A check of the Island's west coast beaches today gave a count of 28 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (once again none of our colour ringed birds). A decent roost of Great Black-backed Gulls off Fort Le Crocq held another new Norwegian bird - Black JA082 (a 2nd winter bird from Vest-Agder - Morten Helberg and Thomas Bentsen). There was also a 1st winter GBBG from St George's Island, Looe, Cornwall, England- White L:AJ8 (Bruce Taggart) and a French GBBG (Green E.95) from Chausey Islands (Seb Provost).
Great Black-backed Gull roost off Fort Le Crocq - 31 October 2010 - PKV
Another very quick early morning trip down the island's west coast proved very successful - despite the poor light. Amongst only 30 Great Black-backed Gulls at Vazon were seven colour ringed birds - five French-ringed birds (three from Seine-Maritime - Gilles Le Guillou) and two from Chausey Islands (Seb Provost). Pride of place went to Blue J3LT - a 1st winter gull that had been ringed in June 2010 on the seabird island of Hornoya, Vardo in Finnmark, Norway - almost 3,000km from Guernsey! The other colour ringed bird was a local bird ringed as a chick on Jethou this summer.
On nearbe Perelle Beach there were another three cr Great Black-backed Gulls - two more from Chausey Islands, France and another Norwegian bird Black JH254 (which I have seen twice before in Guernsey in September 2010). Finally there was another locally cr GBBG on L'Eree.
My Lesser Black-backed Gull count this morning reached 32 birds - with no colour ringed birds.
Gull watching on Guernsey has become much more difficult this week – primarily because I am struggling for enough light in the morning before having to be at work. This situation should improve again for a few weeks when “Daylight Saving” ends in Guernsey on 31 October 2010, and the clocks go back one hour. A quick dash to the West coast at lunchtime today did result in the sighting of a new French cr Great Black-backed Gull – Black 89E from Gilles Le Guillou’s project based at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime.
While it has been relatively quiet here in Guernsey, I am delighted with the steady flow of reports of sightings of Guernsey-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls (mainly from Iberia) and Herring Gulls (several from the Vendee and Normandy coasts of France). In addition Michael Davis has sent in reports for 12 Guernsey Lesser Black-backed Gulls that he saw at Quarteira, Algarve, Portugal earlier in October. This has whetted my appetite even more for our own trip to Quarteira next month. Hopefully some of the Guernsey birds will still be there!
Finally…the number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Guernsey has now dropped even further to a maximum of perhaps 40 birds (although hopefully I will be able to confirm this with some more field work over the coming weekend). In particular I shall be looking to see whether I can find any Guernsey colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Guernsey (as I still suspect that all my birds leave the island in winter - at least over the period November-December).
LBBG Black 6.T5 Quarteira Oct 10 - Michael Davis
LBBG White 3.U5 Quarteira Oct 10 - Michael Davis
LBBG White 6.U5 Quarteira October 2010 - Michael Davis
With a stormy, wet night I thought today may be quite good down Guernsey's west coast for Great Black-backed Gulls - and so it proved. Around 200 GBBGs were seen - and amongst them were seven colour ringed birds from out of the island. The most exciting was Blue J2AN - ringed in Vest-Agder, Norway in June 2006 (Marton Berntsen) - and recorded several times since in Pas-de-Calais, France (Jean Michel Sauvage and Simon Feys). The other birds were two more from Gilles Le Guillou (Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France) and three from Chausey Islands, Manche, France (Seb Provost), and an adult bird from Les Ecrehous, Jersey (Ian Buxton).
GBBG Black 13E Chouet Landfill Beach - PKV
GBBG Blue J2AN L'Eree Aerodrome - PKV
GBBG Blue J2AN Boulogne-sur-Mer - 12 Aug 2008 - Jean Michel Sauvage
This past week has been an extremely busy one with a very good stream of Lesser Black-backed Gull sightings being reported from NW, SW and Central Spain. Added to this a new record of 19 sightings (involving 18 gulls) was reported from a single trip made to Portugal by Arnold Gronert (The Netherlands). However, even before I'd had a chance to process these sightings an e-mail came in from Peter Rock, who had just returned to England from a short holiday in Portugal - with no less than 49 sightings of my Lesser Black-backed Gulls (42 different gulls)!
At the same time some windy weather early in the week resulted in some good gull watching along Guernsey's West Coast. On 19 October a new record of seven foreign colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls was recorded. Ony one of these birds had been previously seen in Guernsey (Green E.30 - from Chausey Islands, France - Seb Provost). The six new birds included one Norwegian bird - Black JA609 (nr Mandal, Vest-Agder - Finn Jorgensen), three from Le Havre, France (Gilles Le Guillou (Black 53G, Black 71E and Blue 51C) and two more from Chausey, France (Green B.17 and J.20).
There was also a Lesser Black-backed Gull (Green G:H) which had been ringed as a chick in Bristol, England (Peter Rock).
The next day there was another of Gilles Le Guillou's Great Black-backed Gulls - Blue 61C, and a Lesser Black-backed Gull from Iceland, but this ring was so badly worn that it was unreadable (Pale Blue - possibly Y 156 or Y166).
Also of considerable interest is the fact that three of my Guernsey colour-ringed adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls are still present in Guernsey - Black 3.K3, Black 3.J3 and Black 2.C9. Surely these birds will shortly move away for the winter? One chick from Burhou, Alderney (Black 4.T1) was also seen in Guernsey this week.
All in all - an absolutely fabulous week for the Guernsey Gulls colour ring projects!
GBBG Green E.30 on an earlier visit to Guernsey - PKV
On Saturday 16 October I ringed my first gulls in three months, when Phil Alexander (who is the latest trainee bird ringer under the Channel Islands Bird Ringing Scheme) and I caught seven Herring Gulls at Chouet landfill. Although we will only be able to trap a very small sample of Herring Gulls at the landfill over the winter, I am nevertheless very pleased to be able to do this, as all my Herring Gulls colour ringed over the past two years have been ringed during the summer months. I strongly suspect that some of the Herring Gulls (particularly the juvenile birds) are birds that were born on the south coast of England or the adjacent Normandy and Brittany coasts of France, but it will be very nice to see if this is indeed the case (assuming we can colour ring a reasonable (if small) sample).
Phil Alexander with Herring Gull White 7.AH3 - Chouet landfill - PKV
One of the highlights this weekend was great news from Antonio Gutierrez in NW Spain, that he had seen three of my Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the same beach (Pantín) in NW Spain. This isn't the first time that Antonio has seen three of my "Guernsey-ringed" Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the same day...however...how about this for a photo - two chicks both ringed in July 2010 on Burhou, Alderney - and then recorded together over 800km away! Of course I do wonder whether these two juveniles flew down to NW Spain together...or did they just meet up again on the beach at Pantín?! The wonders of bird migration...FANTASTIC!
LBBG Black 6.T9 and Black 4.X5 on Pantín Beach, Spain - Antonio Gutierrez
LBBG Black 4.X5 Pantín - Antonio Gutierrez
LBBG Black 4.X5 Burhou, Alderney 09 July 2010 - PKV
September was a very surprising month with a very good series of records of colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls. Although the largest flock found consisted of arund 150 birds, turn over appeared to be high with few cr birds being seen more than once or twice. A summary of origins of these birds is as follows:-
Chausey Islands, FRANCE 10
Seine-Maritime, FRANCE 11
Vardo, NORWAY 1
Vest-Agder, NORWAY 2
Cornwall, ENGLAND 2
October has been a difficult month so far for ring reading, because of a combination of tide times, the shortening of daylight (so very little time is available before work) and the re-opening of all beaches to dogs (thus increasing disturbance). It was therefore pleasing yesterday to be able to find several small flocks of gulls on the Island's west coast beaches. In total around 60 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls remain (including two of my colour ringed birds - one Guernsey nesting bird and one from Sark).
Although only 50 adult Great Black-backed Gulls were seen, five were colour ringed (two of my own birds, along with two from Jersey (Ian Buxton) and one from Chausey Islands, France (Seb Provost).
A very well marked adult Yellow-legged Gull at L'Eree was also a very nice find.
Given that very few Lesser Black-backed Gulls visit Chouet Landfill, or the beaches of the northern coastline of Guernsey, after late August (i.e. once the breeding birds have largely left), it was surprising that nine foreign-ringed birds were recorded this year in September. This was because throughout the month there were between 200 and 350 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls daily along the Island's west coast - with Vazon, Perelle and L'Eree being the principal areas. This included five of my cr adults (three from Guernsey and two from Sark). Four of these birds are still here into October...and I am intrigued to know how long they will linger now that we are cutting deep into autumn.
Lesser Black-backed Gulls from abroad were recorded as follows:-
The Netherlands 2
SW England 3
Britain (unknown) 2
LBBG Blue YH05 ringed Iceland (Gunnar Hallgrimsson)
LBBG Red H.748 ringed Amrum, Germany (Sonke Martens)
LBBG Orange 9V - Noord Brabant, The Netherlands (Roland-Jan Buijs)
LBBG White KL ringed Zeeland, The Netherlands (Roland-Jan Buijs)
Further evidence that some migrating Great Black-backed Gulls visit Guernsey's shores in different years was gained today when Black JA612 was seen on Perelle Beach. This gull was ringed as a chick at Bauholmen, Mandal, Vest-Agder, Norway on 29/06/08 (Morten Helberg & Finn Jorgensen & Pedersen). I first saw it on Guernsey on 28 November 2008. It was not seen again until 27 May 2009. Today was the third sighting of this gull - it has therefore been recorded on two autumn migrations and one spring migration.
Also seen today was Great Black-backed Gull Blue 91D - ringed as a chick by Gilles Le Guillou at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France on 16/06/09. The only previous sighting of this bird was also at Perelle Beach on 20/09/10.