White 9.Z7 ringed Guernsey on Quarteira Beach, Portugal © PKV Black J351 - Larus fuscus fuscus - ringed in Norway at Quarteira © PKVCatherine and I opened 2009 with a short trip to the western Algarve, Portugal in January. On that trip we relaxed and explored a wide area of the western and central Algarve. Several times we visited Portimao Fish Port (and adjacent Ferragudo) and also Quarteira beach – where we managed to read c 50 colour rings. Incredibly – given how few gulls we had ringed in 2008 – we even managed to find one of our own Lesser Black-backed Gulls from Sark. It was no surprise then, that after the more successful gull breeding season of 2009, we were very keen to head back to the Algarve to look for more of our gulls on their wintering grounds. And so…in December we headed back for five days of gull watching and relaxing – based this time in Quarteira (central Algarve).
Every morning I checked the beach and harbour at Quarteira (including the long beach to the west of Quarteira port). In addition we made three trips west to Portimao and Ferragudo, as well as one east to the fishing town of Olhao. However…we never managed to time these visits to coincide with the return of the fishing fleet and so the gull flocks there did not live up to what we had seen back in January. By contrast Quarteira was fantastic – with a good flock of several hundred Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the beach every morning. By mid-afternoon this flock had often grown to several thousand birds. The gulls were noticeably more settled too in the afternoons making ring reading easier.
Sunset at Vilamoura Beach © PKV Gulls over Vilamoura Beach © PKV
Black J1L5 ringed in Norway © PKV Green V:A9 ringed in Spain © PKV
Ferragudo Beach © PKV Red WV at Portimao Fish Port © PKV
At the end of the five days we had read a total of 185 colour rings involving 123 different birds as follows:
Yellow-legged Gull two reads (two individuals)
Mediterranean Gull one read
Eurasian Spoonbill two reads (two individuals).
White 1.T3 ringed in our garden at Ty Coed, Guernsey and seen at Quarteira, Portugal © PKV
Details on some of these birds are still awaited. However, the following indicates the countries of ringing for most of these birds:-
24 The Netherlands
6 Channel Islands
1 The Netherlands (this bird was ringed as a nestling in the summer of 2004, and has subsequently been seen several times in France, Portugal and the Netherlands. It was also seen in January 2009 at Banc d'Arguin, Mauritania).
22 December 2009