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, July 31, 2015

The Best Med Gull Roost so Far!

The high tide roost at Bulwer Avenue was even more impressive this morning with at least 37 Mediterranean Gulls and 11 Sandwich Terns. Amongst the Med Gulls were three Belgian and one French-ringed birds, and one of the Sandwich Terns was also colour ringed - a Dutch bird I think.
Sandwich Term Lime Green N04 from The Netherlands

Med Gull Green RU18 from Noirmoutier Island, Vendee, France

Site faithful Med Gull 3E90 from Belgium

Med Gulls

Med Gulls 3E90 and 3LLP both from Belgium

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Another Foreign-ringed Mediterranean Gull in Guernsey

A quick check of the high tide roost at Bellegreve Bay this morning resulted in a count of c 30 Mediterranean Gulls, including a French-ringed bird.
With Camille Duponcheel's usual stunning efficiency I already have the details for Med Gull Green RU18, seen in Bellegreve Bay this morning. It was ringed as a chick on Noirmoutier Island, Vendee, France in June 2014. It was subsequently seen in Devon, England that autumn, before being seen in Jersey earlier this month.
Med Gulls really do have one of the more complex and interesting dispersal/migration strategies of all the European gulls!

Monday, July 27, 2015

First Adult LBBG reaches Iberia

With my first colour ringed adult LBBGs being seen in NW France a few days back, it was only a matter of time before the first autumn migrant reached Iberia. Last night Manuel Petiz sent me news and a very nice photo of Black 2AL6 on the beach at Espinho, Portugal on 24th July. This adult was known to be in Guernsey this summer. Some of our adult LBBGs really don't hang around after the end of the breeding season!
LBBG B2AL6 at Espinho, Portugal 24 July 2015 (c) Manuel Petiz

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Weather for Gulls?!

For ducks maybe...but I don't think the gulls have been appreciating the very wet weekend here in the Channel Islands. The very nice photos below show one of my cr Herring Gulls, which is a regular in Jersey...looks a bit forlorn doesn't it...waiting (like us!) for the sun to shine again?!

Rather wet Herring Gull at Grosnez, Jersey (c) Mick Dryden

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The end of the Breeding Season for Gulls

With the end of the breeding season approaching for most of the island's gulls, many of the adults and the first of the juveniles are gathering on the beaches. My first colour ringed adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls are already in the Bay of Biscay, and within days now I expect reports from Northern Spain. The migration is very spread out though, with some of the birds remaining here until late August/early September.
I've already seen juvenile Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls n the beaches, and numbers should now grow through the rest of July and into August...before many adult Herring Gulls move south-west to the sandy beaches of western France, where they will moult.
Gulls at Chouet Landfill Beach (c) PKV

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hungarian and Belgian Mediterranean Gulls in Guernsey

A quick look at the high tide roost in Bellegreve Bay today resulted in a count of 26 Mediterranean Gulls, including three colour-ringed bird - two from Belgium and one from Hungary. At least three of the gulls carried only a metal ring, and one of these was read (another Belgian bird). The message is clear...if you want to record some interesting gull movements no other species has such a high percentage of colour-ringed birds as Mediterranean Gulls...and they have a really interesting and diverse migration/dispersal strategy!
Mediterranean Gull White E898 at Bellegreve bay (c) PKV

Burhou's Amazing Storm Petrel Population

Jenni from AWT has kindly sent a few photos from last weekend's seabird monitoring on Burhou. The Storm Petrel work requires working through the night, as these small ocean wanderers only come ashore after dark. It's hard to overstate just how important this survey work is because we don't really know much about the population on Burhou - other than it is significantly larger than we thought...and we don't really know how to best conserve and protect the petrels yet! The size of Swallows these tiny seabirds can ride out the fiercest storms and gales that Mother Nature can throw at them. It's another stunning example of just how amazing our natural world is!
Over two nights we caught 536 different Storm petrels, including 147 birds that had been ringed in previous years (thus giving even more valuable data). Amongst the ringed birds there were also a few British and French-ringed petrels.  All in all it was a very valuable short field trip.

Storm Petrel Monitoring on Burhou (c) Jeni Godber

Thursday, July 23, 2015

358 Gull Chicks Colour Ringed This Year

Given that the National Seabird Census was the top priority this year, and given all the other distractions and priorities that spread through my summer, I am actually very pleased to end the season with another 358 gull chicks colour ringed. Ironically it was a productive season for Great Black-backed Gulls, but the total number of chicks ringed was only 29. We only sampled some of the Herring Gull colonies to ring 82 chicks this year. 
The one highlight really was the total of 247 Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks ringed, as this is my principal study species, and this total reflects where my limited effort could be expended this season. As ever I am most grateful to the small number of people who help with this important work each year.
Hard to describe the level of contentment when the work has been done! (c) Jenni Godber


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Seabird Season - Saving the Best Until the Last!

The Seabird Season was such hard work this year, with the emphasis on the National Seabird census...the first in 15 I was determined to enjoy the last monitoring trip of the season on Burhou. In many ways we managed to save the best until last. Here's a few more photos...all courtesy of Jenni and Holly of AWT (both of whom were excellent at finding gull chicks in the bracken!)

Ringing LBBG and HG chicks on Burhou (c) Jenni Godber

What a great 1st season for the Seabird Camera on Jethou?!

We could not have hoped for a better first season for the Seabird Camera on Jethou. Catherine and Vic had the great good fortune to choose a nest for the camera from a very successful pair of adults. This seabird has been enduring a run of poor productivity now for a decade or so, so we were absolutely delighted when this pair managed to fledge three chicks this season.
It is amazing that after more than 30 years studying seabirds in the Islands the simple addition of a nest camera taught me so many things I just didn't know about their breeding ecology. Roll on next season...
Until then here's a selection of images we enjoyed this year.
Adult incubating eggs

Egg Hatching!

Three chicks and one adult sheltering from the rain

Whose watching who here?

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Last Seabird Trip of the Season!

We returned to Burhou last weekend with a larger team, specifically to try to monitor the Storm Petrel population on the islet. Once counted in tens of thousands, the last official figure recorded in the 2000 Seabird Survey was only around 30 pairs. For the 2nd year running the team led by Chris Mourant caught just under 500 petrels over two nights (including c 150 re-traps - with some French and British-ringed birds). The high proportion of re-traps strongly supports our belief that there is a much higher population. In fact when last calculated in 2008 using the capture/recapture method it was estimated at 1,000 pairs.
We now believe this figure to be too low. It will be very interesting to see what the capture/recapture data from last weekend's trip gives us. does show that Burhou is a very important Storm petrel colony in our region!
For me it was a real bonus too that we found another 70 Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks to colour ring on this visit!
Chris Mourant and Team members Ringing Storm Petrels (c) PKV

Atlantic Puffins on Burhou (c) PKV

Team Searching for LBBG Chicks (c) PKV

LBBG Chick Search (c) PKV

A Well Deserved Rest (c) PKV

Thursday, July 16, 2015

How Effective are Ropes in Protecting Nesting Seabirds?

The answer of course depends on many factors, but there's no doubt at all that they can be extremely effective. For the past several seasons the Environment Department in Guernsey has enabled ropes to be erected on Lihou island off Guernsey's West Coast, which has public access. These ropes are only in place for the nesting season (April-early August), but it is staggering how secure the birds feel provided people stay behind the ropes - as the photo below demonstrates!
Our thanks to Sure who have sponsored the provision of these ropes.
Rope Protection for Nesting Seabirds on Lihou (c) PKV

Monday, July 13, 2015

Juvenile Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the Wing

On 9th July I saw my first fully fledged Herring Gull of the year at Chouet landfill Beach, and today my first fledged Lesser Black-backed Gull. It is always an exciting time of year, as I hope to see my first colour ringed juvenile gulls on the beaches.
Last weekend I was on Burhou with Jenni and Holly of the Alderney Wildlife Trust, who had very kindly agreed to help me ring the Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks. We managed to ring 120 LBBG chicks and only two Herring Gull chicks, so 2015 was not  a very productive season on Burhou for the gulls. Notwithstanding this it was still a great trip, with much valuable gull data accumulated, including another 25 gull colour ring observations at the colony.
Photos to follow in the next few days.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls in Guernsey

It's so easy to get blasé abut birds. There was a time not many years ago when both Yellow-legged and Mediterranean Gulls were very scarce indeed in Guernsey. Those days are long past, with flocks of Mediterranean Gulls in Bellegreve Bay reaching almost 100 birds now in the early autumn. Yellow-legged Gulls are still only seen in much smaller numbers, but at least they are regular at certain times of the year.
Today I recorded two immature Yellow-legged Gulls at Chouet landfill Beach. Both were immature birds - one 2nd and one 3rd calendar year bird. The former was a bird colour ringed (Black 4CT7) at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey on 15 May 2015 (but it had not been reported since).  There were also four Mediterranean Gulls in Bellegreve Bay - the vanguard of the late summer/early autumn arrivals!

Asleep in the Rain

As we get down to the last week or so of our Seabird Camera set on a Shag nest on Jethou island, I am checking several times a day to see if any of the youngsters have fledged yet. Here's the image from a few minutes ago - all three young all tucked up asleep in the rain - very cute!
Catherine and Vic were so lucky when they chose this nest, because it really does look like the parents are top of the range birds - raising three chicks to fledging. A decade or so ago I wouldn't have batted an eyelid at this...but Shag productivity has been falling in the Channel Islands (as elsewhere in Britain) it is very fortunate to have selected such a successful nest for the 1st year of the camera!
Our three Shag chicks and one of the adults asleep in the rain on Jethou

Monday, July 6, 2015

Alderney's Gannet Cam Views Chicks on Ortac

In terms of promotion of Conservation and Education, the Alderney Wildlife Trust takes some beating, especially when you consider just how small it is! One of this year's highlights has been the development of a very successful live camera on one of Alderney's two gannetries. Roland Gauvain, the AWT manager recently posted that the AWT is :-

"Over the moon to say we can now see Gannet Chicks clearly for the very first time on GannetCam.

So please take a moment to act the expectant parent by visiting our chicks and showing them off to your friends>.
Les Etacs gannetry from the air (c) PKV