The undisputed highlight today was the return of LBBG White 6S7 - only the 2nd LBBG ever to be colour ringed by Catherine and me in our garden in May 2008. That isn't what makes it so special though. When I last saw this bird in 2009 (11 August) I thought it had a broken leg - but it turned up again in Guernsey on 10 April 2010 looking fine. I recorded it that year until 26 April, and it was then next reported on 24 July 2010 at Sidi Abed Alt Pans, El Jadida, MOROCCO by Alan Mathurin. It was back at Chouet today looking rather tired..and with a rather nasty limp again...but it has returned for another breeding season.
LBBG White 6S7 Chouet Landfuill Beach 31 March 2011 - PKV
LBBG White 6S7 Chouet Landfill Beach August 09 - PKV
LBBG London GC 80521 Chouet landfill Beach 31 March 2011 PKV
Yesterday's very nice surprises at Chouet and Pembroke, Guernsey (respectively) were Lesser Black-backed Gulls Orange K:A (ringed by Peter Rock as a chick in Bristol, England in July 2000) and Orange E104 (ringed as a chick in July 1995 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands by Norman Van Swelm).
Today's highlight was the sighting of LBBG Black WB7S at Chouet landfill Beach. This gull had been ringed as a chick by David Sowter at the huge gull colony at South Walney NR, Cumbria,England in July 2006. This was the first sighting of this bird since ringing.
LBBG Black WB7S Chouet Landfill Beach 29 March 2011 - PKV
After a rather quiet early morning session at Chouet I decided to check Pembroke Beach on Guernsey's north coast before scooting off to work. It was a good decision with Lesser Black-backed Gull Black J11M (not an easy code to read!) on the tide line. This gull was ringed as a chick (intermedius race) on 14 July 2007 at Rauna, Farsund, Vest-Agder, Norway by Marton Berntsen. It was seen in Cadiz, Spain in September 2009 (Rafa Garcia).
The highlight of the weekend's gull watching was the sighting of LBBG Jersey E4141, which I ringed as a chick on one of the Sark colonies in July 1989 - making this bird almost 22 years old! Amongst c 90 of my cr LBBGs observed were eight seen for the first time this spring. These included Blue 956, which was ringed by the Severn Estuary Gull Group at Gloucester Landfill, England as an adult in October 2005, but which is almost certainly a Guernsey breeding bird, as I have recorded it here in each of the last two summers. On Saturday it was courting with LBBG White 1.U1 from my project.
LBBG E4141 Chouet Landfill Beach 27 March 2011 - PKV
Over the past three mornings conditions for reading colour rings at Chouet have been excellent, with 169 ring reads of Lesser Black-backed Gulls being taken – including a record of 66 on Thursday 24th March. Although getting up at the crack of the dawn each morning is a little tiring these efforts are bringing some excellent results for my gull projects. I have now recorded 214 Guernsey colour ringed adult LBBGs this spring, providing valuable data by which to compare the arrival dates for the 125 colour ringed adult LBBGs recorded last spring. Of course the migration is not yet over, and I am hoping to see at least another 100 of my adult birds before the end of the first week in May.
Photographic opportunities have also been good with close birds and (mostly) good light…so I managed to take record shots of several more of my adult LBBGs. A selection is included below:-
After early morning mist cleared a total of 114 gull colour ring reads were taken in the first 90 minutes of light at Chouet landfill. Of the 46 cr Lesser Black-backed Gulls seen, seven were recorded for the first time this spring, including five birds which had been seen in the autumn/winter in Iberia. I was also pleased today to record a passage migrant LBBG – Black T7RF an adult from Dave Sowter’s project. This bird will have been ringed at Tarnbrook Fell, England. Once the sun came out I could not resist a few more photos of the gulls, most of which are now looking very handsome as they begin to court for the 2011 breeding season.
It was another very beautiful morning today with clear skies overnight resulting in a widespread ground frost. The rising sun soon warmed the day, and I enjoyed another fine early morning session at Chouet landfill recording 53 of my colour ringed Lesser Black-backed Gulls.