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.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Gulls Galore!

The past few days have seen lots of interest gull-wise. Today there were c 700 Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the Island's West Coast - mainly local birds (60 cr birds), but the regular Dutch autumn passage migrant Orange 9V was present again. Another of Peter Rock's juvenile LBBGs (Yellow L+H) is also present. This bird was ringed on a roof top in Cardiff, Wales in early July.
 Great Black-backed Gulls are wandering about again now, with nine French-ringed birds (including the first juvenile from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime - Black 29M), one English bird, and a new 2nd calendar year Norwegian-ringed bird from Vest-Adger (Black JE241).
An adult Yellow-legged Gull at Perelle rounded off a very successful morning!

 Gulls on Pembroke Beach - Early Morning

 Gulls at Perelle Beach

LBBG Yellow L+H at Chouet Landfill Beach

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More Seabirds at Sea

With a moderate to strong NW wind the previous day, and with the winds reducing overnight to a light to moderate northerly, things looked well set for an exciting pelagic seabirds trip on Sunday 25 August. The keen crew assembled at the Fish Quay, ready to board Richard Keen’s boat the Margaret K. We usually head out c 10 miles NW of Guernsey...but it soon became apparent that the sea was livelier than forecast with a dirty confused swell. This made viewing difficult and at times unpleasant. We therefore kept within 5 miles of the coast, and from 0800 to 1400 we completed an anti-clockwise circuit around Guernsey . Several times we stopped to put chum in the water to attract seabirds.
The highlights of the trip included a three metre Basking Shark (right alongside the boat), lots of Balearic (30+) and Manx Shearwaters (20+) and the discovery of a line of rich feeding several miles long parallel to the Island’s west coast, where there was continual activity from diving Northern Gannets. A line of floating weed indicated the rich zone. Presumably this was where two tidal currents met, causing up-wellings of rich nutrients and good feeding conditions for fish and in turn seabirds?
An estimation of the seabirds encountered was as follows:-
500+ Northern Gannets, 20+ European Storm-petrels, 30 Balearic Shearwaters, 20 Manx Shearwaters, 10 Northern Fulmars, 1 Great Skua, 1 (probable) Pomarine Skua, 3 Arctic Skuas, 50 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 30 Great Black-backed Gulls, 1 Black Tern, 2 Sandwich Terns and 10 Common Terns.

It wasn’t one of the best pelagic we’ve ever done, but once again it proved to be an interesting day on the sea.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Another Welsh LBBG and the First Juv GBBG from England.

The last couple of days have seen plenty of interest. A visit to Chouet landfill yesterday morning demonstrated very clearly that the majority of Lesser Black-backed Gulls have migrated away from the islands. Only 24 cr birds were observed in the usual two hours watching. Once again the landfill is taking on  a pale grey sheen, as Herring Gulls vastly outnumber any other species. Amongst 100+ juvenile gulls in the landfill were a reasonable number of LBBGs - including Black 2CCO ringed on Sark at the end of June.
A run down the coast this morning was always going to be difficult, given the quickly rising tide...but again it was very worthwhile with 23 of my cr LBBGs, and an adult bird ringed on Flat Holm Cardiff, Wales. The first juvenile GBBG of the autumn from Cornwall, England was also seen today - White L:BB2, the other four French-ringed and single British-ringed GBBGs had all been observed previously on Guernsey.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

News from Portugal - including LBBG in a Hurry!

Yesterday Tim van Nus reported a superb series of 25 Guernsey LBBG observations at Eirol Landfill in Central Portugal. We are very fortunate that Tim is now back in Portugal, after his summer's work in The Netherlands, and that he has already been to observe the gulls at Eirol. Adult Guernsey LBBGs tend to arrive in this part of Portugal quite early in late summer, and while some will stay in the area all winter, many others will stage there for some weeks before continuing further south into Iberia or even into NW Africa, before migrating back to Guernsey early next spring. One of the gulls seen yesterday Black 8C2 was still in Guernsey only three days earlier - thus completing the direct flight of 1,100 km in less than 72 hours!
An account of Tim's visit to Eirol Landfill can be seen at his blog at

Black 8C2 -a gull in a big hurry back to Portugal this week!

Monday, August 19, 2013

1st Winter Yellow-legged Gull - Eureka!!!

It has been such a  long time coming...and in the end I just about lost confidence in being able to identify one...but well as an adult Yellow-legged Gull on L'Eree Bay, there was also a (for me mythical) 1st winter bird on Vazon Beach. I was not going to post this until I'd checked with a couple of gull experts who know a lot more than me (Antonio Gutierrez in Spain and Paul Roper in England)...but it would seem we all agree the bird seen and photographed is indeed my first ever 1st winter michahellis in Guernsey! Seldom have I been so thrilled (and relieved) to have seen such a relatively common bird. Now the hardest part is over...surely now just like buses...the first has many more will soon follow?!!!

1st Winter Yellow-legged Gull - Vazon (c) PKV

...and Another Yellow-legged Gull

A very quick trip down the West Coast early this morning was not very productive, largely because of the state of the tide, but another adult Yellow-legged Gull was observed this time on L’Eree Beach. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Return of the Yellow-legged Gulls

The highlights of a quick trip along Guernsey's north and west coasts this morning were another two Yellow-legged Gulls (both 3rd summer +) - making five different birds in the last three days. Although a tiny increase, this same pattern was observed last August. Once again I don't seem capable of recognising the juvenile michahellis (there must be some  here...and given how many juvenile gulls I've spent the last month looking really would think?!!).
The other highlight was a stunningly beautiful dusky juvenile colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull on Cobo. This is the 3rd of the 45 birds Catherine and I colour ringed on Sark this summer, which I've observed on Guernsey's beaches this autumn.

 LBBG Black 2CC0 Cobo

 Yellow-legged Gulls - Cobo

Gull Flock on Pembroke Beach

Friday, August 16, 2013

Guernsey's West Coast Autumn Gull Flocks Form

An hour at Pembroke and Chouet, followed by a run down the West Coast this morning was very successful for ring reads with 130 Herring Gulls 70 LBBGs and 17 GBBGs. At this time of year Pembroke and Chouet are dominated by Herring Gulls, while most of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls and often many Great Black-backed Gulls can be found in several flocks along the west coast - at Vazon, Perelle and L'Eree beaches. 
This morning there were 1,000+ Herring Gulls on Pembroke, with 500 LBBGs and 100 GBBGs along the West Coast. Amongst the colour ringed birds on the West Coast were four French-ringed (three Chausey Islands and one Seine-Maritime) GBBGs, one English-ringed GBBG (Cornwall), and Lesser Black-backed Gulls from East-Agder, Norway (Black JK2X)  and the South-west of England (Yellow A+W).
 Gull Flock at Perelle Beach 
LBBG Yellow A+W Perelle 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Bailiwick of Guernsey Seabird Season 2013

In keeping with recent years, I've completed the accounts of the various Seabird Monitoring Trips around the Bailiwick of Guernsey for the summer of 2013. Brief reports can be viewed at the following link

Seabird Monitoring Trips 2013

PKV with Three LBBG Chicks on Burhou (c) Chris Bale

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welsh LBBG and Turnstone Update

A quick trip to the beach before work today produced several of our juvenile cr Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls, and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull which had been ringed on Flat Holm, Cardiff, Wales
Many thanks to the kind people who helped me out yesterday in locating the origins of the colour ringed Ruddy Turnstone seen on Sunday at Bellegreve Bay. It looks like I missed the end of the code on the flag, but the bird will have been ringed at Petten, North Holland, as part of a project run by Hans Roersma & Nell van Brederode.
LBBG Black 3EF at Pembroke Beach (c) PKV