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Friday, February 19, 2010

Significant Arrival of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Guernsey - Including White 7S6 Home One Day Earlier Than in 2009!

Within the past 24 hours there has been a significant arrival of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Guernsey, with numbers at Chouet landfill doubling to 110+ birds. Nine of my colour ringed LBBGs were present, along with a metal only bird from Guernsey. Half of these birds were new arrivals:-

White 4.T3 ringed as an adult male on 04/06/09 at Chouet landfill (no previous sightings history);

White 2.T6 also ringed as an adult male at Chouet landfill on 04/06/09 – but seen twice in Guernsey – 13/07/09 and 16/08/09 before disappearing for (unknown) wintering grounds;

LBBG White 3.T0 at Chouet landfill Beach, Guernsey 28 July 2009 - PKV

White 3.T0 ringed as an adult on 04/06/09 at Chouet landfill, and recorded six times in Guernsey in July 2009 (1st- 28th) before disappearing for (unknown) wintering grounds;

White 7S6 ringed as an adult female in our garden at Ty Coed, Vale Marais on 08/06/08 – then seen at Chouet Landfill Beach, Guernsey on 11/08/08 (Mark Lawlor) before turning up on 21/08/08 at Pantin Beach, A Coruna, Spain (Antonio Gutierrez). It was then seen at Matosinhos, Portugal on 28/11/08 (Peter Rock). Last year I recorded it back in Guernsey on 20 February 2009. I saw this gull 23 times in the north of Guernsey in the spring/summer of 2009 over the period 20/02/09 – 01/08/09. It then repeated its sightings history of the previous autumn – being seen once again by Antonio at Esmelle Beach, A Coruna, Spain on 24/08/09, before moving to Matosinhos, Portugal where it was recorded on 12 and 28 October 2009 (Malcolm Millais).

LBBG White 7S6 at Pantin, A Coruna, Spain - 21/08/08 - Antonio Gutierrez

White 5.Z7 ringed as a chick on one of the Sark colonies on 08/07/2008 – then seen on 12/11/08 at Boca do Rio, Porto do Son, Spain (Juan Cabeza) and Matosinhos, Portugal on 27/11/08 (Peter Rock). This is the first LBBG I’ve colour-ringed as a chick to be seen back in the islands. It looked to be in great shape…in handsome plumage and “bossing” a few Herring Gulls around as it helped itself to tasty morsels from the landfill!

LBBGs and Herring Gulls at Chouet landfill - 19 February 2010 - PKV

With so many Lesser Black-backed Gulls to watch today, the Herring Gulls received less attention than usual. A total of 50 colour ringed birds (all local) was recorded, along with a single local Great Black-backed Gull. It is still of interest that several of these Herring Gull records  each day are of birds which have not been seen all winter. It seems reasonable (given the frequency of my visits to the landfill throughout the autumn/winter of 2009/10) that most of these birds are returning from wintering outside Guernsey.

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