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, January 31, 2013

Madrid Gulls

On most weekends throughout the winter the very hard working members of the Madrid Gull Team send me a series of observations of “Guernsey”-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls from the landfills around Spain’s capital city of Madrid. Last weekend some 30 reports of Guernsey LBBGs were received from the Madrid landfills of Colmenar Viejo and Pinto. A 3rd landfill further to the south (Alcazar de San Juan) is also well watched with frequent reports of our gulls there too. It is fascinating to see how faithful many of the gulls are to these sites from one winter to the next. Many of our gulls which have travelled down the west coast of Iberia in the autumn find their way along the southern coasts of Portugal and Spain by mid-winter, before turning north to spend some time at the Madrid Landfills before making their more direct northward return migrations in spring. Javier Marchamalo kindly sent the photos below of some of the gulls at Pinto last weekend.
The web site of the Madrid Gull Team is regularly updated at

LBBGs at Pinto landfill, Madrid 25 January 2013 - all photos (c) Javier Marchamalo

Monday, January 28, 2013

Malaga Gulls

Each winter I receive regular reports from Salva Garcia of some Guernsey-ringed LBBGs which attend the pre-roost gathering of gulls (mostly LBBGs) at Malaga Port in southern Spain. There appears to be a high level of site fidelity for many of these gulls between years. In October 2011 I was lucky enough to visit the area with Salva and Gabi Martín, when we saw some of the Guernsey birds amongst the large flocks. This weekend Salva sent the photos below, which brought back very happy memories of my brief visit. It is a very impressive gathering of gulls. They actually roost out in the bay, but gather from mid-afternoon in these impressive flocks.

 LBBGs at Malaga (c) Salva Garcia

"Guernsey" LBBG White 7.Z4 at Malaga (c) Salva Garcia

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Close Gull Encounters

A couple of hours at Chouet landfill this morning enabled more very close encounters with several thousand gulls - mostly Herring Gulls. As well as recording c 120 of my locally colour-ringed birds, I simply enjoyed watching the birds feeding. Amongst perhaps 80 Great Black-backed Gulls there were relatively few ringed birds (six) - all local apart from a 1st winter ringed as a chick in Portland Harbour last June (P:35A). About ten Lesser Black-backed Gulls were seen, including Black 5AK5 (ringed in May 2012 at Chouet and last seen in Guernsey on 18 September at L'Erée Beach, Guernsey. There were no reports of this bird over the winter.

 Herring Gulls Feeding at Chouet landfill
 Chouet landfill
LBBG Black 5AK5 back in Guernsey

Friday, January 25, 2013

Three More LBBGs Back Home

The Perelle gull flock contained c 15 LBBGs this morning, of which at least five were locally ringed birds. Two were too distant to read, but three birds were identified - all ringed in 2012...and frustratingly none observed over the winter period. It's great to see them arriving back for the 2013 breeding season...albeit slowly as usual at this time of year.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Baker's Dozen of cr GBBGs in Perelle

After recording c80 cr Herring Gulls on the northern beaches this morning, I took a trip down the Island's west coast. The only beach worth stopping was Perelle, where several hundred GBBGs were resting  Unfortunately the tide was rather low and the birds very distant. It took me a long time to confirm the rings...but there were at least 13 cr birds amongst the GBBG flock! The rings seen were from France 6 (Seine-Maritime 4 and Chausey 2), England 3 (Cornwall 2 and Dorset 1), Noway 1 and Guernsey 3. 
There were very few LBBGs on the northern beaches (less than 10 and no cr birds). At Perelle there were c20 LBBGs (including two locally ringed birds that were too distant to read the codes). Some of the birds which arrived a week or 10 days back have almost certainly headed back south, following the cold weather of last week. Even some Herring Gulls have done this - for example White 1.VV8 seen at Treffieux landill, Loire-Atlantique, France by Yann Brilland on 27 October, was back at Chouet Landfill on 19 January - only for it to return to Treffieux where it was seen today by Willy Raitiere.
Perelle Beach

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Guernsey Gulls 2012 Annual Report Published

The 2012 Guernsey Gulls Annual Report (including photos) has now been published on the Guernsey Gulls web site. To read the report please click on this link :-

Guernsey Gulls Annual Report 2012

LBBG Black 6.T5 Tanji Bird Reserve, The Gambia - (c) Clive Barlow

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Snow's All Gone!

As expected we awoke today to no snow - it had all melted yesterday afternoon and overnight. A trip to Chouet Landfill this morning resulted in c 120 local Herring Gull ring reads, along with nine Great Black-backed Gulls (five local and four French - two Chausey Islands and two Seine-Maritime). Despite the lack of snow, the easterly wind was cold, and after 90 minutes I rushed home for a warm coffee and breakfast!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Four Foreigners!

That was the tally of foreign colour-ringed gulls on Chouet Beach and Bordeaux Harbour late this afternoon. The Norwegian and French GBBGs were already known, as was the Polish Black-headed Gull, but Herring Gull White A+Z was a new sighting in the Islands of a gull from Peter Rock's urban gull projects running in SW England. Noticeably scare today were Lesser Black-backed Gulls. I would not be surprised if this cold weather has temporarily pushed the early arriving birds back south a little at least until it thaws out.

Gull Flock on Chouet Beach

Snow Gulls!

Snow is rare in winter in Guernsey. The ever present influence of the Gulf Stream usually ensures that temperatures never drop low enough for such weather...but last night was an exception. Strong south-easterly winds blowing off the nearby Continent brought a light dusting of snow. Catherine and I were out an hour before light to walk the Common and enjoy the rare treat! 
As soon as there was light I visited the nearby beaches looking for gulls...and there were plenty. However...the snow made it almost impossible to read rings. I'll have to wait until later in the day to try to get some records.
 Snow Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach
 Grande Havre Beach
 Chouet landfill Beach
 Chouet Landfill Beach
 Grande Havre
 L'Ancresse Common
 Ladies' Bay
 L'Ancresse Common
 Les Ammareurs
Vale Pond

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Hat-trick of GBBGs from Portland Harbour, England

During a very quick stop at Chouet landfill Beach today, I recorded three GBBGs which had been colour ringed in Portland Harbour, Dorset, England last summer. P:30A and P:59A were easily read, but the 3rd gull had a very dirty ring obscuring the 2nd digit. Hopefully I'll catch up with this gull again in the next few days to confirm the reading. On Pembroke Beach, the Polish Black-headed Gull White TETT was feeding in a small flock of c 40 birds.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The First LBBGs are Back!

It was a wonderful weekend with the return of my first few colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls. On Friday I saw at least six LBBGs at Chouet landfill Beach, and one of these was carrying a metal ring from the Channel Islands Ringing Scheme. The following day in Chouet landfill and on the adjacent beach there were c 8 LBBGs and of these at least two were colour ringed birds. Black 2.X5 was the first seen - ringed in May 2010 at Chouet, this is a well-known local bird. I first recorded this gull back in Guernsey on 22 January 2011 and then on 04 February it is even earlier this year. I also know that this gull has been recorded in the winters of 2011 and 2012 along Portugal's Atlantic coast around Porto. It was last observed there on 09 November 2012.
Also present on Saturday at Chouet was Black 5AM4. This bird was ringed at Chouet in May 2012 and last observed in Guernsey on 04 August 2012. There have been no sightings of this bird over the winter.
I also recorded c 150 locally cr Herring Gulls including several birds ringed in 1998 in Guernsey and one in Jersey. Amongst the GBBGs were the well-known 1st winter birds Green L59 and Green M03 - the former ringed on the Chausey Islands and the latter at Barfleur, Manche. 
 LBBG Black 2.X5 Porto, Portugal November 2012 - (c) Paulo Dias
 LBBG Black 2.X5 Chouet landfill 12 January 2013 - PKV

 Chouet Landfill 12 January 2013
 GBBG Green L59 Chouet Landfill 12 January 2013 - PKV
GBBG Yellow 1.HH8 Chouet Landfill 12 January 2013 - PKV

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Polish Black-headed Gull Back Again

This morning, amongst c 80 the Black-headed Gulls in Grand Havre, St Sampson's was White TETT. This bird was ringed as a chick at Przykona Reservoir, Turek, Poland in June 2011. It was observed at Le Rozel Beach, Manche, France in August in that year, before being seen on Jaonneusse Bay, Guernsey in February 2012. Phil Alexander saw the bird at Jaonneusse again on 30 December 2012.
 Black-headed Gull White TETT at Jaonneusse, Vale 01/02/2012 (c) Vic Froome
The Flight of Black-headed Gull White TETT

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The First Gull Session of 2013!

Saturday morning saw the start of the gull recording year for me with a two hour visit to Chouet Landfill. Around 120 local Herring Gull rings were read, along with a well-known bird ringed in Gloucester, England (Blue EXT). Amongst the 100+ Great Black-backed Gulls present were two French-ringed birds (one Chausey Islands and one Seine-Maritime) and one Norwegian bird - Black JP719 (previously seen in November and December 2012 at Chouet).
A typically confusing "Herring Gull" in adult plumage with very yellow legs was seen, but the mantle was as pale as the surrounding Herring Gulls, and with a pale orange orbital ring, this bird is probably a hybrid argentatus/michahellis.
On Sunday we tried a gull catch in the garden, but with almost no interest at all by the gulls we drew a blank. That means we are now on a potential hat-trick of failures, with our previous foray on one of the beaches resulting in a similar failure to catch any Black-headed Gulls (something to which we are quite accustomed)! Better luck next time...I hope!

 Chouet Landfill 05 January 2013

 GBBG Black JP719 - ringed in Vest-Agder, Norway
GBBG Green K.72 ringed in Chausey Islands, France