November was a fairly quiet month in Guernsey because of the departure of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls. As expected the numbers of this gull at Chouet landfill and on the north coast beaches never exceeded five or six on any day in the month, and it was a similar story down the island's west coast too. Perhaps the most surprising record was that of White 4.V8 which had been ringed as a chick on Burhou on 10 July 2009. I first saw this bird on Guernsey on 30 September at Pembroke Bay, then again on 07 October 2009 at Chouet landfill. I was surprised that this juvenile gull lingered in Guernsey until at least 07 November when I last saw it at Chouet landfill. This was the only cr Larus fuscus recorded this month.

       Larus fuscus White 4.V8 Chouet landfill 07 November 09   © PKV                   Larus fuscuis adult - Chouet landfill 07 November 2009  © PKV

In terms of gulls on Guernsey Great Black-backed Gulls provided the most interest in many ways in November, with the Chouet flock building from around 80-100 birds at the end of October to more than 230 on some days at the end of the month. While it was clear that a proportion of these birds were immigrants from France (with a total of  ten different  French colour ringed gulls being observed over the month), others may well have been birds which had moved up from the south-west of the island. Normally the large flock of c 200 Great Black-backed Gulls which can be found in the winter months in this part of Guernsey feed in the main on the beaches (particularly Perelle, Vazon and L'Eree), and off the west coast. However, persistent rough weather over much of the month may have pushed these birds to make greater use of then landfill site than is usual.

Of the ten French-ringed birds four were recorded for the first time in Guernsey this month. These included Black 28E a juvenile from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France (Gilles Le Guillou) and Green E.30, Green E.36 and Green E.41 - all ringed as chicks in the summer of 2009 on the Chausey Islands, Manche, France by Seb Provost. The first two of these Chausey birds were particularly interesting because Catherine and I had already seen Green E.30 on 12/13 October on the beach at Siouville, Manche, France. This bird then travelled to Portland Bill, Dorset, England where it was seen by Martin Cade on 22 October, before it appeared in Chouet Landfill, Guernsey on 07 November.

Green E.36 was at the Axe Estuary, Devon, England on 14 August, before Tim Earl saw it at Crabby Bay, Alderney on 03 October. It was in Chouet landfill, Guernsey on three dates from 07-28 November.

The other five colour-ringed Larus marinus included three from Le Havre, Seine-Maritime, France (one each of 1st, 2nd and 3rd winter) - Blue 30C, Blue 94C and Blue 73D, and two from Chausey (Green A87 a 3rd winter which was last seen in Guernsey in December 2008. It had been sighted at Erquy Fish Port, Cotes d'Armor, France on 20 June 2009) and Green E.71 a juvenile first seen in Guernsey on 17/09/09).


                                    Blue 30C at Chouet landfill  07 November 2009 © PKV          Green E.30 at Chouet landfill  07 November 2009 © PKV

Herring Gulls had a solid month of sightings with 678 colour ring readings over ten days in the month - almost all of them at Chouet landfill. Many of these gulls are now beginning to build interesting life histories. Perhaps of most interest this month were the birds which were seen back on Guernsey which had earlier been recorded in France. These birds were

White 2.ZZ2 ringed as ad adult female at Chouet landfill on 05/06/09, sighted at Gatteville Lighthouse, Manche, France on 11/10/09 and recorded back at Chouet landfill, Guernsey on 14/11/09

White 2.VV5 ringed as a 1st summer female on 04/06/09 at Chouet landfill and sighted at Siouville, Manche, France on 18/10/09 and recorded back at Chouet on 21/11/09

White 3.VV6 ringed as a 3rd summer male on 05/06/09 at Chouet landfill, Guernsey and sighted at Locquirec, Finistere, France on 07/10/09, then recorded back at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey on 07/11/09; and

White 1.DD2 ringed as a 3rd summer male on 12/04/09 at Ty Coed, Vale Marais, Guernsey and sighted at Grandcamp-Maisy, Calvados, France on 28/10/09 and then back at Chouet Landfill Beach , Guernsey on 14/11/09.

    White 2.ZZ2 back at Chouet landfill Beach 14/11/09 © PKV                                          Chouet Landfill - November 2009 © PKV

Well...notice a distinct lack of colour in the above photos? was that sort of month - grey, wet and windy on Guernsey. Fortunately November produced some more excellent movements of Guernsey colour ringed gulls.

Lesser Black-backed Gulls

There were 16 reports this month from my Larus fuscus cr programme based in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. This included ten reports from Spain (including one bird which had earlier been recorded at Matosinhos, Portugal). These birds included several records form the north coast - including White 6S6 which I reported on in the October 2009 Guernsey Gulls News. This very special gull (it was the first I ever colour ringed) has now been seen wintering along the north coast of Spain two years running. There were also reports from the landfill sites of Colmenar Viejo and Pinto, near Madrid and from Malaga Port in the far south west of Spain. The only other report this month from the Iberian Peninsula was a single bird seen at Vilamoura, Algarve, Portugal (by John Walker). This bird had been seen on three dates in September/October at neighbouring Quarteira, Algarve by Michael Davis.

Also of considerable interest were the five reports of birds received from France; all of which were visiting landfills (4 Maine-et-Loire and one Mayenne).

Black 1.K8 at Colmenar Viejo landfill, Madrid - 15/11/09 © D Gonzalez           White 1.Z0 at La Séguinière, Maine-et-Loire, France - 03/11/09 © A Fosse

White 9.U7 at La Séguinière, Maine-et-Loire, France 03/11/09 and White 9.V4 at Champteusse-sur-Baconne, Maine-et-Loire, France 05/11/09 ©A Fosse

Black 0.P7 at  Santona Harbour, Cantabria, Spain on 12/11/09 © Angel Ruiz Elizalde        Black WD8T at Chouet Landfill Beach 07/04/09 © PKV

I was also very pleased to hear this month that a couple of the Gloucester-ringed gulls which had summered in Guernsey (and therefore probably bred in the islands) were back wintering at Gloucester Landfill and Bishop's Cleeve Landfill. These birds were Blue CHN and Blue ACE.  Furthermore news came in that Black WD8T ( a bird ringed at Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, and which I had seen and photographed at Chouet landfill and Chouet landfill Beach in the spring of 2009 had been sighted twice in Spain in the autumn/winter - at Esmelle Beach, Ferrol, A Coruna on 03/08/09 by Paco Veiga and on 21 November at Colmenar Viejo landfill, Madrid by the Madrid Gull Team.


                                                         Blue ACE and Blue CHN at Chouet Landfill - summer 2009 © PKV


                                                       Bishop's Cleeve Landfill, Cheltenham, England - November 2009 © John Sanders

Herring Gulls

In addition to the return to Guernsey of the above four Herring Gulls, I received news of three others recorded away from the island for the first time in November. These were:-

White 5.UU1 the first of this year's chicks to be found outside the Channel Islands! It was ringed on Breniere, Sark on 27 June and seen at Les Ponts d'Ouve, Saint-Come du Mont, Manche, France on 02/11/09.

White 1.HH8 was ringed as a 3rd summer female at Ty Coed, Vale Marais, Guernsey on 04/05/09. It was seen at Chouet Beach on 01/07/09, and then on 02 and 04 November 2009 at Gloucester Landfill, England by Gordon Avery

White 3.PP7 was ringed as an adult female on 05/06/09 at Chouet landfill, Guernsey. It was then seen on 19/11/09 at Mesanger landfill, Loire-Atlantique, France on 19/11/09 by Vincent Tanqueray.

Finally...the original ringing details were received this month for the French-ringed adult male Herring Gull (Paris DA227144) caught in Chouet landfill on 06/06/09 when colour ring White 5.FF0 was added. This bird was ringed as a juvenile at Ile-Grande Rehabilitation Centre, Cotes d'Armor, France on 31 July 2002. Since its colour ring was fitted this bird has now been seen in every month in Guernsey.


                    1.HH8 at Ty Coed - May 09 © PKV                        5.FF0 at Cobo Bay, Guernsey September 09 © PKV

         1.AA0 at Chouet landfill Beach  08/08/09   © PKV                                           1.AA0 at Chouet landfill 07/11/09 © PKV

3.PP7 Mesanger landfill, Loire-Atlantique, France 19/11/09 © V Tanqueray                  5.UU1 (and 5.UU2) Breniere, Sark 27/06/09 © PKV

            5.XX8 as a chick Longue Pierre, Herm 01/07/09 ©PKV                                          5.XX8 at Chouet landfill 17/11/09 © PKV

Great Black-backed Gulls

There was only one report out of the islands of a Great Black-backed Gull in November. This was Yellow 0T3 which had been ringed as a chick on Little Burhou, Alderney on 10 July 2009. It was sighted by Ray Poulding at Porthleven Harbour, Cornwall, England on 08/11/09. This is the fifth of this year's young Great Black-backed Gulls to be sighted in south-west England this autumn/winter.


          PKV & Yellow 0T3 Little Burhou 10/07/09 © Catherine Veron               Yellow 0K3 at Chouet landfill 17/11/09 © PKV

In addition 11 of the locally colour ringed Great Black-backed Gulls were seen at Chouet during November (including Yellow 0K3 originally ringed as a 1st summer male on 05/06/09 at Chouet landfill).

...and finally I was pleased to record a single 3rd winter +  Yellow-legged Gull at Chouet landfill on 17th and 21st November.

Mediterranean Gulls were seen at St Peter Port Harbour (one adult on 10th), and at Bellegreve Bay (one adult and one 1st winter) on 19th November.

Paul K Veron

01 December 2009