Paul Roper and several members of the North Thames Gull Group have just completed a week working with the Guernsey Gulls Team to catch and ring full-grown gulls at Chouet landfill. With fantastic co-operation from the landfill staff, we managed to catch c 1,100 gulls, of which 1,000 were new (the other 100 being re-traps or controls of ringed birds). Highlights were the large number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls caught - c 500 - all of which were colour ringed, as well as a sample of the 500 or so Herring Gulls. Amongst the LBBGs were a Portuguese metal-ringed gull and two British -ringed LBBGs (one of which Blue ACE is well-known in Guernsey), while the other was an immature gull ringed by Peter Rock in SW England. We also caught and colour-ringed an adult Yellow-legged Gull (White 1FC1). This is such a tremendous contribution to our gull studies here in Guernsey! More details will follow, but below are some photos.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
I spent an enjoyable 90 minutes recording gull colour rings at Chouet on Saturday morning, when the highlights were a few of my returning immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which had been ringed in 2009 or 2010 on Burhou, Alderney. One of these birds Black 0.P9 was known to have wintered that year in the Algarve, Portugal ( in fact i saw it myself while on holiday at Quarteira in December 2009!).
On Sunday, Chris, Phil, Carolyn and I managed a couple of small gull catches to colour ring another 30 gulls, which included three more Lesser Black-backed Gulls.
Monday, May 7, 2012
A modest gull catch in the garden today resulted in 14 Herring and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls being colour-ringed - one of the Herring Gulls being a bird that was metal ringed as a chick in one of the Sark colonies in the summer of 2006. I wonder if it is breeding this year back on its natal rock?
Friday, May 4, 2012
Having visited the adjacent French coast last weekend, I was very interested to see Herring Gulls commonly nesting on the rooftops of buildings in Granville Town. It is unusual (and perhaps unexpected) that this "urban" habit has not really caught on yet (!) in Guernsey. However, I do wonder whether Herring Gull White 1.AN4 (which was ringed at Chouet Landfill in June 2010) is nesting in the town of Cherbourg. Sophie Rivrins sent me this rather nice photo of the gull standing on her balcony in Cherbourg on 28 April 2012.
Herring Gull White 1.AN4 Cherbourg, France 28 April 2012 - Sophie Rivrins
Since the commencement of my gull colour ringing studies in the Channel Islands in 2008, I have recorded more than 50 Great Black-backed Gulls, which had been ringed by Sebastien Provost on the various islets in the Chausey Islands, off Granville, France (sometimes known as “The French Channel Islands”). Several colour ringed Cormorants, that had been ringed as chicks on Chausey, have also been seen in Guernsey. As a result I’d been keen for several years to visit the islands to see the habitat and the breeding areas of the seabirds. A weekend based near St Malo provided the perfect opportunity last week…so…despite the unseasonably cool, wet and windy weather I took the chance to cross from Granville and spend a day on Ile Grande – the largest and only inhabited island with c 30 permanent residents (but up to 200,000 visitors/annum).
The trip was really worthwhile, despite the poor weather and very rough sea crossing back to Granville! I particularly appreciated being able to gaze across the short Sound to the many small islets where the seabirds nest. Gulls and Shags could be seen sitting on their nests, but I had to imagine the nesting Cormorants (which were not visible from the main island).
Now I can’t wait to find the first of the Chausey raised 2012 Great Black-backed Gull youngsters once they disperse away from their natal grounds, and many head north to reach Guernsey!
A House with a view!
The seabird breeding islands of Chausey
Landing Pier, Hotel, Restaurant and Chapel
Islets at high and low tides
A wet and windy day - but a very happy PKV!
Yes...I fund some gulls to feed in Granville Port (but no colour rings)
Thursday, May 3, 2012
An hour at Chouet this morning was fascinating by the noticeable change in behaviour of the gulls. There are far fewer gulls lingering on the beaches after feeding in the landfill. No doubt the majority hurry back to their nesting duties once fed and watered! It was very nice to see LBBG Black 9AA8 resting on the beach, clearly no worse for wear, following its recent rehabilitation (see previous blog entry!).
The other notable sighting was LBBG Black 1.K9, a chick ringed on Burhou in July 2009 and seen in October of that year in A Coruna, NW Spain...but then not again until today!
LBBG Black 1.K9 back at Chouet, Guernsey
LBBG Black 1.K9 Oct 2009 A Coruna, Spain - (c) Juan Cabeza
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Steve Byrne, the Manager of the Guernsey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA), recently informed me of the fate of Lesser Black-backed Gull Black 9AA8, which was reported in the vicinity of Chouet landfill covered in heavy pink adhesive gunk on 20 April 2012. Shelter staff picked up the gull, and bird rehabilitation specialist Yvonne Chauvel set to work with others to painstakingly clean the gull’s feathers with a flea comb! After many hours dedicated work, and almost a week of recuperation I am delighted to be able to report (and show in a photo below) that this colour ringed gull (which the GSPCA staff have christened “Lady Ga-Ga”) was able to be released. More information on the story is available on the GSPCA’S web site link
As ever my sincere thanks to the hard-working staff at the GSPCA who do so much to help rehabilitate sick and injured birds so that they can be returned to the wild. I hope LBBG Black 9AA8 is now back in its breeding rhythm. Wouldn’t it be great for this bird to rear chicks this year, after its lucky escape?!
LBBG Black 9AA8 cleaned and ready to go
What a great moment - worth all the hard work of rehabilitation!
All photos (c) GSPCA