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.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The return of another LBBG

There were still less than eight LBBGs at Chouet this morning ( a very similar number to this time last year), but amongst them was the third colour ringed bird to be recorded back in the islands this year – Black 0AA2. Ringed as an adult male on 20 May 2011 at Chouet, this gull was recorded three times in Guernsey last summer up to 12 July. It was not recorded at all over the winter…so its wintering area remains unknown.
LBBG Black 0AA2 Chouet Landfill Beach 30 January 2012 - PKV

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Glaucous Gull in the Garden...but no gulls ringed!

Chris Mourant and I had another attempt to colour ring some Herring Gulls in the garden today, but the weather was not as cold as forecast and the gulls showed remarkably little interest in the food put out for them. The highlight of the morning was a Glaucous Gull which circled over the garden and took a look at the bait, but unfortunately this northern visitor did not land! It is possible that this is the gull which Richard Keen reported landing on his fishing boat two days running last week as he entered St Peter Port Harbour.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Another Huge Session at Chouet for Colour Ringed Herring Gulls

With high tide early in the morning today, there were several thousand Herring Gulls feeding and resting within Chouet landfill. A really enjoyable 90 minutes saw me record another 170+ locally ringed Herring Gulls, as well as Blue EXT a well-known bird which had been ringed originally as as adult bird in January 2010 at Stoke Orchard Landfill, Glocs, England. There were only two (unringed) LBBGs at the landfill this morning (perhaps the cooler weather is suppressing the return of the early birds?). Seven cr GBBGs were recorded, including three well-known French birds and one from Les Ecrehous, Jersey.
Chouet Landfill 29 January 2012 
Herring Gull Blue EXT (and White 1CM1)

Monday, January 23, 2012

And now the 2nd Colour Ringed LBBG is Back in Guernsey!

A quick look at Chouet Landfill Beach this morning was rewarded with the first sighting of LBBG White 3.T8 - the second of my colour ringed LBBGs to be recorded back in the islands this year. White 3.T8 was ringed at Chouet in June 2009. It was last seen (in Guernsey) on 07 August 2011. Its first sighting in each of the last three years has been : 15 January (2010), 09 February (2011) and 23 January (2012). I do not yet know where this gull winters.
LBBG White 3.T8 CLB 23 January 2012 
LBBG White 3.T8 CLB March 2011

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The First Lesser Black-backed Gull is back!

On a very windy and damp morning at Chouet Landfill Beach, my first returning colour ringed LBBG was amongst eight LBBGs - Black 7F0. This bird had been ringed as an adult at Chouet in May 2011, and I saw it eight times during the summer up to 22 September. It was then seen in mid-October at Slapton Sands, Devon, England...but not again over the winter.
This is the first record of one of my cr LBBGs in Guernsey since 01 December - just over 7 weeks ago. This bird heralds the vanguard of the 2012 arrivals back on the breeding grounds - although based on previous years experiences it wouldn't be that surprising if Black 7F0 made several more trips to southern England before settling back onto his territory for the season.
Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach - January 2012 - PKV
The other highlight this morning was another sighting of a splendid adult Yellow-legged Gull on the beach at Chouet.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sunrise over the Islands

The cooler anticyclonic weather earlier in the week, with clear cold skies, gave rise to several days of stunning sunrises over the island’s east coast. With no gulling to report in the last few days, I include a couple of photos of a January sunrise over Herm and Jethou islands (from Guernsey’s north-east coast).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Another Superb Weekend!

High tide and hungry gulls resulted in a stunning start to the weekend at Chouet Landfill, where in 90 minutes or so on Saturday morning I recorded 178 of my cr Herring Gulls, along with 10 Great Black-backed Gulls (including the same Norwegian bird as last weekend). I have not yet had a chance to enter all the records, but I know that several of these Herring Gulls have been seen this winter in France - so the breeding birds are coming home! A superb adult Yellow-legged Gull was a nice surprise too. Only one (unringed) Lesser Black-backed Gull was recorded - maybe next weekend will see the first returning colour ringed bird. In 2011 I saw my first returning LBBG on 15 January!
On Sunday morning Chris Mourant and I took a catch of just under 50 Herring Gulls - a good test for Risto's new colour rings. The catch included a bird Chris had metal ringed as a chick at Jerbourg Cliffs, Guernsey in June 2010. Just as we were finishing a Great Black-backed Gull showed interest - so we caught him to- a huge, heavy male!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What a Wonderful Start to the Year!

OK - it may have been a week late...but this weekend got the "Guernsey Gulls" year off to a very nice start!  Firstly a 90 minute watch at Chouet on Saturday produced 17 cr GBBGs - including one Norwegian bird (Black JH617) ringed as a chick at Kristiansand, Vest-Agder in June 2011, five French birds, an English bird (Orange PF9T.) from Rainham, Great London, and 10 of my own cr birds! In addition I took 80 cr of my own Herring Gulls.
Following the recent gales, it wasn't surprising that an Iceland Gull (1st winter) and a Glaucous Gull (sub-adult) turned up (Iceland Gull see on 2nd and 6th January and Glaucous Gull seen on 6th January). Fortunately the Iceland Gull was showing very well at Chouet Landfill Beach on Saturday 7th.
GBBG Black JH617 Chouet Landfill Beach 
GBBG Black 45J 
GBBG Orange PF6T. Chouet 
GBBG Yellow 0.HH2 
Iceland Gull - 1st Winter 
Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach

And then...on Sunday Chris Mourant, Phil Alexander and I managed to catch three gulls in the garden at Ty Coed. It was hard work, with the gulls showing interest in the food, but still being very cautious. Nevertheless when an adult Great Black-backed Gull landed in the trapping area it was too good a chance to miss - so we ringed an adult GBBG and two 1st winter Herring Gulls.
PKV and GBBG Yellow 1.AA3 Ty Coed

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guernsey LBBGs watch Spanish Football?!

In recent weeks I have received a very nice series of sightings by Mercedes Fernandez of Guernsey-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the Manzanares River in Madrid, Spain. I had not appreciated until Javier Marchamalo sent me photos last night just how "urban" these gulls the river flows adjacent to the football stadium of Atletico Madrid.  below are Javier's photos of the site, and Mercedes' photos of some of the gulls which are being seen at the river.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Guernsey Gulls Ringing Totals 2011

In due course I will produce the usual annual report on the work of the "Guernsey Gulls" projects. However, having just competed all the ringing schedules and worked out the total of gulls ringed last year, I thought I'd post them. It is important to remember that these totals reflect the hard work of a significant number of people throughout the catching Guernsey, Alderney and Sark - to them all I am most grateful for another successful and enjoyable year.

The year was characterised by a stunning start to the season at Chouet Landfill, when Paul Roper and members of the North Thames Gull Group joined the local "gull team" for another week of cannon netting in mid-May. A massive total of 1,783 gulls was caught during the week...but even more pleasing than this huge total was the unprecedented numbers of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (my principal study species) trapped - 493! We also caught Guernsey's first Yellow-legged Gull, as well as 1,273 Herring Gulls and 16 Great Black-backed Gulls.

After such a start to the season..the prospects for the rest of the season looked positively awesome...however...such hopes were dashed by another very poor breeding season for gulls throughout the Bailiwick of Guernsey - probably caused this year by a protracted period of cool particularly wet weather just when the majority of gull chicks were hatching. Despite the usual hard work during the summer only 173 gull chicks were ringed across the islands - and it was very sad that only 18 of these were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This species suffered another virtual complete breeding failure this year (for the third time in five years).

Full details of the ringing totals are available at

And now it is another year...roll on the 2012 gull ringing season!