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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Quieter Morning

A quick trip down Guernsey's west coast was rewarded with some very nice views of the gull flocks, but there appeared to be little in the way of new birds. Again the number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls was down a little to just over 120 adult birds - which included three of my colour ringed birds.

I was surprised yesterday to find the Dutch-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull (White KL) from Veersemere, Zeeland, as I've now seen this bird on three different beaches in Guernsey in the past fortnight. Roland-Jan sent me a very nice photo of this gull when ringed on 2nd July 2010.
LBBG White KL as a chick - Roland-Jan Buijs
LBBG White KL as juvenile - PKV

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Good for Black-backed Gulls again on West Coast

The past few days have been rather "hit and miss" finding the gull flocks along the west coast. Sometimes I've found them in places I can't read any colour rings. However, today was one of the better days with at least 200+ Great Black-backed and 150+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls checked. The highlight was the last colour ringed bird seen - Lesser Black-backed Gull Black 1.N5. Ringed as a chick on Burhou in the summer of 2009, this bird had been seen in Finistere, France in April this year, so I knew it had not stayed south for its 1st summer. It was really good to see this gull at Vazon!

Several of this year's juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls from Burhou, Alderney were still present, along with one new bird.

One of the Chausey Islands-ringed juvenile Great Black-backed Gulls was seen today (Green H.15) along with a new gull from Gilles Le Guillou's projects based at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France - Blue 63B.
There was a handsome Yellow-legged Gull on L'Eree and an adult Common Gull on Vazon today.
Yellow-legged Gull - L'Eree - PKV
Just before dusk I paid a quick visit to Pembroke Beach, which was covered in Herring Gulls. I also peered into Chouet Landfill from outside the fence - and saw one of the North Thames Gull Group's colour ringed Herring Gulls - Orange AJ2T.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A quieter weekend

Difficult times of high water, and then plenty of people etc on the beaches later meant that this was always going to be a tough weekend for gull watching - and so it proved. I managed eventually to find and check around 100 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which included three of my cr adults and a couple of the youngsters from Burhou. The Great Black-backed Gulls were hard to find, but I managed to see another new juvenile from Chausey Islands, France (Seb Provost) (Green H.87).
GBBG Green H.87 St Peter Port Harbour - PKV
GBBG White L:AK6 - L'Eree - PKV
On Saturday I spent an hour and a half in Chouet landfill recording over 100 of my cr Herring Gulls, but little else of note - except a fine adult Yellow-legged Gull.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Guernsey Lesser Black-backed Gull in Morocco

Within the past few days I have received news of a sighting by Alain Mathurin (via Roland-Jan Buijs) of one of our Lesser Black-backed Gulls at salt ponds at Sidi Abed, El Jadida, MOROCCO! The gull is White 6S7 (the 2nd LBBG ever to be colour ringed by us). Catherine and I caught it in our garden in Guernsey on 25 May 2008. It left the island for unknown wintering grounds that winter, but I saw it back in Guernsey from 1st April to 11th August in 2009. However...the last twice I saw it  the bird was limping badly and I thought its left leg was broken. It was not sighted over the winter of 2009/10. To my joy White 6S7 turned up again this spring on 10th April...and it looked in good shape with no sign of any leg injury. I saw the gull several times up to 26 April 2010. Alain saw 6S7 in Morocco on the early date of 24 July 2010 - so it either did not breed in the Channel Islands this year, or it must have failed and left early.

This is only the fifth LBBG from my cr scheme to be sighted so far in Africa!
LBBG White 6S7 Chouet 14 April 2010 - PKV

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Two British metal-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the high tide

My early morning trip down Guernsey's west coast coincided with a stunning sunrise and a high tide - not that there was much time to enjoy the scenery. Soon the Lesser Black-backed Gulls were arriving on L'Eree Beach. The only colour-ringed birds were two of my juveniles from Burhou, Alderney and two of my adults (one from Burhou and one from Guernsey).
The Norwegain Great Black-backed Gull Black JH254, was showing much better today in the early morning sunshine.
GBBG Black JH254 L'Eree - PKV
A lack of other colour ringed birds enabled me to pin down a few metal only ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls - which included two birds ringed as a chicks on Burhou, Alderney on on 16 July 2000 and 16 July 2005, and two British ringed birds - London GN85760 and London GC76686.  
LBBG London GC76686 - L'Eree - PKV
LBBG London GN85760

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Eight French and another Norwegian cr Great Black-backed Gull along Guernsey's West Coast!

There is clearly some Great Black-backed Gull passage taking place in Guernsey at the moment. Two runs down the west coast yesterday and today before work resulted in counts of more than 150 Great Black-backed Gulls - including no fewer than eight birds colour-ringed in France (four in Chausey Islands - Seb Provost and four at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime -Gilles Le Guillou). There was also a juvenile bird from Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway on Vazon - Black JH254 (Finn Jorgensen).

Although there were 310 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Monday 20th September (with about 200 today) I found no foreign colour rings. I am still recording some of the juvenile birds colour ringed on Burhou this summer.
GBBG Black JH254 - Vazon - PKV
GBBG Green H.15 - Vazon - PKV
GBBG Green H.95 - Vazon - PKV
GBBG Green J.41 L'Eree - PKV
GBBGs at Vazon - 20 September 2010 - PKV

Sunday, September 19, 2010

...and another British cr Lesser Black-backed Gull

It was very nice today to do some gull watching with Dave Murray, who lives in Cheshire, England but who is on holiday for a few days in Guernsey. Dave has seen some of my Guernsey-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls while on holiday in Malaga, Spain. We went down the island's west coast, counting 230+ adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which included a couple of my adults ringed as breeding birds on Burhou, Alderney. Amongst the birds at Rocquaine Bay was Blue HLZ. Amazingly I had seen this adult LBBG on passage in Guernsey the previous year on 22 August (at Chouet Landfill).
LBBG Blue HLZ Rocquaine Bay - 18 September 2010 - PKV
LBBG Blue HLZ Chouet landfil 22 August 2009 - PKV
This gull was ringed in May 2009 as an adult at Gloucester Landfill, England (Severn Estuary Gull Group), and was subsequently seen several times there in July 2009. Following the sighting last autumn in Guernsey, John Sanders has seen this gull again this summer at the landfills around Gloucester (from 25 June to 04 September). These records indicate that this is a bird which nests in SW England.

Other highlights included two French-colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls - both known birds here - Green E.78 (Chausey Islands, France - Seb Provost) and Blue 94C Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France (Gilles Le Guillou).

Black-headed Gull White TARM (Poland) was also still at Bellegreve Bay today shortly after dawn.

Bellegreve Bay at dawn - PKV

Friday, September 17, 2010

British cr Lesser Black-backed Gull

Today's highlight was the sighting of an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, which had been ringed by a chick in Bath, England in July 2001, as part of Peter Rock's urban gull studies. This  gull, Yellow M:G has previously been seen in Matosinhos, Portugal, Moliet's Plage, Les Landes, France, Calne in Wiltshire, England, and Pinto landfill, Madrid, Spain.
LBBG Yellow M:G - Rocquaine Beach, Guernsey - 17 September 2010 - PKV
In addition I saw another adult and juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull from Burhou, Alderney.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another Dutch Lesser Black-backed Gull

Gulls on Pembroke - 16 September 2010 - PKV
A quick trip down the north and west coasts this morning before work, provided a total of just over 200 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This is a little less than in recent days, and the turnover of birds seems to be high. The only cr bird seen amongst these flocks was Black 3.K0 - a breeding adult from Burhou, Alderney, which is now on passage in Guernsey.

The highlight was a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull feeding in the surf on Pembroke Beach. This was White KL - which was ringed on 02 July at Veerse Meer, Middelplaten, Zeeland, The Netherlands by Roland-Jan Buijs (who was himself in Guernsey this summer!).
LBBG juvenile White KL - Pembroke 16 September 2010 - PKV

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fantasic few days!

LBBG Blue YH05 L'Eree 13 September 2010 - PKV
LBBG Green R:H L'Eree 13 September 2010 - PKV
LBBG Red H.748 Vazon - 13 September 2010 - PKV
Gulls on L'Eree 13 September 2010 - PKV
It has been an amazing few days for colour ringed gulls in Guernsey. My good birding friend Tim Earl contacted me on Sunday night to give me a short list of colour ringed gulls he’d seen on L’Eree Beach on the west coast. As well as a couple of my adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls (including a bird which breeds on Burhou, and is on passage through Guernsey), there were three foreign birds.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Blue YH05 is from Iceland, while Great Black-backed Gulls Black JA905 is from northern Norway. The third record was of a Great Black-backed Gull ringed by Bruce Taggart on St George’s Island, Looe, Cornwall – the first bird from this new project seen in Guernsey.

Keen to see some of these birds, and in particular to hunt for any of my colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls which are still in Guernsey, I set off at dawn on the following two days to cover the most important gull beaches on the island’s west coast. This was well rewarded. On 13th September I managed to locate and photograph the Icelandic Lesser Black-backed Gull (Blue YH05) at L’Eree, where I also found an adult LBBG from Peter Rock’s projects based in the towns of SW EnglandGreen R:H.

There was an impressive flock of around 250 adult and 70-80 juvenile/immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls – at L’Eree, Perelle and Vazon. Amongst these birds I found five of my colour ringed adult LBBGs, and four juveniles from this year (one from Sark and three from Burhou, Alderney). On that day I also found a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull feeding on the tide line at Vazon (and later L’Eree), which had been ringed in Germany by Sonke Martens (Red H.748).

Today, I repeated the trip down the west coast at dawn – where the highlights were two of my adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Vazon, with a third at L’Eree. I was also thrilled to see Great Black-backed Gull Black JA905 at Vazon. This gull was ringed as a breeding adult on the seabird island of Hornoya, Vardo, Finnmark, Norway – almost 3,000 km away. This is the second Great Black-backed Gull, which I have seen on Vazon from this island way up in the Arctic Circle (the first on 27 November 2008). Unfortunately the strong wind and the distance of the gull flock resulted in only very poor photos of this bird today.
GBBG Black JA905 - Vazon 14 September 2010 - PKV
Finally, at Perelle I came across Great Black-backed Gull Black 23H, which is the first juvenile from Gilles Le Guillou’s project based at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France that I have seen this autumn.

Gull colour ring reading in Guernsey seldom gets as exciting as these past few days!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mediterranean Gulls at Bellegreve bay, Guernsey

Mediterranean Gull White 3E90 Bellegreve Bay, Guernsey - August 2009 - PKV
At Bellegreve Bay this morning there were seven Mediterranean Gulls - 3 adults, 2 second winters and two juveniles. One of the adults was White 3E90 - the Belgian-ringed bird that has been faithful to Bellegreve Bay in each of the past five autumns. However...the latest sighting in any autumn in Guernsey is 16 September (Geoff Atkinson in 2007). About this time the gull has moved off - being seen one winter as far south as Costa da Caparica just south of Lisbon, Portugal. Last year my good frined Eric Robbe saw White 3E90 at Heauville Beach, Manche, France (on 21/09/10). That year I last saw the gull here on 29 August.

So far in the autumn of 2010 White 3E90 has been at Bellegreve Bay, Guernsey from 21 July to 12 September.

It is amazing how this bird has become a real feature of Bellegreve Bay in autumn...long may it remain so!

Friday, September 10, 2010

White 7M6 - A Well Travelled Herring Gull!

Colour ringing studies on Herring Gulls in the Bailiwick of Guernsey are showing that while some birds are largely sedentary, others migrate over medium distances. There are many records of chicks ringed by Jamie Hooper (during his ten year study from 1998-2007) wintering off the Atlantic coast of France in the Vendee and Charente-Maritime regions. In common with many other seabirds, juvenile Herring Gulls tend to migrate further distances than more mature birds…although again there are plenty of examples of adult Herring Gulls migrating several hundred km south to winter.

One of the most well travelled of all Jamie’s gulls is White 7M6 – a bird ringed as a chick on the cliffs at Pleinmont, Guernsey in July 2003. When it was first seen in November of that year at the mouth of the Douro River in Portugal suspicions arose that it may in fact be a Lesser Black-backed Gull which had been mis-identified when ringed as a chick (not that difficult to do!). However…Jamie’s reputation remained intact when this bird was seen again and reported as a Herring Gull the following November a little to the north in Portugal.

The gull then disappeared again for another 18 months, before being seen in the Basque Country in NE Spain in March 2006. It was then seen at Lemoiz, Vizcaya, Spain from 22 August to 14 December 2007, before going missing again for just over a year. The next report came in from Lemoiz again the following winter on 19 January 2009.

Not unexpectedly, as most Herring Gulls do return to their natal areas, this gull turned up in Guernsey on 22 March 2009. I recorded it many times to 22 August…then it was not seen again in Guernsey until 25 February the following year. Now in its 7th calendar year the gull is fully adult and may well have been breeding already for several years. I saw it in Guernsey until 29 July this year.

What is therefore somewhat surprising is that on 29 August 2010 and 08 September 2010 this mature gull was seen back at Lemoiz, Vizcaya, Spain by Juan Mª Domínguez Robledo . It would seem that this Herring Gull is remaining faithful to its wintering areas, despite its maturity. Very few Guernsey Herring Gulls make such a long journey at any age!

P.S. If any Guernsey birders want to see this special Herring Gull - keep a close look out on the beaches at the north of the island from early next year - when hopefully it will be back with us. now carries colour ring White 2.AP6 (having been re-ringed in May 2010 when trapped at Chouet Landfill).

Juvenile Colour Ringed Gulls in Guernsey

A count of juvenile colour ringed Herring Gulls seen on Guernsey over the past 6-8 weeks, shows that 60 (of the 114 ringed during the summer of 2010) have so far been recorded, including seven (from 15) ringed on Burhou, Alderney, nine (from 17) ringed on Sark and 40 (from 65) ringed on Jethou.

A similar count of juvenile colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls shows that 22 (from 54 ringed) of my birds colour ringed birds during the summer of 2010 have so far been located fledged on Guernsey.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summary of Lesser Black-backed Gull Movements in August

LBBG Black 0.X5 13/08/10, Cadiz, SPAIN  Juan Sagardia
Today I made a very quick summary of the Lesser Black-backed Gull movements outside the Channel Islands reported in August 2010. A summary is as follows:-

Spain      North-west    20 adults, seven 2nd cy and two juveniles = 29 LBBGs.

Spain      NE                   one 2nd cy bird

Spain      Madrid         two adults

Spain      South-west    one adult and one 2nd cy.


Portugal    Central West Coast      one

Portugal     Algarve                        one


France       Calvados                      one

FRANCE   TOTAL    =  1

South-west England    four adults and one 2nd cy   =  5


LBBG Black 1.V9 Esmelle Beach, SPAIN 20/08/10 - Antonio Gutierrez
LBBG Black 2.K2 Frouxeira Lagoon, SPAIN - 15/08/10 Antonio Gutierrez
LBBG Black 2.X1 Esmelle Beach, SPAIN 18 August 2010 - Antonio Gutierrez
LBBG Black 3.F8 Huelva, SPAIN 13 August 2010 - Juan Sagardia

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Dutch Lesser Black-backed Gull at Vazon

Today's highlight was Lesser Black-backed Gull Orange 9V, which was at Vazon Bay, Guernsey early morning. This gull was ringed as an adult male at the large Moerdijk colony in Noord Brabant, The Netherlands by Roland-Jan Buijs. It has been seen in the colony each summer since, but there are not yet any reports of this bird during the winter period.
LBBG Orange 9V - Vazon Bay, Guernsey 04 September 2010 - PKV
Only one new juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull from Burhou, Alderney was seen today - Black 5.K2 (at Chouet).
LBBG Black 5.K2 Chouet Landfill Beach 04 September - PKV

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lots of Herring Gulls and another French juvenile Great Black-backed Gull

Both Pembroke and Chouet landfill Beaches were covered in many hundreds of gulls this morning - the vast majority being Herring Gulls.
Chouet Landfill Beach 03 September - PKV
Pembroke Bay - 03 September  - PKV
As ever many of the juvenile gulls were  down at the water's edge at Pembroke - where they chase anything that may look vaguely edible. Today I was very impressed with Lesser Black-backed Gull Black 6.K3 (ringed on Burhou in July 2010), which chased off a juvenile Great Black-backed Gull! Amongst the juvenile Herring Gulls were four colour ringed birds including White 6.AL6 and White 6.AP8 (both ringed on Jethou in June 2010),
I was also very pleased to record my third juvenile Great Black-backed Gull ringed on the Chausey Islands, Manche, France by Seb Provost in July 2010 - Green J.98