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, February 27, 2015

85 cr LBBGs today - including a Spanish-ringed adult

Today the light was very much better than yesterday, and there were also more gulls present at Chouet. A one hour watch at Chouet Landfill Beach produced more than 100 cr gull observations including 85 of our returning LBBGs. There was also a Spanish-ringed adult on the beach today - White N0A6.

Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach - the wind made them very flighty this morning (c) PKV

Thursday, February 26, 2015

And another 26 cr LBBGs

Well...I couldn't resist another look at Pembroke and Chouet landfill Beaches at a slightly better state of the tide...and this proved to be  good decision with another 26 of our cr LBBGs back on the beaches after their winter sojourns in NW France and Iberia. More will be arriving by the day really is one of my very favourite times of the year! last I'm back in the field...and just in time!

After very little time in the field recording gulls since the turn of the year, I just had to get out in the drizzle this morning. Visibility was poor...but as expected I very soon found some Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Pembroke Beach...and three of them were carrying our colour rings. Two had been in Iberia for the winter...and I was lucky enough to see one of them (B8AL5) at Eirol Landfill. Portugal (with Tim van Nus and Pedro Moreira) in November. That was such a nice reward for the brief session this morning! It feels really good to know that our LBBGs are returning now in force for the 2015 season!
LBBG B8AL5 on passage in NW Spain - José Vidal August 2012
LBBG B0AH4 Chouet July 2013 (c) PKV 

Friday, February 13, 2015

To boldly go...

Peter Rock, Nils-Helge Lorentzen and I spent the last ten days of January on a gull ring reading expedition to Northern Morocco. Although several gull observers (including me) had been to Southern Morocco in recent winters, the Northern part of the country (from Tangiers to Oualidia) has been sadly neglected for far too many years. It was clearly very important for gull research in many countries in Western Europe that the area was once again explored for gulls - hence our trip.
And so what were the conclusions:-
  1. First and foremost the north-western coastline of Morocco is of major importance to wintering (and presumably passage) Lesser Black-backed Gulls from a wide part of their breeding range (at least from Norway, through Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Britain...and yes...the Channel Islands!).
  2. This area needs much more attention from gull researchers in future winters. Not all Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Morocco go to Anza!
  3. And order to get the best work done it is necessary to access several fishing ports and landfill sites - and this will very definitely require authorisation in writing in advance (almost certainly achieved through one of the Moroccan universities)
The main concentrations of Lesser Black-backed Gulls were found at the following sites:-

Larache 3,000

Moulay Bousselhem 2,000

Kenitra 20,000

Kenitra Landfill 2,000

Rabat 6,000

Skhirat 400

Casa fishing port 3,000

Tit Mellil Landfill 3,000

El Jadida 16,000 (of which 9,000 at the landfill)

Oualidia Landfill 1,500
Kenitra and El Jadida were relatively easy to work, mainly in the case of the latter through the very hard work of local Ruth Garcia Gorria (and her husband) who ensured that we received support for our scientific work at the local university . This enabled access to the fishing port and the landfill at El Jadida. Although in other areas access to the fishing ports and landfills was far more problematical, all the Moroccan authorities were at least understanding and very polite with us - even if they did not have the authority to let us enter the areas with telescopes (which were frequently wrongly believed to be cameras).
We recorded 350+ colour-ringed LBBGs, and a high percentage of these gulls had not been recorded in the area in any previous winters (because of the lack of visits by gull watchers!). The majority of the birds were from Northern Europe (Norway, Germany and Denmark), but there was also a good representation of gulls from Britain and other countries in western Europe. I was personally delighted that we recorded 28 different LBBGs ringed in the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
As well as these LBBG colour ring reads we also secured a good number of colour ring reads on Audouin's Gulls, as well as a few Mediterranean Gulls, White Storks, a single Sandwich Tern and one Eurasian Oystercatcher. 
It is now to be hoped that in future winters other gull recorders will follow in our footsteps and make more highly valuable observations of colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Northern Morocco.

 A small selection of photos from Northern Morocco


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

And so the 2015 Seabird Season begins...!

With the very kind assistance of States Sea Fisheries the Seabird Team went out on its first monitoring trip of the 2015 season today...and it was very exciting! Our main purpose was for Catherine and Chris to identify the exact spot for the Guillecam on The Humps, and to measure up the site. As soon as we approached it was obvious that a very healthy number of European Shag were already at nest sites on the islet, as well as one pair of Great Cormorants. Fortunately no birds were yet incubating eggs...but we know we need to move fast to get the camera deployed before the eggs get laid. While Chris and Catherine did the work, I recorded the site and assessed the bird populations.
This season so far the sea looked beautifully clear and the birds in great shape...what a total contrast to last year...when at this time we were just entering the worst mass seabird mortality event in our waters in living memory!
We did not land on any other islets, but as we motored past Godin it was apparent that c 40 pairs of Great Cormorants were either on colony or sitting tight on nests...another very encouraging sign.
Sea Fisheries then had a freight run up to Alderney, and the Seabird Team joined Dave and Amy on an inshore fisheries patrol. This gave us a superb opportunity to check out the Alderney cliffs and islets too. Although plenty of adult Northern Gannets are already back in Alderney waters none has yet returned to the gannetries of Les Etacs or Ortac. Incredibly there were c 100 Common Guillemots and Razorbills around Les Etacs, and even more in the vicinity of Cocque Lihou. If these birds remain to breed it may even be a record season for these auks in Alderney.
We are experienced enough to know now that there are always plenty of things to go wrong as each seabird season advances...but we really could not have asked for a better start to the 2015 season...let's hope it keeps going as it has started out!
Once again our thanks to Chris Morris and his team at Sea Fisheries. Their assistance with the vital task of monitoring the Bailiwick's seabirds is very much appreciated!




The first seabird monitoring trip of the season - The Humps (c) Amazilia Photography