Report Guernsey Colour Ringed Gulls

Sightings of Guernsey colour ringed Gulls can be entered here for an instant life history, or sent to for a life history to be returned by e-mail to observers.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Too Eager To Get Back Home?!

I've commented before on this blog about how some of the first returning LBBGs each year, spend a short time back on the island no doubt visiting their breeding colony...before flying back south a short distance for a few days or even a week or two...before returning in earnest for the season. Sure enough another of my first cr LBBG seen back in Guernsey this year- Black 4AV6 appears to be doing just this. Recorded back at Chouet on 11 and 15 January, it was back in Northern France (at Gueltas Landfill, Morbihan) on 28 January (Yves Blat). This is very similar to LBBG Black 8AN0 (see posting for 16 January 2014)
LBBG Black 4AV6's return visit to France this month

Return of an Old Favourite!

It has been difficult to get out recording gulls recently, but a quick trip to Chouet Landfill Beach yesterday morning produced two LBBG cr observations (from only six birds). One of these gulls had not been recorded since leaving Guernsey the previous autumn, but Black 3.H2 is rather special because I last saw this bird 1,100 km away at Eirol Landfill, Aveiro, Portugal on 11 November 2013!

LBBG Black 3.H2 in Guernsey (c) PKV
Migrations of LBBG Black 3.H2 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Another 1,000km + Herring Gull

While our gull research projects are still relatively young, we do know that few of our locally breeding Herring Gulls disperse as far as 1,000km from the Channel Islands. However, White 5CK9 is one such bird! Ringed at Chouet Landfill in May 2011, this bird probably nests on Sark. It has already been seen at Coruna, Spain by Juan Cabeza (09/02/2013), but I've just received a report from Helder Vieira that this bird is now in PortoPortugal - see below!
The Movements of Herring Gull White 5CK9
Herring Gull White 5CK9
Date Reporting Circumstance Location Country Observer From First KM Days Elapsed
18/05/2011 initial ringing Chouet Landfill GUERNSEY Veron; Paul et al
26/06/2012 colour ring sighting Sark Harbour SARK Veron; Paul K 17 405
09/02/2013 colour ring sighting Boca do Rio, Porto do Son, A Coruna SPAIN Cabeza; Juan 903 633
24/01/2014 colour ring sighting Aguda; Porto PORTUGAL Vieira; Helder 1054 982

St Peter Port Harbour or Peterhead?!

Most of my gulling this weekend has been spent watching the adult Kumlien's Gull and 2nd W Glaucous Gull in St Peter Port Harbour. Stunning views were obtained of both gulls, sometimes both in the same field of view. Watching these two stunning "white-wingers" flying around our Fish Quay made me wonder if this was some bizarre dream...and I was actually 1,000 km further north at the legendary (for white-winged gulls) harbour at Peterhead in NE Scotland. I'm not aware of any previous opportunity in Guernsey to see Kumlien's and Glaucous Gulls in Guernsey in the same field of view...and I wonder how many years it will be again before this wondrous sight is repeated here?! The photos below show nothing more than the atmosphere...although the eagle-eyed amongst you will probably be able to find the Kumlien's Gull. For what the birds truly look like...far better to see Anthony Loaring's photos in the previous blog posting!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Trio of Top Quality Gulls in Guernsey

The past couple of weeks have seen three very welcome scarce gulls showing very well in Guernsey. In the last few days of December 2013 we had a 1stW Little Gull on the Island's West Coast, with a 2nd W Glaucous Gull at Chouet. The latter has subsequently moved to St Peter Port Harbour where it has been showing very well. It was joined this week by an adult Kumlien's (Iceland) Gull. My thanks to local photographer Tony Loaring for some nice photos of all three birds!

 Glaucous Gull

 Kumlien's (Iceland) Gull

Little Gull 
All Photos (c) Anthony Loaring

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Is that a Glaucous Gull on my Car?

This morning I took a trip to the Town Harbour to look for the Glaucous and Kumlien's Gulls that have been around for the past few days. While there was no sign of the Kumlien's, I couldn't really miss the Glaucous Gull...although I'm not sure who was looking at who...see photos below.

Glaucous Gull - Who's Looking at Who? (c) PKV

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Hint to the Possible Origins of Yellow-legged Gulls in Guernsey?

A bold title considering we have only colour-ringed three Yellow-legged Gulls so far in Guernsey! However...such is the success of colour ringing as a research tool that we already have observations of two of the three gulls outside the Islands! White 1FC1 was ringed at Chouet Landfill as an adult male on 24 May 2012. Its only other sighting so far has been on 13 December 2012 at Blaringhem, Nord, France (Harry Vercruijsse).
Perhaps more intriguing is Black 1AT2 ringed as a juvenile male on 29 July 2012 in our garden near Chouet. I saw it a couple of times until early September, then on 05 January 2014 it turned up at Tarragona Harbour, NE Spain, where it has been recorded eight times (most recently on 11 January 2014) - (Albert Cama, Raul Aymi, Pau Lucio and Pauly Matxalen). The bird has also ventured south to Gandia Harbour, Valencia. This is probably an Iberian-bred michahellis which moved north shortly after fledging. Hopefully the bird will be seen for many years to come, confirming its breeding colony. As bird watchers in Guernsey will be aware Yellow-legged Gulls are becoming much more regular in the Channel Islands in recent years.

 Yellow-legged Gull W1FC1 Chouet landfill (c) PKV
Yellow-legged Gull W1FC1 Blaringham Landfill, Nord, France (c) Harry Vercruijsse)
Movement of Yellow-legged Gull W1FC1

 Yellow-legged Gull B1AT2 at Ty Coed and Chouet July - September 2012 (c) PKV
Yellow-legged Gull B1AT2 Tarragona harbour 11 January 2014 (c) Raul Aymi
Movements of Yellow-legged Gull B1AT2 
The only other Yellow-legged Gull colour ringed in Guernsey (White 1CA9) is also giving very valuable data on the movements of this species with sightings now in Guernsey every year since ringing in May 2011 at Chouet landfill.
Yellow-legged Gull W1CA9 at Chouet landfill (c) PKV

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Here Today...Gone Tomorrow...Back Next Week?!

It's a familiar story now...some of our earliest returning Lesser Black-backed Gulls arrive back in the Islands, take a look at their breeding colonies...and then decide that after all there's really no rush to take up their territory and so they move back south for a few more days or a week or two (not longer). And so it is with Black 8AN0 - the first cr gull of the season seen on 04 January by Julian Medland. I don't know where this gull wintered...but it was not in the Channel Islands. Last night I received news that gull enthusiast Alain Fossé had seen this gull on 15 January at Champteusse-sur-Baconne Landfill, Maine-et-Loire, France - a straight line distance of 250 km from Guernsey. The insights that colour rings give us into the lives and ecologies of our nesting gulls are truly amazing!
The Recent Flight South-east of LBBG Black 8AN0

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Spring arrives in Guernsey!

When I studied passerines, spring was often heralded by the first returning Common Chiffchaff or Northern Wheatear...but for me these days...this honour goes to the first Lesser Black-backed Gull which is known to have wintered south of Guernsey. This year the first colour ringed bird back is Black 8AA9,  an adult male ringed in May 2011. This bird has spent each of the last three winters around the Aviles estuary, Asturias, Spain. I first saw this gull back on 16 March in 2012, then 21 February in this year is the earliest return so far recorded. It was last seen at Aviles on 31 December 2013.
 LBBG Black 8AA9 at Chouet in March 2012
LBBG Black 8AA9 at Zeluan Beach, Aviles, Spain (c) Ivan Díaz Pallares
LBBG B8AA9's Annual Migrations 2011-2014

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Year = New URL for GuernseyGulls Web Portal

Many regular observers of Guernsey colour-ringed Gulls will know that colour ring observations can be reported direct on line, with instant access to the bird's present (and future) life history. This important innovation was made possible through local digital map company Digimap Ltd. With a new year the URL for this web service has moved to
For a short period both the old URL and the new one will work, but early in the year Digimap will switch off the old please update your favourite to the new web site. There is a note with the new URL at the former URL.
Many thanks and please keep your gull cr observations coming! Many thanks! Paul

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Scandinavian Herring Gull in Guernsey

My first real gulling session of the New Year yesterday at Chouet landfill Beach produced one of my "most wanted" gulls - a Scandinavian Herring Gull - Larus argentatus argentatus. This nominate race of Herring Gull breeds in Scandinavia and the Baltic. Although the gull winters in Western Europe (and is not uncommon in SE England in winter), I am not aware of any previous records in the Channel Islands. This is probably more a reflection that we aren't recognising the subspecies rather than them not being here in very small numbers in many winters? With this bird the black Norwegian colour ring (with data logger) was a give away for the identification.
The gull had been ringed as a breeding adult in May 2013 on the Arctic seabird island of Hornoya in Finnmark, Norway. I've previously seen three GBBGs in Guernsey from Hornoya, and was fortune enough to visit the island with my son on a fabulous birding trip to Arctic Norway in 2003.
Herring Gull Black JX355 at Chouet landfill Beach (c) PKV
The Movement of Herring Gull Black JX355 (almost 3,000 km)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back to Africa!

I've got to get my focus back on Guernsey, but an e-mail last night took me straight back to Morocco! Christian Pedersen sent me details from his November trip to Agadir with Arild Breistol. Christian and Arild had 35 sightings of 15 different Guernsey Lesser Black-backed Gulls in their week! This is a very good showing from Channel Islands birds, especially considering there were so few chicks colour ringed in the Islands last summer. Amazingly some of these gulls have now been recorded at Anza for three consecutive winters, with observations back in Guernsey each intervening summer - a wonderful record of these gulls fantastic journeys!
LBBGs at Anza December 2013 (c) PKV

Monday, January 6, 2014

First Guernsey-Ringed LBBG back a Bit early in 2014

The first Guernsey cr LBBG of 2014 has recently been seen in Guernsey! Julian Medland recorded Black 8AN0 at Banque Imbert, St Sampson’s on 4th January. This is a very interesting record, because the gull was originally ringed as an adult female in our garden on 08 July 2012. I assumed this to be a breeding adult, but apart from a single observation at Chouet on 02 August 2012, this bird has only been recorded once more in Guernsey and that was on 25 January 2013 at Perelle. I would not expect any the LBBGs that have wintered in NW France or Iberia to be back in Guernsey until around the 3rd week of January…so whether this is an early returning breeder, or a bird which belongs to a population further north remains a mystery. I hope further sightings in the months and years ahead enable us to answer such questions, and to understand the ecology of our gulls very much better than we do at present!

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Typical GBBG Early Life History

Great Black-backed Gull Yellow 0XX5 was ringed as a chick on Jethou Island in June 2011. Since then it has dispersed around the Western English Channel in movements which are very typical for Channel Islands GBBGs in their pre-breeding years. The life history of this gull is set out below, along with a map of the movements and some photos.
Although only around 60-75 GBBGs are colour ringed each year in the Bailiwick, we are now building enough data to begin to understand some aspects of the movements of this enigmatic gull species.

GBBG Yellow 0.XX5 St-Guenole (c)P-V Vandenweghe
ColourRing MetalRing Date ReportingCircumstance Location Country From First KM Days Elapsed
Y0XX5 J1262 27/06/2011 initial ringing Jethou GUERNSEY
Y0XX5 J1262 18/10/2011 colour ring sighting Lampaul; Ouessant; Finistere FRANCE 223 113
Y0XX5 J1262 08/11/2011 colour ring sighting Perelle Beach GUERNSEY 13 134
Y0XX5 J1262 15/05/2012 colour ring sighting St-Guenole; Finistere FRANCE 231 323
Y0XX5 J1262 16/05/2012 colour ring sighting St-Guenole; Finistere FRANCE 231 324
Y0XX5 J1262 18/08/2012 colour ring sighting Kerity; Penmarch; Finistere FRANCE 231 418
Y0XX5 J1262 04/09/2012 colour ring sighting Kerbinigou, Treguennec, Finistere FRANCE 223 435
Y0XX5 J1262 24/09/2012 colour ring sighting Ushant; Finistere FRANCE 221 455
Y0XX5 J1262 25/09/2012 colour ring sighting Ushant; Finistere FRANCE 221 456
Y0XX5 J1262 12/02/2013 colour ring sighting East Looe River; Looe; Cornwall ENGLAND 174 596
Y0XX5 J1262 22/08/2013 colour ring sighting Kerity; Penmarch; Finistere FRANCE 231 787
Y0XX5 J1262 31/12/2013 colour ring sighting Chouet Landfill Beach GUERNSEY 8 918

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Begins Where 2013 Left Off

No...I don't mean the continual wet, grey and windy weather (although it is!)...I mean with a Yellow-legged Gull...perhaps the same 3rd W+ bird as was on Chouet Landfill Beach a few days ago. This gull was seen at L'Ancresse Common by Jamie Hooper.
Yellow-legged Gull on L'Ancresse Common (c) Jamie Hooper