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.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gulls in NW Spain

As a result of the gull colour ringing projects we now know that the beaches of NW Spain provide very important resting areas for Channel Islands' nesting Lesser Black-backed Gulls as they migrate to wintering grounds in Iberia (majority)  and NW Africa (minority). We are lucky that there are some very hard working gull enthusiasts in NW Spain who regularly search for and report colour ringed gulls from all over Europe. Antonio Gutierrez is well known to gull researchers across Europe as one of the keenest of such observers in NW Spain, but he has been joined in recent years by others like Paco Gíron and Pepe Vidal who also make very valuable contributions to ornithological research projects all over Europe.
Antonio sent this wonderful photo of Meíras Beach (where many Guernsey LBBGs are seen), as well as this enigmatic photo of gulls in a storm off the coast of NW Spain! 

(c) Antonio Gutierrez

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Gull Photos

I am very lucky that many observers of our colour-ringed gulls take the time and trouble to photograph the gulls and send me copies of their photos. All are valuable...both as records of the sightings and often as wonderful artistic photos. A few days ago local bird photographer Tony Loaring sent me some very nice photos of some Herring Gulls...and I regularly receive wonderful photos from Inocencio Oliveira of our LBBGs north of Porto, Portugal, and from Harry Vercruijsse in Northern France. It's high time I shared some on the blog...but there are many many more from lots of very good photographers - my thanks to you all...and please keep them coming!!!
 (c) Tony Loaring
 (c) Tony Loaring
 (c) Tony Loaring 
 (c) Inocencio Oliveira
(c) Inocencio Oliveira 
(c) Inocencio Oliveira 
(c) Inocencio Oliveira 
 (c) Harry Vercruijsse
 (c) Harry Vercruijsse

Monday, October 28, 2013

Before the Storm...

With the storm and severe gales of the past 48 hours now moving away from Guernsey, I can reflect on a very nice pre-storm gathering of 120+ LBBGs on Guernsey’s West Coast on Saturday 26 October. This is the largest number of LBBGs seen along the coast for at least three weeks, and it included no fewer than 14 of our locally-ringed birds, as well as a 2nd year bird from Suffolk, England (Red DJDR) and an adult from Zeebrugge, Belgium (Blue HZAB). At least 250 GBBGs were also present with colour-ringed birds from Cornwall, England (one), Chausey Islands (five), Le Havre, Seine-Maritime (two), France, Vest-Agder, Norway (one), Jersey (one) and Guernsey (seven).
No doubt there would have still been plenty of gulls ashore on Sunday/Monday while the storm winds were fiercest, gusting to 70 m.p.h. With the winds abating now, I expect many of the gulls to return to sea, but I’ll try to get out and see what is what birds remain ashore later in the week.

 LBBG blue HZ*AB

 GBBG Black 67L
Gulls on Vazon

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Return of the Red-billed Chough

Our colleagues in Jersey are working on a wonderful project designed to reintroduce Red-billed Chough to Jersey. In actual fact the charismatic Chough is merely the "front man" or "show biz bird" for a much more ambitious project to restore some of Jersey's north coast cliff lands to habitat suitable for a host of native wildlife and birds that have been struggling to maintain a toe-hold in the Island, since farming was largely abandoned in the area.
The project has an excellent web site at which has lots of information and some wonderful photos of the project.
I'm including a posting on this web site because this autumn the first birds were released into the wild. There are currently five Red-billed Choughs in the area of Sorel Point, Jersey. Each bird has a colour ring (as well as radio transmitter). These birds can be reported on the Gull Colour Ring Web Portal 
 Red-billed Chough B2A87 Sorel Point, Jersey - (c) Romano da Costa
Red-billed Choughs at Sorel Point, Jersey (c) Colin Stevenson

1st W Herring Gulls Begging Successfully in Late October

A very relaxing couple of hours in Chouet landfill this morning resulted in c 250 colour ringed Herring Gull ring reads (all locally ringed), as well as 15 GBBGs (all local - bar one wintering bird from Portland Harbour, Dorset, England - White P:43A). Only four LBBGs were present, and one of these was colour-ringed - Black 8T7. This bird was ringed in May 2011 at Chouet, but in each of the previous two autumns it appears to have left Guernsey very much earlier with last sighting dates of 09 August 2011 and 12 August 2012.
On Les Ammareurs Beach, Vale I watched two 1st winter Herring Gulls (White 0FS1 and White 0FS4 colour-ringed as chicks on Jethou on 25 June 2013), begging successfully from adult White 2.PP3 (ringed as an adult in May 2009 in our garden, but known to nest on Jethou in June 2011). It is amazing how late some Herring Gull chicks continue to beg from from their parents!

Herring Gulls 0FS1 and 0FS4 begging food from adult 2.PP3 at Les Ammareurs
 GBBG Y0PP9 (as chick)
GBBG Metal J0524

Monday, October 21, 2013

English & French GBBGs

It's been a very quiet few days for colour ring recording. The last couple of runs down the West coast have resulted in only c 20 LBBGs each time, including just a couple of locally colour-ringed birds each time. It's now going to be a quiet three months for LBBGs, before the earliest birds start from wintering grounds returning in mid-January next year.
A very quick visit to Chouet landfill Beach resulted in a few GBBG sightings, including an English bird (White P:32A ringed as a chick at Portland Harbour, Dorset in June 2012) and a French bird (Blue 91D - ringed as a chick at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime in June 2009, and recorded in Guernsey most autumns since).
 GBBG Blue 91D
 GBBG White P:32A

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

W1XX6 - Long-Distance Herring Gull!

Many Islanders assume that Herring Gulls are very sedentary, only ever flying a few km from nesting and resting sites to feeding areas on the beaches or at Chouet Landfill. The colour ringing studies have dispelled this myth with many of our birds dispersing several hundred km each autumn to Western France. A tiny minority fly even further to northern Spain. One such gull is White 1.XX6 which was ringed in late May 2009 in our garden as an adult female. The bird was present again in Guernsey the following summer, strengthening my view that it is a bird from the local breeding population. Then in December 2010 it was recorded in NW Spain, only to be back in Guernsey by 22 January 2011. It has not been recorded in Guernsey since, but has been reported from NW Spain in June 2012, March and May 2013. It would therefore seem that this adult gull has taken a break from the rigours of breeding in 2013 (a well-recorded aspect of many gulls’ breeding ecology...although most such birds would return to the breeding colony and hold territory).
This gull has now become the most southerly Channel Islands’ Herring Gull so far recorded! It was seen and photographed by Pedro Ramalho and Frederico Morais, at Peniche, Leiria, Portugal on 14 October 2013 – a straight line distance from Guernsey of more than 1,250 km! I shall be keeping a keen look out for the return to Guernsey of this exceptional bird any time from Christmas on!
The Movements of Herring Gull W1.XX6
 W1XX6 at Lires, NW Spain (c) Xabi Varela
 (c) Antonio Martinez Pernas

 W1XX6 at Meiras Beach,. NW Spain (c) Antonio Gutierrez
 W1XX6 at Peniche, POrtugal (c) Pedro Ramalho

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Less Wind...less GBBGs

...and so it often proves to be! There were still almost 200 GBBGs along the west coast this morning, but only six colour-ringed birds were recorded - the Norwegian bird from Hornoya (seen yesterday), one French bird from Chausey Islands, one of last year's youngsters from Portland Harbour, England and three local birds.
 GBBG White P:27A from Portland Harbour
 GBBG Black J2787 (with data logger on ring) from Hornoya, Norway
Gulls on Vazon Beach

Friday, October 11, 2013

Storm brings in the GBBGs!

As expected today a strong northerly blow brought c 300 GBBGs ashore on Guernsey's West Coast. 18 colour ringed birds were recorded amongst these birds, including two Norwegian and eight French birds (six Chausey Islands and two Le Havre). One of the Norwegian birds (Black JA612) had been ringed as a chick in southern Norway in July 2008, and has been recorded in Guernsey every year since, proving to be very faithful to the island's West Coast in October! The other record Black J2787 appeared to have a datalogger attached to the colour ring. This bird had been ringed as an adult in the summer of 2012 right up in the Arctic Circle on the seabird island of Hornoya in Finnmark. This is the third colour ringed GBBG that I've recorded in Guernsey from that Island very far to the north.  

GBBG Black J2787 from Hornoya, Norway

Monday, October 7, 2013

New Record Set!

Gilbert Vimard has just sent details of 32 Guernsey colour-ringed Herring Gulls seen today amongst a flock of 400-500 Herring Gulls feeding on dead mussels on Gouville-sur-Mer Beach, Manche, France. Not surprisingly...this sets a new record for the largest collection so far of Guernsey-ringed gulls on any single site outside the Channel Islands!
Herring Gull White 6.AA7 - one of 32 Guernsey-ringed Herring Gulls seen at Gouville-sur-Mer Beach, Manche, France today!

What an Old GBBG!

For the first 90 minutes after dawn today, I enjoyed some very close views of feeding gulls at Chouet Landfill. There were less than 10 LBBGs present, but plenty of cr Herring Gulls (160+ reads taken), and GBBGs (nine ring reads - including one bird I ringed as a chick on islands north of Herm in June 1993, making it older than two decades!).
GBBG E5506 - 20+ yrs old!
 GBBG Green L59 from Chausey Islands, Manche, France
Gulls at Chouet landfill

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Another Norwegian LBBG and French GBBG

Hot on the heels of Friday's collection of foreign-ringed gulls seen along Guernsey's West Coast, today came another Norwegian-ringed 1st W LBBG. Black J700E was ringed on Rauna, Vest-Agder on 17 July 2013, and then seen in South Holland on 15 September. The other new foreign-ringed gull today was GBBG Black 05P, ringed at Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France.

LBBG Black J700E from Southern Norway

Saturday, October 5, 2013's not a Gull...but...!

I rarely post anything on the GuernseyGulls blog apart from Gull news...but there have to be exceptions! Yesterday Rich Austin was undertaking some regular moth trapping in Carole and Hugo Kinnersly's garden at La Petite Valette, St. Saviour's when amongst the catch was a stunning Death's Head Hawkmoth...Europe's largest...and surely one of the most impressive...moths! Apparently this was the 2nd one trapped in Guernsey this year. Catherine and I popped up late in the day to see the spectacular moth and take a few photos...shortly before dusk ...when it flew back out into the night. It's amazing to think there are such impressive beasts flying around our gardens at night!

Death's Head Hawkmoth