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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!

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