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, May 30, 2014

Not All Gulls

One afternoon last week, two members of the North Thames Gull Team who also specialise in raptor research kindly checked our Kestrel box and found three chicks. The parents are being kept very busy feeding the chicks small rodents. I've seen Kestrel chicks before, but these were my first fluffy grey chicklets!

Just to prove that sometimes we look at birds other than gulls! (c) PKV

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Our 4th Colour Ringed Yellow-legged Gull

Last week we caught our 4th Yellow-legged Gull ever at Chouet Landfill. This bird was in its 3rd calendar year (2nd summer - Euring Age Class 7). Two of the previous birds had been adults caught at Chouet Landfill, while the other was ringed at home at Ty Coed as a juvenile bird. So far we have received sightings from one of the adults in NE France, and the other back at Chouet landfill more than a year later, while the 1st year bird has subsequently been reported from Tarragona, Spain several times. Here are some photos of last week's 3rd calendar year bird:-

Yellow-legged Gull (c) Vic Froome

Monday, May 26, 2014

Another Very Successful Week Ringing Gulls

With our intensive week of gull colour ringing at Chouet Landfill over, we are all now recovering and reflecting on another very successful week. The weather and some of the gulls' behaviour this year made the week challenging, but due to the professionalism of the North Thames Gull Group (led by Paul Roper), and the experience of the combined Guernsey Gulls Team and West Cornwall Ringing Group we were able to take 12 catches over the five and a third days. The total of gulls caught was c. 1,250, of which just over 1,000 were new birds. This included 731 Herring Gulls, 316 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 17 Great Black-backed Gulls and a single Yellow-legged Gull (the third caught at Chouet over our six years of operation there). 
Each year is different, and one of the most noticeable features this year was the high number of 2nd and 3rd calendar year LBBGs caught (the majority males). This is unusual because most years we do  not see such a strong passage of this age class (with most birds staying much further south). What was doubly interesting was the bleached plumages, delayed moult and often poor condition of these birds, perhaps suggesting that there had been some food shortages on their wintering grounds?
The efforts of the three combined teams will give very valuable data to the research projects based in the Channel Islands for many years to come. Once again I'm indebted to all the participants for their unstinting hard work and good humour...sometimes in difficult circumstances. I am also extremely grateful to the hard working landfill staff and management who did so much to ensure that we were successful...even when the odds were against us at times with the weather and birds' behaviour!

Cannon Netting at Chouet Landfill (c) PKV

Friday, May 23, 2014

Guernsey Gull-Off -Place Your Vote

The absence of blogs this week clearly means I'm up to something...and regulars of GuernseyGulls blog will know that this is our intensive week of gull colour ringing at Chouet Landfill. This is a national effort led by members of the North Thames Gull Group NTGG, working with Guernsey Gulls (including several of our colleagues from Jersey), and also members of the West Cornwall Ringing Group WCRG.
It has been a successful effort so far, strongly aided by the extremely helpful landfill staff, but heavy rain has suspended operations Mark Grantham has posted a blog on the BTO Demog Blog indicating just a tiny sample of the results being gained from metal ringing, colour ringing and GPS loggers. You can even vote for your preferred method  Guernsey Gull-Off

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Seabird Monitoring Begins

Last week, members of the Guernsey Seabird Monitoring Team were able to begin the monitoring of the 2014 seabird nesting seasons in Herm and Sark, courtesy of States Sea Fisheries and their very helpful staff. A trip out to the Humps, north of Herm reassured the team that the huge seabird wreck of February 2014 had not eliminated the auk colonies on the islets. There were the usual numbers of Common Guillemots, Razorbills and a few Atlantic Puffins on the islets. European Shag, however, seem to be having a poor season (probably caused by the very murky seawater conditions which have persisted for months). Less than half the usual numbers of shag appear to be nesting on the Humps this year. Great Cormorants appear stable in numbers. The colony has stopped expanding, and there are a reasonable number of chicks this year.
Sark was a more complex picture, with no Atlantic Puffins seen at all, and the south of the island (especially L'Etac de Serk) seemed very quiet for breeding seabirds. The Common Guillemot colony on Les Autelets (by far the largest in the Channel Islands) was below par at only 80+ birds on the ledges (although one must be careful not to read too much into single counts at this colony).
Grande Moie and Petit Moie were not visited, but local boatman and seabird enthusiast, George Guille, tells us that auk numbers are excellent at the north end of Sark. Hopefully some of the birds that historically have nested on L'Etac have move to these excellent seabird islets?
Seabird Monitoring has taken a renewed importance this year, as a result of major concerns over the loss of breeding adults in the winter wreck (more than 1,300 dead seabirds found in the CIs...and 37,000 in the region), and the concerns over the protracted poor visibility of the sea water over a large part of the region.
A lot of effort is being made by local authorities to improve protection of the important seabird colonies through the introduction of a "Give Wildlife a Chance Code". All members of the Seabird Monitoring Team have been trained and have the necessary licences and permits to visit the colonies purely for scientific purposes each year. The Code can be viewed at the oink below:-

 Great Cormorants Chicks on The Humps
 Les Autelets, Sark
 Moie de Gouliot, Sark

L'Etac de Serk
All photos (c) PKV

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Gull Breeding Season Well Underway

Recent checks on some of the gull colonies show that most Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls are now incubating complete clutches of eggs. It's far too early to know whether or not this is going to be a successful season for gulls in the Channel Islands,  but early signs are encouraging. Chouet Landfill, and its adjacent beach, produced good numbers of gulls again this morning, but many adults were not lingering.

LBBGs at Chouet landfill and Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

On the Origins of Some of the LBBGs Moving through Guernsey in mid-May

It’s clear from field observations in Guernsey that the number of immature LBBGs increases each year as we enter May. While many of these gulls are locally reared youngsters returning to attend colonies ahead of their first breeding attempts in their fourth or fifth years, we also know that immatures from colonies further north are passing through the islands at this time. For example last week I saw Black P+F at Chouet. This bird was ringed in July 2012 in Bristol, England by Peter Rock. Amazingly I saw this bird in October of that year on Quarteira Beach in southern Portugal.
During the cannon netting week last May we caught even more immature LBBGs than usual and last summer we received sightings of a few of these gulls on beaches in The Netherlands, indicating that some of these gulls were from more northerly origins. However two recent reports throw some light on the probable natal colonies of some of the immature birds ringed last may at Chouet Landfill. Firstly Black 0AW1 (ringed as a 3rd year bird) was reported in the colony on Skomer Island, Dyfed, Wales, while Black 6CA3 (ringed as a 2nd year bird) is currently in the LBBG colony on the Isle of May, Fife, Scotland.
 LBBG Black 3AP2 - a Burhou chick back in the Islands (c) PKV
LBBG Black P+F from Bristol, England (c) PKV

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Back to the Landfill!

After a week mostly off island, I got back to Chouet Landfill this morning. One obvious change in the past 10 days or so is the higher proportion of immature LBBGs now. Amongst these birds today were one of Peter Rock's birds from SW England (Black P+F), and one of our birds from Burhou (Black 3AP2 ringed in 2012), and then quite a few more of our Burhou chicks from 2010.

 LBBG Black P+F (c) PKV
 LBBG Blue CHN ringed Gloucester Landfill (c) PKV
 LBBG Blue M012 ringed in Portugal (c) PKV

LBBG B3AP2 when ringed on Burhou July 2012 (c) PKV