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, December 24, 2014


After one of the most successful and enjoyable years of gull research in 2014, I should like, on behalf of GuernseyGulls, to thank everyone who has contributed to this success over the past 12 months, and to wish you all a Very Happy Christmas and an enjoyable New Year.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Great Cormorant in Spain

We've just received our second report of one of our colour-ringed Great Cormorants in Spain. Unlike the first report (where the bird was shot) this is a field sighting! Black FS was ringed in June this year in the tiny colony on Lihou, Guernsey. It was seen and photographed at A Ramallosa Beach, Baiona, Pontevedra by Antonio Martinez Pernas. If this bird survives its immaturity it will be fascinating to see if it returns to its natal colony to breed in a few years' time.
Black FS as a small chick - Lihou June 2014 (c) PKV

Cormorant Black FS at Pontevedra, Spain (c) Antonio Martinez Pernas

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Two More LBBGs to Africa and another Herring Gull in Spain

Amongst the steady flow of interesting reports of our colour ringed gulls I recently received new of another two LBBGs in Morocco, and a Herring Gull that regularly winters in Northern Spain. On consecutive days Ruth Gorria reported LBBG Black 2AJ6 from Sidi-Moussa, Oualidia and B9CA8 from El Jadida, Morocco. Both birds had been ringed as adults at Chouet landfill (the first in May 2011 and the second in May 2013). Although B2JA6 has been observed in Guernsey on a number of occasions since, Ruth’s observation in Morocco was the first report of this bird outside the Channel islands. The observation of B9CA8 in Morocco is the first report of this bird since ringing.
These observations are of considerable interest because although the majority of Channel Islands’ nesting LBBGs winter in Iberia, a minority travels further into Africa. I have seen a number of our birds in December at Anza, near Agadir, but the coastal areas of northern Morocco (where I believe CI birds are most likely to be) receive very little attention from gull watchers. It would be really useful to mount an expedition to this area to see if this theory is supported by further evidence.
Herring Gull White 7CJ5 (ringed as an adult female in May 2011 at Chouet Landfill) breeds in the Channel Islands, but has now been reported from the coasts of Asturias, Spain in each of the last three winters. It has been observed in Guernsey every summer since ringing!
LBBG B2AJ6 at Chouet Landfill Aug 2012 (c) PKV

Herring Gull W7CJ5 at Banugues, Asturias, Spain - 14 January 2014 (c) José Antonio Canal


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

100,000 not out...and more Exciting LBBG Reports

I noticed last night that the page counter for the GuernseyGulls blog had flipped past the 100,000 mark, which made me smile. It's wonderful to think there's been that much interest in the gulls of these small, but ornithologically important, Channel Islands! Many thanks to all of you who support the endeavours to bring the fascinating lives of our gulls to others!
It is perhaps fitting that to celebrate this landmark I can report on two more valuable reports of our colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Black 9K5 was ringed at Chouet Landfill in May 2011 as an adult male. Its observation on 1st December 2014 by Paco del Campo at Bocabarranco on Gran Canaria is the fourth recorded round trip between Guernsey and the Canary Islands in as many years! This is a straight line return journey each winter off more than 5,250 km!
On the same day LBBG Black 4AL4 was again spotted by Enrique Luque in Castellon on the NE Spanish Mediterranean coastline. This is the third known consecutive winter that this gull has wintered in this area. While not such a long migration as that of B9AK5, NE Spain is not a common wintering area for Channel Islands' nesting LBBGs, which favour the west and centre of Iberia.
LBBG Black 9K5 at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

LBBG Black 9K5 at Bocabarranco, Gran Canaria (c) X Ramirez

LBBG Black 4AL4 at Vinaroz Harbour (c) Enrique Luque

LBBG Black 4AL4 at Castellon Harbour (c) Pepe Greno

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Herring Gull in NW Iberia

It’s always special when I get a report of one of our Herring Gulls from Iberia. White 5CK9 clearly likes the north-west of the Peninsula. Ringed as a 3rd year+ female at Chouet Landfill in May 2011, this gull was seen in Sark the following summer. However, since then it has only been reported from Iberia in winter. The first observation was at Boca do Rio, A Coruna, Spain on 09 February 2013 (Juan Cabeza), with a further report at Aguda, Portugal on 24 January 2014 (Helder Vieira). The latest report came in on 24 November from Corrubedo, Ribeira, A Coruna, Spain (Ramsés Pérez).
Such long distance migrant Herring Gulls are very much in the minority of the Channel Islands’ birds.

Herring Gull W5CK9 in NW Spain (c) Ramsés Pérez

Another LBBG returns to the Canary Islands!

Only 24 hours after hearing about the return of LBBG B8AH8 to Gran Canaria, I was contacted by Xabier Remirez with news that B9V0 was also back at the same site! This gull had been ringed as an adult in May 2011 at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey. It was seen several times in Guernsey through the spring and summer in 2012, before being seen at Las Palmas Harbour, Gran Canaria in December of that year. There had been no further reports for almost two years, until Sunday 23 November, when the bird was back at Las Palmas. Only a minority of Channel Islands nesting LBBGs appear to be long distance migrants, but those that are show the same winter site fidelity as many of the birds that make the shorter migration to winter in Iberia.

LBBG Black 9V0 in Guernsey and in Gran Canaria (c) Xabier Remirez (top and bottom two) & PKV (the rest)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LBBG Black 8AH8 Back in the Canary Islands

Yesterday I received news from Yeray Seminario that LBBG B8AH8 is now back at Las Palmas Harbour, Grand Canaria! This gull was ringed as an adult at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey in May 2012, and it was seen regularly in the summer, before being reported from Grand Canaria on 01 December that year by Francisco and Javier del Campo.  I've seen this gull may times in Guernsey in each of the following summers, but it hadn't been reported again from outside the islands until yesterday. This is only the third LBBG known to spend winters in the Canary Islands!
LBBG B8AH8 at Las Palmas Harbour 22 November 2014 (c) Yeray Seminario

Saturday, November 15, 2014

This may just be...As Good As It Gets!

On my first ever trip abroad reading gull colour rings (in January 2009 to the Algarve, Portugal) I found a single Guernsey-ringed bird - and was absolutely thrilled to have done so. It seemed to me like finding a needle in a haystack - something truly awe-inspiring. Since then I've been very fortunate to undertake ring reading trips in Morocco, Portugal, Spain and France, and the thrill of finding my birds abroad has never left me!
It was unimaginable to me when the pioneer gull ring readers Peter Rock and Harry Vercruijsse made trips to Portugal and came back with almost 100 sightings of Guernsey birds. In fact Peter established a record this October when he came back with 102 sightings...the first person ever to break the century mark.
I'm still in very pleasant shock from my recent two week trip to Portugal (Matosinhos to Sines) when I took 156 records of Guernsey and Alderney-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls. This included a simply staggering day at Eirol Landfill with Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira when we observed 61 of our birds (amongst a record-breaking day for the site of c 140 gull colour ring reads). Of course this is only possible due to all the help on the ground (before and/or during my trip) from fellow gull enthusiasts (Peter Rock, Inocencio Oliveira, Paulo Faria, Malcolm Millais, Tim van Nus, Pedro Moreira and others).
Of course I also observed many gulls from other projects based in Northern and Western Europe and I hope to get all these records to the project leaders next week. For now  I should like to record my deep gratitude for everyone who helped to make this last trip totally awesome! This one really is going to be very hard to beat!!!
Gulls at Eirol Landfill

A Very Happy PKV - Maybe This Really is As Good as it Gets!

Guernsey-ringed Black 2.X0 at Eirol

A few White Storks to Add variety (but wait for the photos from Vil de Matos Landfill Next Week!)

Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira who undertake very valuable gull observations at Eirol

Black 8V6 (another Guernsey bird)

LBBG Black 5CS7 another Alderney youngster!


Friday, November 14, 2014

More Wonderful Gull Sightings!

I've just returned from a two week gull ring reading tip to Northern and Western Portugal, hence the lack of blog postings recently. More of this fabulous trip shortly...but first things first...I'm catching up with gull reports which have come in over the past two weeks. Apologies to observers for the slight delay in replying...but I've almost caught up fully now!
There was a wonderful series of Herring Gulls from Western France, and Lesser Black-backed Gulls from France, Spain and Portugal, but amongst the batch were two "special" ones.
Firstly - another LBBG reported on 09 November by Ruth Garcia Gorria at Sidi Moussa-Walidia Saltpans, Doukkala-Abda, Morocco. This bird - Black 8AN4 - was ringed as an adult male in our garden in July 2012, and has a long history of sightings in Guernsey, as well as a few in Sark (where I think the gull nests).
The other is a Yellow-legged Gull (one of only a handful colour ringed in the Channel Islands), which was ringed at Chouet Landfill during our week of cannon netting with the North Thames Gull Group in May this year. It was a 3rd calendar year bird, and was seen on 07 November 2014 at Hendaye, Pyrenee-Atlantique, France by Alfredo Herrero. It would therefore seem that this immature michahellis was wandering north last may when trapped in Guernsey.

Yellow-legged Gull White 7JM0 at Chouet Landfill - 24 May 2014 (c) Vic Froome


Thursday, October 30, 2014

And Now for Some Exciting LBBG Movements to Africa!

The last two blog posting have covered exciting movements of Guernsey colour-ringed Great Black-backed and Herring gulls. Today it is the turn of Lesser Black-backed Gulls with a recent hat-trick of reports from Morocco. Any gull movements to Africa always make exciting news for us…so to get three in a fortnight is rather special. Two birds (Black 2CK7 and Black 2CH7) were both ringed in May this year at Chouet Landfill. The former was a 3rd year gull, and it returned south quite quickly, being seen near Porto, Portugal on 25 June by Inocencio Oliveira and Teresa Rocha. Black 2CH7 was ringed as an adult male, but not seen again in Guernsey or anywhere else until Jeremy Dupuy and Charlotte Perrot saw both birds at Oued Tamri, Morocco – a straight-line distance from Guernsey of almost 2,200 km!
Today Ruth Garcia Gorria reported LBBG Black 3CH4 (another adult male ringed at Chouet last May) from Sidi Moussa-Walidia Saltpans, Doukkala-Abda, Morocco – a distance of just over 1,900 km from Chouet!
My thanks – as ever- to the observers who take the time and trouble to report colour ringed gulls to us.
LBBGs at Anza Beach, Morocco - December 2013 (c) PKV

PKV gull watching at Oued Tamri - December 2013 (c) Catherine Veron

Monday, October 27, 2014

And now a Thrilling Report of a Herring Gull in Scotland

Hot on the heels of the exciting report of GBBG Yellow 0J3 in Portugal, comes another exceptional sighting! This time it is Herring Gull White 8JA0. We ringed this gull as a 1st winter bird in our garden during a cold snap in November 2013. There were no further sightings of this Herring Gull until this weekend, when we got news from Bob Proctor that it was seen at Lossie Estuary, Moray in the north of Scotland! Chouet Landfill acts as a magnet for Herring Gulls in winter, particularly immature birds, and we know that many of these birds originate in southern England or northern France. However, previous observations of a Norwegian colour-ringed argentatus race Herring Gull at Chouet, and observations in southern Norway of one of our colour-ringed Herring Gulls shows that a minority of these visiting Herring Gulls have travelled much further to reach Guernsey! White 8JA0 is another such gull. It would be wonderful if this bird survives to reach breeding age, and to then produce sightings revealing its true origins!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Remarkable Flight of GBBG Yellow 0J3 to Portugal!

From time to time I get reports of our colour ringed gulls that really make me sit up and take notice! Yesterday Carlos Iván Gutiérrez sent me the most incredible report of one our Great Black-backed Gulls to date. Yellow 0J3 was ringed as a 2nd year bird in April 2009 at Chouet landfill. So far this gull has been recorded 91 times in Guernsey (the last time on 13 September 2014) you can see how I can be forgiven for thinking this is one of my very local birds! However on 23 October Ivan saw and photographed this very bird at Viana do Castelo, Braga in Northern Portugal. This is a straight-line distance from Chouet of 1,000 km! Until this report the furthest one of our GBBGs had been seen was the French/Spanish border. Often people ask me why I am so interested in gulls...and I always tell them that part of the reason is the birds' endless ability to continue to surprise and delight me with their life-styles. Yellow 0J3 is just such a bird!

GBBG Yellow 0J3 at Chouet Landfill and Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

GBBG Yellow 0J3 Viana do Castelo, Braga, Portugal (c) Ivan Carlos Gutiérrez

Friday, October 24, 2014

Still No Caspians at Chouet!

Given Carl Baggot's virtually daily updates on the numbers of Caspian Gulls he is seeing at Shawell Lagoons in Leicestershire ( see Caspian Gulls at Shawell in 2014  ) , and the number seen at Dungeness so far this would have thought I could have found one by now amongst the thousands of Herring Gulls using Chouet landfill. A 2nd Winter Yellow-legged Gull was some compensation yesterday...but the big one still eludes me - despite checking many thousands of Herring Gulls! I'm patiently awaiting the first cold snap of the autumn to see if that may stir things up a little...but the fact that 32 of the 33 cr Great Black-backed Gulls recorded yesterday are birds already known on the island shows that gull movements are still quite limited here at the moment.

Gulls at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

Gulls on Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

One of my locally ringed GBBGs - Yellow 1.VV4 (c) PKV

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Slow Few Weeks in Guernsey

Gull watching in Guernsey has been a bit slow these past few weeks. This is not because there are few gulls...there are very good numbers of Herring Gulls around (including an astonishing proportion are un-ringed birds indicating origins outside the islands for many of these birds). However, the usual autumn flock of Great Black-backed Gulls has been rather disappointing. There are reasonable numbers around with several hundred birds on the north and west coasts, but the number of new colour-ringed birds has been very low - just a few new French birds (mostly from Gilles Le Guillou's project in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime), and a couple of birds from SW England. 1st Winter GBBGs remain surprisingly scarce amongst the flocks of adult and immature birds...maybe they just haven't arrived yet?
Both immature Norwegian-ringed birds seen this week are well-known birds which visit Guernsey frequently. I'm hoping the strong winds today may just stir things up a little!
GBBG Yellow 0.NN4 at Perelle, Guernsey (c) Anthony Loaring


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Portugal Trip Summary

Although I don’t have the ringing details back for all the colour-ringed LBBGs seen on my recent trip to the Algarve, a summary of the countries where the birds were originally ringed is as follows:-
The Channel Islands 31, The Netherlands 29, England 16, France 13, Germany nine, Belgium eight, Norway six, Portugal six, Spain five, Scotland five, Denmark three, Iceland two and Wales one. Grand Total = 134 LBBGs.
The high number of Guernsey birds reflects not only the strength of our gull research projects now, but also the fact that LBBGs from the Channel Islands tend to reach their wintering quarters ahead of gulls from further north, and that Iberia is the principal wintering region for our LBBGs, whereas for colonies further north a much higher percentage of birds winter further south in NW Africa.
Many of the gulls seen on this trip are building very valuable life histories for research projects across much of Western Europe.
The 26 colour ringed Yellow-legged Gulls seen in the Algarve were originally ringed in Portugal (17 ), Spain (eight) and Ceuta (Spanish territory in North Africa) (one) . The only cr Mediterranean Gull was from Vendée, France.

Gulls at Quarteira (c) PKV


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Another Wonderful Trip to Southern Portugal

I’m just back from a very enjoyable trip to the Algarve, Portugal, based near the gull haven of Quarteira, with its fishing port and sandy beaches. During my stay there were good flocks of LBBGs and Yellow-legged Gulls around, and I managed to take 219 gull colour ring reads – the vast majority (183) on LBBGs, with 35 Yellow-legged Gulls and just a single Mediterranean Gull. The LBBGs came from the usual very good spread of projects run in countries from Iceland, through Norway, Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, England, Scotland, Wales, Spain and Portugal. However…the highlights for me were of course the 41 observations of 31 different LBBGs ringed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, including one of this year’s chicks from Burhou, Alderney. Many of these GuernseyGulls show great site fidelity to this area of the Algarve in autumn/winter. My thanks to Michael Davis, who first discovered the Quarteira area as a fantastic place to observe gulls, and also for helping to make sure that I got the best from my most recent visit.

Gulls at Quarteira, Faro, Portugal (c) PKV