GUERNSEY GULLS

JUNE 2009



(photos © Vic Froome)

What an incredible month June turned out to be! Activities switched from gull colour ring observations to making the maximum effort to progress my own gull projects by trying to colour ring a good sample of gulls from all three species breeding in the Bailiwick of Guernsey – Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

After months of careful planning and preparation, Paul Roper from the North Thames Gull Group brought a small core of ringers experienced in cannon netting gulls across to Guernsey, to join up with Guernsey ringers and helpers in a three-day session of cannon netting run at the Island’s only landfill site – Chouet landfill.

This initiative was spectacularly successful, with a total of seven catches being taken over the three days – resulting in a massive total of 744 large gulls being caught. This level of catch took me so much by surprise that I ran out of colour rings for Herring Gulls and so 230 gulls were released only with metal rings!

My gull studies originally commenced with work on Lesser Black-backed Gull, and so I was particularly thrilled that we caught, ringed and released 90 gulls of this species.

My sincere thanks to Paul and the rest of his team from North Thames, and to the Guernsey team, and also to the States of Guernsey Public Services Department and States Works for granting permission to operate within the site, and especially to the landfill site management and staff who were extremely helpful throughout the three days.

A summary of the catches is as follows: -

Species

Catch 1

4th June 09

Catch 2

5th June

09

Catch 3

5th June 09

Catch 4

5th June 09

Catch 5

6th June 09

Catch 6

6th June 09

Catch 7

6th June 09

Totals

GBB

3

4

2

1

0

2

0

12

LBB

35

7

7

3

3

5

30

90

Herring

75

189

95

34

124

70

55

642

 

113

200

104

38

127

77

85

744

 


(photos © Vic Froome)

A more detailed report on the three days operations can be found on the excellent web site of the North Thames Gull Group by clicking here

One of the Herring Gulls caught during the cannon netting was carrying a French ring - Paris DA 227144. This is almost certainly the bird seen on 7th May (and reported in last last month's news), for all digits tied up with those seen earlier when I had only been able to see a part of the ring. The ring was worn and thin so we re-ringed it (Jersey E 15721) and also fitted a colour ring (5.FF0). I have subsequently seen this bird at Chouet landfill Beach on 1st July.

                                     

Reports from the colour ringed Herring Gulls are already beginning to be received from members of the public and other local birders. Each observation helps to build the valuable database for the Guernsey Gull studies.



(photos © Paul K Veron)

The rest of the month saw a further 343 gulls ringed (mostly with colour rings), as the Guernsey Seabird Team (Catherine, Paul and Sophie Veron, Jamie Hooper and Chris Mourant) visited many of the colonies on Guernsey, Jethou, Herm, Sark and Alderney both to monitor the 2009 seabird breeding season and also to ring a good sample of chicks of several species (primarily Northern Gannet, European Shag, Great Cormorant and the three gull species). Brief accounts and photographs from these visits can be read on other sections of this web site. Click on the following link  Guernsey Seabirds 2009.

Gull totals ringed were: - Great Black-backed Gull (50 pulli), Herring Gull (175 pulli and 24 adults) and Lesser Black-backed Gull (22 pulli and 69 adults).


(photos © Paul K Veron)

With so much time devoted to seabird monitoring and gull ringing, there was virtually no time left to take my telescope out looking for colour rings. The highlights of the few records taken were the Herring Gulls which were seen at their nests on Jethou (5.AA6 - originally ringed at Chouet Landfill on 6th June 2009) and Lihou (1.MM6 – originally ringed in our garden at Ty Coed, Vale on 10th May 2009).



(photos © Vic Froome)

Finally..it was very exciting to receive an e-mail from John Sanders in Gloucester, England informing us that he had spotted one of the 1st summer Lesser Black-backed Gulls that we had ringed the previous month in our garden here on Guernsey. This bird (2.BB2) was ringed on 25 May 2009 in Guernsey, and seen at Gloucester landfill on 24th and 26th June. The photographs below show it in Guernsey and in Gloucester.


   (2.BB2 at Ty Coed, Vale, Guernsey   photo © Catherine Veron)                    (2.BB2 at Gloucester Landfill, England   photo © John Sanders)

 Paul K Veron

2nd July 2009