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.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Yellow-legged Gull to End the Year!

Despite the grey, wet and windy weather I went out to Chouet this morning for an hour to complete the gull watching year. While there were no major thrills - 19 colour-ringed GBBGs was a reasonable haul (four French and one English birds) along with the regular wintering Black-headed Gull from Poland (White TARM).
A 3rd winter+ Yellow-legged Gull was my 51st observation of this species for the year - and to think I actually went decades birding in Guernsey before I even saw this species! There is no doubt that recent years have seen a very significant upsurge in sightings in Guernsey. I'm hoping to undertake a simple analysis of records in Guernsey with the island's bird recorder Mark Lawlor later in the winter.
In the meantime many thanks to everyone who has helped in any way with our gull research in the Bailiwick of Guernsey in 2013...and Very Best Wishes for a Happy and Gull-rich 2014!

 3rdW+ Yellow-legged Gull at Chouet
 Spot the Yellow-legged Gull (it's easier in the flesh!)
A Grey and Wet End to the Year at Chouet...but as ever...Gulls to Enjoy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Northern Gulls

I finally got back into the field in Guernsey today...and there was a distinctly "Northern" feel to the gulls at Chouet with 250+ Great Black-backed Gulls, including 22 colour-ringed birds (mostly local birds, but also two French, three English and one Norwegian). The Norwegian bird was a first winter, ringed as a chick north of Bergen (Hordaland) in June 2013, and then seen previously at Skegness, Lincoln in August 2013.
There was a also a 1st Winter Glaucous Gull - my first in Guernsey this year!

Glaucous Gull at Chouet (also GBBG White L:AC4 from Looe Island, Cornwall, England) (c) PKV

Saturday, December 21, 2013


I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped in any way with the gull research this year, and wish every one who reads this blog a Very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful and Gull-Rich 2014!
For this year's Christmas photo I've not chosen an individual gull, or gulls at any site on land...but instead a photo from one of many memorable gull watching days here in Guernsey in 2013...when I went out with Guernsey Sea Fisheries on patrol in August...and watched Lesser Black-backed Gulls where they are truly at sea!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Remarkable Coincidences!

During my week in Morocco earlier this month, I was fortunate to see nine of my own  colour-ringed LBBGs from Guernsey. However, thanks to prompt replies from Roland-Jan Buijs and Eric Stienen (respectively), I have just learnt that I saw some other “familiar” gulls at Anza. Remarkably I had observed two of the gulls (one from The Netherlands – Black 9.8 and one from Belgium –Blue UJAC) in September 2013 in the Algarve, Portugal. What are the chances of this?!
Less surprising, given LBBGs known winter site fidelity, I have also discovered that many of the gulls seen this December (including three Guernsey birds) had been seen by me at the very same site (Anza) either in December 2010 or 2012 (or both!).

It really is remarkable to meet up with the same gulls so far apart on the globe!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Glimpse of the Anza Gull Bonanza!

Below is a short video of what it's like to enjoy the gulls on the beach at Anza!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Colour Ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Anza, Morocco

Here is a comparison of the country of ringing for my Lesser Black-backed Gull reads from three trips to Anza, Agadir, Morocco - each trip has been in early December. The numbers refer to individual birds (not total sightings):-

Lesser Black-backed Gulls 2010 2012 2013
Norway                            31 65 54
The Netherlands                 32 64 54
Belgium                               19 28 29
Denmark                             4 18 23
England                               17 28 22
Germany                            6 8 12
Channel Islands                   7 7 9
France                                   7 7 8
Scotland 0 5 6
Wales                                    2 5 5
Iceland                                 3 3 1
Ireland 0 0 2
Portugal 0 1 1
TOTAL                               128 239 226
(Effort was more limited in 2010)

The complete picture by country for 2013 only is as follows:-

The Netherlands 100 54
Norway 105 54
Belguim 59 29
Denmark 36 23
England 39 22
Germany 21 12
Guernsey 18 9
France 12 8
Wales 14 5
Scotland 11 6
Ireland 5 2
Iceland 4 1
Portugal 2 1
TOTAL 426 226

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Guernsey Gulls in Africa

Watching birds you know well several thousand kilometres from home is an incredible experience! I'm just back from a week in Morocco, based at Agadir. My previous visit to Agadir had been in December 2010 and 2012. What makes Agadir such a good base for reading gull colour rings in Africa is the fish processing factory just to the north at Anza. The beach here can fill with 30,000+ gulls - almost all Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Fantastic views can be obtained of the gulls as they feed. Over the next week or so I'll make several postings about this wondrous place. I haven't analysed my field book yet, but I was very pleased to take a lot of colour ring reads. The majority were LBBGs from Northern Europe (Norway, Germany, Denmark, The Netherlands and Belgium), but I saw birds from c 20 projects from all over Northern and Western Europe, including eight Guernsey ringed birds!

All Photos (c) PKV

Monday, November 25, 2013

Guernsey Gulls at Malaga, Spain

Fortunately Salva Garcia has been visiting the pre-roost flock of Lesser Black-backed Gulls at Malaga Port, Spain for many winters, and he regularly reports Guernsey colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls from this site. In 2011 I was fortunate enough to join Salva and Gabriel Martin on one of their weekend visits to the port. It was a memorable experience! What makes this site so dramatic is the high concentration of LBBGs in a relatively confined area. The gulls do not roost in the harbour, but gather from mid-late afternoon before flying out to sea to roost. This weekend Salva sent the photo below, along with another seven records of Guernsey cr LBBGs - my thanks to Salva for all his hard work in the area!
 LBBGs at Malaga Port (c) Salva Garcia
LBBG White 7.Z4 (from Sark) at Malaga 24 November 2013 (c) Salva Garcia

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Very Nice Gull Catch

With the weather turning that little bit colder, Chris, Phil and I took a very nice catch of 126 Herring Gulls in the garden this morning. Just as last year, our single November catch was comprised very largely of 1st Winter birds (60%), with only 20% being adult birds. What is perhaps more surprising is the very low retrap rate of  only 8%...and indication of just how many Herring Gulls are attracted to Guernsey in winter probably from South-Western England and North-Western France.
Herring Gull W1JC4

Saturday, November 23, 2013

10,000 TO 0 LBBGs in a Week!

What a  difference a few days and 1,200 km distance make. At Eirol Landfill, Aveiro, Portugal last week I saw 10,000 LBBGs (including 25 Guernsey colour-ringed birds). Today back home in Guernsey at Chouet landfill I recorded (as expected) precisely zero! Over the six winters I've been studying gulls on Guernsey, LBBGs remain scarce in winter with perhaps only 10-20 birds on the Island on any winter's day. 
Despite this lack of  my favourite gull, Chouet landfill was still excellent this morning. I had a thoroughly enjoyable two hour session recording just over 200 of our locally cr Herring Gulls, along with 18 GBBGs (which included three French birds (two Manche and one Seine-Maritime), one Cornish bird (Looe Island) and one Norwegian (Vest-Agder).

 Gulls at Chouet Landfill
 GBBG Green M79 - from Iles St Marcouf, Manche, France
GBBG White L:BC4 from Looe Island, Cornwall

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

LBBG Black 2AS0

With so many gull colour ring reports coming in every week now, I rarely pick out individual birds for mention in this blog, but I'll make an exception for Black 2AS0. Ringed as a chick on Burhou, Alderney in July 2012, this gull spent its first winter around Madrid, Spain (being recorded several times from landfill sites there from 24 February to 14 April 2013). It was not recorded all summer, but then spent the autumn on  Guernsey's west coast (where I recorded in it from 05 September to 01 November). Only nine days later I caught up with this gull again 1,100 km away on Meira Beach, Coimbra, Portugal. This was not the only gull I had been watching in Guernsey during the late autumn, which I saw in Portugal on my recent trip...but there is something truly awesome following the spectacular lives of such inexperienced birds as they try to survive the most difficult and dangerous years of their lives.
 LBBG B2AS0 Burhou July 2012
 LBBG B2AS0 Colmenar Viejo Landfill, Madrid 24 Feb 2013 (c) Delphin González
 LBBG B2AS0 Pinto Landfill, Madrid 14 April 2013  (c) Delphin González
LBBG B2AS0 15 March 2013 Pinto Landfill, Madrid - (c) Javier Marchamalo

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quick Trip to Northern Portugal

I've just come back from an amazing five day trip to Northern Portugal, covering many sites along the coast from Matosinhos to Figueira da Foz. While there it was very good to meet Malcolm and Vera Millais, Peter Rock,  Inocencio Oliveira and Teresa Rocha. This area of Iberia is clearly of huge importance to wintering Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the Channel Islands. Over the five days I visited Matosinhos Beach and Fish Port, Praia da Mira, Figueria da Foz (beaches and fish port), Aveiro Flats, Gafanha da Nazaré Fish Port, Vagueria and the landfills at Vil de Matos and Eirol. I took just over 250 colour ringed gull observations, of which 90 were LBBGs from Guernsey/Alderney/Sark. My sincere thanks to all the above and also to Tim Van Nus who helped in lots of ways to enable such a successful and really enjoyable quick trip!

 Malcolm at Matosinhos Fish POrt

 Gulls on Matosinhos Beach

 Gulls on Figueira da Foz Beach
 Peter at Vil de Mata Landfill
 Gulls at Praia de Mira
 Figueira da Foz

 Fishing boat returning to Gafanha da Nazaré

 Eirol Landfill