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, April 28, 2011

Herring Gulls with Curlew-like Beaks

The elongated "Curlew-like" upper mandible on this young Herring Gull is getting longer and longer...and yet it doesn't seem to be affecting the bird's survival. I did not notice any deformity of the beak when ringing this gull as a chick on Jethou in June 2010. Interestingly though there is a second 1st summer Herring Gull, which is only a few ring numbers different, which  also has an elongated upper mandible. I wonder if they are from the same nest, and it is a genetic deformity which has been passed to two of the offspring? (Because gull chicks do not stay in the nest, but hide in pebbles and vegetation close by, it is almost impossible to know which birds are siblings when we ring the chicks). In August 2010 I saw Herring Gull White 6.AP0 several times on Pembroke Beach, Guernsey (but made no comment about the upper mandible). I next saw the bird on 15 January 2011, when the mandible was noticeably it has taken time to grow to the proportions shown in the photograph. Surely it cannot keep growing, but the end will get chipped/eroded soon? It will be interesting to follow this bird's progress!
Herring Gull White 6.AP0 with elongated upper mandible - Chouet Beach 27 April 2011 - PKV

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another British Colour Ringed LBBG

In my third year of watching it was rewarding this morning to finally find an LBBG from Mike Marsh's project based in SE England. Several weeks ago I saw one of his birds on Chouet Beach, but could not read the code...and a week or so earlier did manage to read the ring on one of his Herring Gulls. However, this morning at Chouet landfill Beach Red CVL put in a very brief appearance. This gull had been ringed as a chick at the Port of Felixstowe in July 2005, and had been seen in May 2005 at the landfills around Gloucester, England.
On Chouet Beach I read one of my own metal rings Jersey E5528 - on an LBBG. Originally ringed on Sark in July 1993, this bird had also been recorded in Portimao, Portugal in November 2001 (Harry Vercruijsse), and then back in Guernsey on Chouet Landfill Beach in April 2009.
LBBG Red CVL Chouet Landfill Beach - PKV 
LBBG Jersey E5528 Chouet Beach - PKV

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Guernsey Gulls Ringing Season Commences

Over the weekend the 2011 Guernsey Gulls ringing season began with a catch of Herring Gulls in our garden at Ty Coed, Vale Marais. All were colour ringed before release, and a few of these have been seen already at Chouet.
Herring Gull White 8.AL3 at Ty Coed 24 April 2011 - PKV

Saturday, April 23, 2011

French LBBG at Chouet and our first boat trip to Herm

A rather quiet session at Chouet Landfill Beach this morning was brightened up with a French colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull - Red 520K. This is a bird from Phillippe Dubois' project run in NE France.
Mid-morning Catherine and I took our little dinghy over to Herm Island - three miles east of Guernsey. It was such a beautiful day with a flat sea and warm sunshine. Several of the Herring Gulls on the cliffs of Herm were already on nests.
LBBG Red 520K Chouet Landfill Beach - PKV 

Friday, April 22, 2011

Glaucous Gull at Chouet

Today's highlight was a 2nd cy Glaucous Gull bathing at Chouet Landfill Beach. This is the first "white-winged gull" I've seen in Guernsey this winter/spring. Amazing that it turns up after a really calm and warm period of several weeks...and not after autumn or winter storms!
2nd cy Glaucous Gull Chouet landfill Beach - PKV

Thursday, April 21, 2011

British LBBG at Chouet

The warm sunny calm weather is continuing in Guernsey, and with a rising tide at Chouet this morning, the gulls were pushed closer and closer to the camera. Although overall numbers are now dropping, as many pairs of adult gulls are nesting, there is still evidence of passage with a colour ringed LBBG from Richard Thomson's scheme based in southern Britain - White A3RA.
As expected the number of immature gulls - mostly 2nd and 3rd summer LBBGs has been growing since the end of the first week in April, with a very few 1st summer birds too.
Although the vast majority of my colour ringed breeding LBBGs are now back in Guernsey, the tail enders are continuing to arrive - e.g. White 6S9 (which was recorded last autumn in the Algarve, Portugal). 
Another highlight today was the sighiting of Jersey E4128 - a LBBG which I ringed as a chick in Sark in July 1989 - so it is now almost 22 years old!
LBBG E4128 (at almost 22 years old!) - PKV 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Weekend of Mixed Fortunes

The highlight of the weekend was another foreign metal-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull. This time a French bird - Paris DB107794 which was seen at Chouet on Saturday. I had planned to commence the gull ringing season today, with the first effort to catch a few gulls in the garden. However...things didn't really work out, and I now have more work to do before I'm in a position to try to open the season - hopefully next weekend.
LBBG Paris DB107794  Chouet Landfill Beach - PKV

Thursday, April 14, 2011

British-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Guernsey

I have recently received the original ringing details for four of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls that were seen in 2010 in Guernsey with metal rings only (i.e. no colour rings). Reading metal rings is very difficult (as the inscriptions are so small), and for every full code recorded I have usually taken only a part of the code on several others! However…as these four birds show…it is worth making the effort!

London GN85760 pullus 12/07/2005 Skomer Island, Dyfed WALES Edward Grey Institute 22/09/2010

London GC46902 pullus 15/07/2007 Skomer Island, Dyfed WALES Edward Grey Institute 28/04/2010
Chouet landfill GUERNSEY

London GC79-21 pullus 07/07/2008 Terrington Marsh, Norfolk ENGLAND Wash Wader Ringing Group
19/05/2010 Pembroke Beach GUERNSEY

London GA20677 pullus 03/07/1998 Rockcliffe Marsh, Cumbria, ENGLAND North Solway Ringing  Group 22/03/2010 Chouet Landfill  GUERNSEY
LBBG London GC79-21 Pembroke 19 May 2010 - PKV 
LBBG London GN85760 L'Eree, Guernsey 22 September 2010 - PKV 
LBBG London GA20677 Chouet Landfill 22 March 2010 - PKV

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Very Special Morning at Chouet

One of the pleasures of my gull recording at this time of year (mid-late spring) is the increase in the number of immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls which appear at Chouet and on Guernsey’s north coast beaches. While some of these birds are known to be migrants from colonies further north, the majority are probably birds which have returned to the Channel Islands to prospect a breeding site for their first breeding attempt in one or two years’ time. These birds will have spent their first year or two further south in Iberia or even North Africa. Now that my principal gull colour ringing studies have entered their third year I am looking forward to seeing some of my “chicks” for the first time since ringing.

Today was momentous in that LBBG Black 0.S8 was back on Chouet landfill Beach. We ringed this bird as a chick on Burhou, Alderney in July 2009, and this is the first time that the bird has been recorded again in the Islands. However…what makes this gull so special is that it is one of the very first of our chicks that Catherine and I saw on its wintering grounds in The Algarve, Portugal in December 2009!

For me the return of this gull in particular is a very special moment in my studies. I hope that it is the first of many such returnees over the years ahead!
LBBG Black 0.S8 Chouet 13/04/11 - PKV 
LBBG Black 0.S8 Quarteira, Algarve, Portugal - 06/12/09 - PKV

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Misty Morning But Not Without Excitement

In complete contrast to the scorching sunny weekend, it dawned grey, misty and cool today. Chouet landfill Beach soon filled with gulls bathing and resting, and although returning Guernsey colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls were once again thin on the ground, there was excitement with a Norwegian cr LBBG (Black J55U) and a LBBG ringed by Peter Rock (White red code F:N) as a chick in Bristol, England in July 2007 (which had been seen in Malaga, Spain in January 2009).
LBBG Black J55U Chouet - PKV

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Good Gull Show at Chouet with Dave Murray Over from England

Dave Murray, who lives in Chesire, England was over in Guernsey for a long weekend, and we were able to enjoy a very nice session recording gull colour rings at Chouet landfill Beach and in the landfill on Saturday. Almost all of the c 80 colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls observed had already been seen this spring, but the undisputed highight was reading the metal ring on a Swedish Lesser Black-backed Gull - Stockholm 8106904. This is my first record in Guernsey of a gull from Sweden!

Also surprising was the sighting of a tibia-ringed Herring Gull from France - although I am not sure that we managed to record all the code.

A very fast trip out first thing Sunday morning resulted in c 30 cr Lesser Black-backed Gull ring reads, including one bird on Chouet Beach which appears to be from Mike Marsh's study at Orfordness, Suffolk, England. However, the code was very hard to read and I am not sure we will be able to identify the exact individual bird.
Chouet Landfill - PKV 
LBBG Stockholm 8106904 Chouet Landfill - PKV 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Belgian Lesser Black-backed Gull and British Herring Gull at Chouet

What an utter joy to be out at dawn on such glorious mornings - with the early morning sun slowly burning off the night time's heavy dew. The rising tide at Chouet once again brought the gulls close to the camera, although there was quite a lot of human disturbance this morning. The highlights of a really pleasant session were a Belgian metal-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull and a British colour-ringed Herring Gull from Pitsea, Essex, England (North Thames Gull Group).
Chouet Beach

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

High tide and close gulls at Chouet

This morning's trip to Chouet had to be brief in view of work commitments, but it was nonetheless still productive, with 40+cr sightings of my Lesser Black-backed Gulls including both of my Guernsey ringed adults that were seen in Morocco last winter! The high tide pushed the gulls closer and closer until in the end a jogger flushed them all and I had to race off to work.