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, June 25, 2014

Guernsey LBBGs Back in Portugal Already!

This week I've had two reports of our Lesser Black-backed Gulls known to be in Guernsey this summer which are already back in Portugal. Perhaps the more surprising is Black 9AJ7, which was ringed as an adult female in May 2012 at Chouet Landfill, and which has a number of observations in Guernsey in the spring and summers of 2013 and 2014. This bird must have been either a non-breeder or a failed breeder in Guernsey this year. After last being recorded in Guernsey this year on 19 April, this gull was seen by Pedro Moreira at Vagueira Beach, Portugal on 20 June.
The other gull is Black 2CK7, ringed as a 3rd calendar year male in May 2014 at Chouet landfill, and seen near Porto, Portugal today. You can see from Inocencio Oliveira's fine photo that this is one of the many immature birds caught at Chouet this May which had very worn plumage...but this clearly did not impair its return migration only a month after ringing.
LBBG B2CK7 back in Portugal, after a very brief early summer visit to Guernsey (c) Inocencio Oliveira
The (Known) Migrations of LBBG B9AJ7

Monday, June 16, 2014 Ringed LBBG Seen in The Netherlands

Hot on the heels of our first report from Norway of a Guernsey-ringed LBBG, comes another of the birds ringed this May at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey which has just been seen at Tilburg Landfill, Noord-Brabant, The Netherlands. This is a straight line distance of 581 km, and is another example of an immature LBBG (this time a 3rd calendar year bird) migrating north through Guernsey in mid-May. My thanks to Roland-Jan Buijs and M Loeve for this exciting observation!
The North-east Movement this spring of LBBG Black 3CJ7

Friday, June 13, 2014

Guernsey Ringed LBBG Seen in Norway

Last night I received exciting news from Alf Tore Mjos that earlier that day he had seen and photographed LBBG Black 1CA4 at an urban park in Stavanger, Norway. This bird was ringed as a 3rd year female on passage through Guernsey in May 2013. From the photo this gull looks like a typical intermedius race, which has moulted into a very smart adult plumage. This is the first report of any CI ringed LBBG in Norway!
The Northward Movement of LBBG B1CA4
LBBG B1CA4 in Stavanger, Norway (c) Alf Tore Mjos

Monday, June 9, 2014

French Breeding Herring Gulls in Guernsey

We've known for some time now that some Herring Gulls seen in Guernsey in summer are non-breeding adults from colonies in SW England or NW France, but the latest example is one of the most distant birds to be here in summer. White 3FA1 was ringed at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey as a full adult male on 23 May 2012. It was subsequently reported a couple of times in January 2014 at St Clément des Baleines, Charente-Maritime, France. Most recently it has been observed nesting on Cote Sauvage, Ille d'Yeu, Vendée - a straight line distance form Chouet of 345 km.
Movements of Herring Gull W3FA1

Sunday, June 8, 2014

And More Species with Tongues Trapped Through Chin Holes...

Following my last blog posting, Antonio Gutierrez in NW Spain has forward a collection of photos from around the world of gulls and other species which have suffered from this phenomenon of trapping their tongues through a hole in their chins. The Iceland Gull photographed clearly sorted this out for itself...but the others seem destined to wander like this for life?!
 Great Black-backed Gull (c) Jean Michel Sauvage

 Iceland Gull (c) Antonio Martínez Pernas

 Audouin's Gull (c) Josep Bort
 Royal Tern (c) Antonio Gutierrez
 Sooty Gull
Eurasian Curlew (c) El Yapa

Friday, June 6, 2014

LBBGs with Chin Holes Trapping Tongues

Over the years I've seen a small number of LBBGs which have their tongues protruding from their chins. The theory is that the gulls have caught some sharp food, which when being swallowed pierces a hole in the bird's chin. I guess the bird then sticks its tongue in the hole as it must be an irritation...then the tongue gets stuck through the hole and can't be withdrawn. The birds do appear to survive and continue to breed...but the tongue is then compromised and movement severely restricted.
We recently caught such a gull on Burhou, Alderney. It was relatively easy to ease the tongue back and get it clear of the hole...but of course we do not know if it will poke it through the hole again.
Interestingly, I've never seen a Herring Gull or Great Black-backed Gull with this condition. 
LBBG With tongue protruding from chin - then the hole when tongue eased back in to mouth (c) PKV

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Visit to the Channel Islands' Largest LBBG Colony

Last weekend I was on the Burhou, Alderney, one of the Channel Islands’ most valuable seabird breeding colonies. The primary purpose was to work with Tim Morley and Vicky Warwick-Evans, of the Alderney Wildlife Trust, to complete the first complete island gull nest count in three seasons. This proved to be a hard day’s work, counting some 1,429 nests, of which the vast majority are Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Only about 30 pairs of Herring Gulls nest on Burhou, along with six pairs of Great Black-backed Gulls. This leaves a grand total of approximately 1,400 pairs of nesting Lesser Black-backed Gulls, although 236 nests were empty (thus made either by adult birds not actually breeding this year, or gulls that have not yet reached maturity). 58% of LBBG nests had complete clutches of three eggs, while another 18% had two eggs, with just 8% containing a single egg.
One would think that this means that Burhou is a thriving gull colony. However, we know that in many recent years, the colony has virtually completely failed at the late incubation/early fledging stages, and in each of the years 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013 only a handful of chicks fledged successfully from all these pairs of gulls!
In addition to the nest count, I took the opportunity to record c 140 gull colour ring readings, which included 80+ LBBGs which had been ringed as chicks on Burhou in the successful seasons of 2009 and 2010 (40 each), which are now back on Burhou, some now nesting.
While colour ringing new adult LBBGs was not the priority for this trip this year, we did manage to colour ring another 16 breeding adults, and re-trapped two chicks ringed in 2010 which are now incubating eggs.
Finally, Tim and Vicky undertook several Atlantic Puffin counts, and while their maximum raft count of 190 birds is very encouraging (given the very high mortality of puffins in the February seabird wreck in the region), they appear to have arrived very late this year, and at the moment only a handful seem to be nesting this season. Further work is however required to confirm what is happening with the Burhou puffins this year.
 Landing in Alderney over Les Etacs Gannetry
 Alderney and Les Etacs Gannetry from Burhou

 Cute Great Black-backed Gull Chicks

 Variations in Lesser Black-backed Gull eggs
 Main LBBG Colony
 Supper Time!
 LBBG Black 3CK7
 LBBG Colony 
 Vicky and Tim with LBBG
 Happy PKV with LBBG
 The best bit - the moment of release
 View from my bed!

 Tim with LBBG
 Burhou Hut
Job well done!
All Photos (c) PKV