Christmas has been spent enjoying time with the family...so there has been little time for gull watching. However...there was a very good number of Great Black-backed Gulls on Chouet on Christmas Eve (c 200) and amongst these were 13 cr birds (nine from my own project and four well known birds from France). The pick of the bunch was Yellow 0.XX2, ringed as a chick this summer on Crevichon, Jethou. It had been recorded on Guernsey a couple of times in August, but was then seen at East Looe, Cornwall, England on 08 December. On 24 December it was back at Chouet.
Amongst the 2,000+ Herring Gulls was Pale Blue B822 - a bird ringed as a chick in Le Havre, Seine-Maritime in July 2010. The bird had been reared on a roof top in the city, but was found wandering the streets...before being taken to the bird rehabilitation centre run by CHENE. It was ringed there before release.
This week has yielded two very exciting reports of Lesser Black-backed Gulls ringed in Guernsey. The first was White 2.AF7 ringed as a 1st summer at Chouet Landfill in May 2010, and subsequently seen in July 2010 in Somerset, England, July 2011 in Cardiff, Wales, and Boca do Ría, A Coruna, Spain on 07 August 2011. This bird was reported from Kénitra, Morocco on 18 December 2011! The second (Black 9K5) was ringed as an adult ringed on 18 May 2011, and was recorded three times in Guernsey to 21 June 2011, before being recorded at Bocabarranco Beach, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands on 20 December 2011. This is the first LBBG from the Channel Islands Ringing Scheme to be reported from any of the Canary Islands.
LBBG Black 9K5 Chouet, Guernsey - June 2011
LBBG White 2.AF7 Chew Valley lake, Someset July 2010 - Len Ingram
With a cold NW wind blowing hard into Chouet this morning conditions for gull watching were challenging! The landscape was rather wild and beautiful, with several thousand Herring Gulls feeding at Chouet Landfill, along with 150+ Great Black-backed Gulls. Before retreating from the coast for a hot cup of coffee I logged five cr GBBGs - including two French birds (Seine-Maritime) - both well known in Guernsey. Only one LBBG was seen - which is par for the course at Chouet in the depths of winter! Not long to wait now though before my first LBBGs return - maybe 4-6 weeks!
Two things happened today to make me very happy about the success of the Bailiwick of Guernsey LBBG project. Firstly Antonio Gutierrez, one of the keenest gull watchers in Spain, saw LBBG Black 6T3 on Pantin Beach, A Coruna. What was very special about this sighting is that it means that Antonio has seen at least one of our "Guernsey" LBBGs in every single month of 2011. In fact in August his "peak" month he saw 33 of our LBBGs! In total this year he has recorded 58 different Guernsey LBBGs on the beaches of NW Spain. This is making a big contribution to the Guernsey LBBG project.
The other big news today was an e-mail from the legendary gull recorder Harry Vercruijsse, who has recently returned from a trip to Southern Spain and Portugal. On that trip he set a new record by recording 91 sightings of our Guernsey cr LBBGs! The previous record being held by the Peter Rock who had tallied 57 sightings in November in Portugal.
It is hard to over-estimate the massive contributions that these observers, and many others, spread across Western Europe are making to our important gull studies - a very big THANK YOU to them all!!!
LBBG Black 6T3 Pantin, A Coruna, Spain - Antonio Gutierrez
The weekend proved to be very enjoyable with a very productive hour on Saturday at Chouet Landfill Beach - where I recorded 11 cr GBBGs (including four from France - two Seine-Maritime and twoChausey Islands, Manche), and 51 Herring Gulls. On Sunday Catherine and I nipped over to Herm (on the free Christmas shopping boat) and enjoyed a walk around the north end, where we recorded nine cr Herring Gulls. Conditions were far from ideal with a strong wind and frequent rain and drizzle...but that just made a fish and chip lunch all the more appreciated!
Jethou (and Crevichon) from Herm
Catherine and Rubin on Shell Beach, Herm
Gulls on Chouet Landfill Beach
GBBG Black 10J (from Seine-Maritime, France) Chouet Landfill Beach
With wet and very windy weather I thought there may be a large number of GBBGs along the west coast this morning...but this did not appear to be the case. There were only 35 GBBGs and two LBBGs on Vazon. Amongst the GBBGs were three colour ringed birds - two from my own project and one (new) bird from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France (Black 54H).
The wet and windy weather over the weekend brought at least 500 Great Black-backed Gulls, and 20 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, to the Island's west coast this morning...but there were relatively few colour ringed birds amongst them. Only six cr GBBGs were recorded (although several other cr birds were too far to be able to record the code in the windy conditions). Half of the GBBGs were from my own scheme, while the others were a well-known Cornish bird, and two French GBBGs from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime.
Often the most exciting reports of my colour ringed gulls come from overseas...but today that was different. Although I could only find seven Lesser Black-backed Gulls on Guernsey's west coast this morning one of them was Black 9C2 - an adult male ringed on 18 May 2011 at Chouet landfill, Guernsey. This gull has now been recorded on Guernsey's west coast on 11 occasions between 8th September and 1st December - and I think it is fair to conclude that this bird is wintering in the islands. That is not to say that it may not be making feeding trips to the south coast of England, but clearly its base is here on Guernsey. This is significant because it is the very first example I have of a locally breeding gull wintering on the island. The vast majority of Guernsey's Lesser Black-backed Gulls remain migratory - with the majority wintering in Iberia or even further south in NW Africa. A minority winters in NW France and a few even winter in southern England.
LBBG Black 9C2 - a rather special LBBG - Vazon Beach 01 December 2011 - PKV