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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Calmer Weather = Fewer Gulls

Although there was still quite a breeze yesterday morning, and a heavy rain shower, the weather was less stormy than on Tuesday. My early morning trip down the west coast resulted in totals of 200 GBBGs, 150 LBBGs and an adult Yellow-legged Gull. 12 cr GBBGs were recorded (nine French – seven Chausey Islands and two Le Havre, two Cornish and one local bird).
10 of the LBBGs were colour ringed – of which the most exciting was Black 0.K0 a chick ringed on Burhou, Alderney in July 2009, and seen a dozen times in NW Spain from 05/09/09 to 27/08/11. This is another example of a 2nd summer gull moving north in the autumn! We are now more than half way through October…but I remain confident that my west coast LBBG flock is going to whittle away soon…and I will have nearly two months of winter without a sighting of any of my colour ringed LBBGs – but we will see!
The weather was calm this morning...and as a result I could only find 80 LBBGs (seven cr - all local) and 50 GBBGs (three cr - all French birds from Chausey Islands).
GBBG Green E.71 (from Chausey Islands, France) - PKV

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Love a Good Storm!

Last night I was lying in bed listening to the strong wind and steady rain thinking that this bad weather may well drive good numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls to Guernsey’s west coast…so it was with a great deal of anticipation that I drove down the coast this morning. As expected there were 250+ GBBGs in small flocks on Vazon, Perelle and L’Eree beaches – and amongst these birds were no fewer than 22 colour-ringed birds – 11 from France (seven Chausey Islands, Manche and four Le Havre, Seine-Maritime), two from Cornwall, England and nine of my local birds.
Amongst 240 LBBGs were Peter Rock’s Green G:H from Bristol, England (which was at Slapton Sands, Devon only two days earlier), and eight of my locally cr birds – including Black 0.Z1 which had been ringed as a chick on Burhou, Alderney in July 2009.
Another highlight was a superbly marked adult Yellow-legged Gull on Perelle Beach and later Vazon Beach.
A very quick trip to the coast at lunchtime revealed 500+ GBBGs - but the vast majority were sitting down in the rocks some distance from the coastline. I only managed to read another two Chausey birds, but a 1st winter LBBG Black 4.P8 (Burhou, Alderney 2010) was another superb find!
Gulls on Perelle 
Gulls on Vazon 
GBBG Black 66G 
GBBG Yellow 0.XX9 
GBBG Yellow 0.XX9 when ringed 
GBBG White L:AU5 
GBBG White L:AJ8 
Yellow-legged Gull (adult) Vazon

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The LBBG flock reduces further!

The weather was once again beautiful...very calm and I did not expect to see many Great Black-backed Gulls along the west coast - and so it proved! The LBBG flock has also now dwindled to around 70-80 birds - with just two of my cr birds seen today - Black 8AC2 and Black 1AA1. There were some metal ringed LBBGs - three Channel Islands birds and one British (but I couldn't read the whole code). Interestingly I have a report that several of the LBBGs from Guernsey's late autumn flock were seen together at Slapton Sands, Devon, England on 15 October - two days after I last saw them here in Guernsey. I still believe that most (if not all) of these birds will winter further south. It will be interesting to see if I record any of them back in Guernsey before next year's breeding season commences.

There were two adult Mediterranean Gulls at Portelet Beach this morning.

With the weather so superb, Catherine and I took a trip out around Herm with my brother. It was a lovely trip, where we recorded at least six Atlantic Grey Seals.
Mediterranean Gulls on Portelet Beach - PKV 
Atlantic Grey Seal - Herm - PKV
Herm 16 October 2011 - PKV

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Norwegian Lesser Black-backed Gull in Guernsey

A very quick trip down the Island's west coast at lunch-time was very productive. Many of the 350+ LBBGs were too distant on the low tide to be able to see their legs well, but fortunately one of only a handful of birds at closer range at Vazon was a Norwegian LBBG - Blue J3ZH. Ringed as a chick in Vest-Agder in 2007, this bird was recorded by Antonio Gutierrez on passage at Pantin Beach, A Coruna, Spain on 12/10/2010. In the meantime it was recorded back in Norway. Also still present today were LBBG Blue DHC (from Gloucester, England) and Green G:H (from Bath, England).
LBBG Blue J3ZH Vazon - PKV

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ten Foreign Colour Ringed Gulls Today!

Given the very strong winds and high tide around dawn today, I was not surprised to find c 250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and c 200 Great Black-backed Gulls on the island's west coast beaches. There were still 15 of my locally cr LBBGs, along with Blue DHC from Gloucester, England. The 17 cr GBBGs today may well be a day record for me. Amongst these gulls were one from Mandal, Norway, eight from France (six from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime and two from Chausey Islands), one from Cornwall, England, one from Jersey and six of my locally cr birds from Guernsey).
Gulls on Vazon Beach 09 October 2011 - PKV 
GBBG Black JP282 Vazon (from Mandal, Norway) - PKV 
GBBG Black JLF Vazon (from Jersey) - PKV 
GBBG Green E.46 Portelet Beach - PKV 
GBBG White L:AJ8 Portelet Beach - PKV

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Nine Foreign Colour-Ringed Gulls in Guernsey Today

The post-dawn run along the west coast was very productive today, with c 250 Lesser Black-backed Gulls primarily on L'Eree and Portelet Beaches. This number included 17 locally colour ringed birds, as well as two British ringed birds - Blue DHC (Gloucester landfill) which was first seen in Guernsey on 4th October, and Green G:H (a bird from Peter Rock's study based in SW England). This bird was ringed as a chick in 2005 in Bristol, and it was seen in Guernsey last autumn on 19 and 20 October.
Seven foreign colour-ringed Great Black-backed Gulls were seen - six from France ( four from Chausey Islands, Manche and two from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime) and one from Cornwall, England.
LBBG Green G:H L'Eree - PKV 
LBBG Blue DHC L'Eree Beach - PKV 
GBBG Black 53G Portelet Beach, PKV 
GBBG Green K.72 L'Eree Beach PKV

Friday, October 7, 2011

And Another British-Ringed LBBG

Having been in Jersey for work for the past two days, this is a very quick posting regarding another British-colour-ringed LBBG seen in Guernsey on 05 October 2011 at Portelet Beach. This was Blue JHV, a bird ringed in its 1st summer in May 2010 (so a 2009 chick) at Gloucester landfill, England. The wintering site of this gull is not yet known.
LBBG Blue JHV Portelet Beach, Guernsey 05/10/11 - PKV 
Gulls at Portelet Beach 05 October 2011 - PKV

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

British Ringed LBBG at L'Eree Beach

A quick drive down Guernsey’s west coast this morning resulted in around 200 Lesser Black-backed Gulls being seen – c 100 at L’Eree Beach, with 60 at Perelle and 40 at Vazon. These birds included nine of my colour ringed adults, as well as Black 1AF8 the one and only juvenile LBBG from Sark seen fledged this autumn (so far!). The other main excitement was LBBG Blue DHC observed in the small flock at L’Eree Beach. This bird had been ringed at Gloucester Landfill, England in May 2008.
LBBG Blue DHC L'Eree Beach - PKV

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Immature LBBGs from Burhou

Some good fortune this morning enabled me to read two metal ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls at L'Eree Beach - both were immature birds which had been ringed as chicks (Jersey D4677 in July 2009) and Jersey D5504 in July 2010) on Burhou, Alderney. Both chicks had been too small when ringed to take a colour ring. It was great to record these immatures still near their natal colony in October! 
Other highlights this morning included another juvenile Great Black-backed Gull from Chausey Islands, Manche, France (Green K.72), and eight of my locally colour ringed LBBGs.
Little Egrets at L'Eree Beach 
LBBG Jersey D5504 L'Eree 01 October 2011 - PKV 
LBBG Jersey D4677 L'Eree 01 October 2011 - PKV 

GSPCA in Guernsey Cares for Gulls Following Botulism Outbreak

Following the recent outbreak of avian botulism amongst Herring Gulls in Guernsey, when over 100 gulls appear to have been infected, the GSPCA has made sterling efforts to rehabilitate those gulls which had the strength to survive the initial onslaught of the food poisoning. On 18 September eight Herring Gulls were colour ringed, and seven of these birds have survived to be released back into the wild. At lunch time today Catherine and I returned to ring a second batch of seven Herring Gulls and one adult Great Black-backed Gull, which are all recovering well now, and should be due for release soon.

It is hoped that by colour ringing these gulls data will be gathered on the survival rates for these birds once released. Our thanks to Yvonne and the hard working staff at the GSPCA for the countless hours of care which they put in to rehabilitating a range of wild birds in Guernsey!