cannon netting in May 2012 at Chouet Landfill with the North Thames Gull Group. This information can be found on the Group’s excellent web site using the following link  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Belgian LBBG at Chouet

Although numbers of adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls are definitely decreasing significantly now as more and more birds migrate south, there were still several hundred full-grown LBBGs amongst the 4,000 + gulls at Chouet landfill this morning. It is really good also to see lots of juvenile Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and amongst the latter was a colour ringed bird from Zeebrugge, Belgium - Blue USA.G (Eric Stienen). 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another Wonderful Day!

Evidence that many of our Lesser Black-backed Gulls are on the move came from Antonio Gutierrez in NW Spain, where yesterday on one beach (Esmelle), were five "Guernsey Gulls"!

I took the opportunity this morning to spend 90 minutes in Chouet landfill recording c 150 colour ringed gulls. There were still 500+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls present, along with two or perhaps three adult Yellow-legged Gulls (one of which was White 1CA9 ringed in May 2011 at Chouet landfill and recorded several times this summer).

Yellow-legged Gull at Chouet (including White 1CA9 above)
There were many opportunities for photographing the cr gulls this morning!

And just to prove that occasionally I photograph my Herring Gulls!

And finally...on Pembroke Beach this morning another French-ringed GBBG (Chausey Islands - Seb Provost - Green L41) and GBBG Yellow 0.PP0 from my own scheme and LBBG juvenile 2AN4 (Sark)