Thursday, 27 July 2017

Yellow-legged Gulls (27 July) and other colour-ringed gulls on the Adur

Thursday 27 July. Megan was away and I was looking after Cookie for a couple of days and so switched Thursday when normally working for Friday when not. It didn't seem a particularly good idea at Shoreham Harbour where no interesting gulls and only a single Gannet offshore. A Common Sandpiper flying around the harbour and a Sanderling west were something but looking along to Widewater the few gulls on the beach were greatly outnumbered by dogs. We moved straight to the Adur by Shoreham Airport as the tide was low. Another Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel were my first of the autumn and amongst the mainly Herring Gulls were two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls. Neither were the bird(s) seen at Shoreham Harbour and Widewater Beach yesterday, one wearing a yellow colour-ring from a German or perhaps Swiss scheme. It is the first colour-ringed Yellow-legged Gull I've seen and takes my Adur total of colour-ringed gulls seen between the railway bridge and A27 fly-over to 136. The others are 80 Herring, 33 Great Black-backs, 8 Lesser Black-backs, 5 each of Mediterranean and Common, 3 Black-headed and star of the show a single Caspian (examples follow).
Yellow-legged Gull HD429 on the Adur 27 July 2017

River Adur looking south to the railway bridge. Gulls usually roost on the sandbar when it is exposed at low tide, unless bait diggers are present. Windy days and afternoons are generally best.
Examples of previous colour-ringed gulls on the Adur:
Black-headed Gull 2DL on 04 March 2017. From a Danish scheme (one of the rare ones not to reply when details of the bird were sent) 
German Common Gull A17H on 26 February 2017. Ringed as 3CY on the North Frisian Island of Anrum in July 2011 and seen there in June 2012.
Great Black-backed Gull JE486 late on 21 November 2010. Ringed as pullus in Vest-Agder, Norway in June 2009, seen in Vest-Agder in July and August 2009, at Dungeness in March 2010 and Rustington in May 2010. Later it was seen at Arlington Reservir in October 2011, Buskerud, Norway in April 2012 and back in Vest-Agder in July 2013.
North Thames Herring Gull J0LT on 05 December 2015. Almost 25% of the colour-ringed birds seen on the Adur are from this scheme. This one was ringed as a 3CY or older at Pitsea Tip in Essex in December 2014 before I saw it  on the Adur several times the following winter. I've seen a few Channel hoppers so this is pretty dull in comparison but it has the best ring number - they should have saved it for a Caspian though.
Lesser Black-backed Gull 9H3 on 30 June 2012. Ringed as four years or older female at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey in May 2011 and seen on Alderney two months later.
Mediterranean Gull 36A2 on 08 October 2011. It was ringed as pullus in Zuid-Holland, Netherlands in June 2003, seen in German in May/June 2010 and the Weymouth area in July, August and October 2010.

Caspian Gull XNEK on 05 October 2014. It had been ringed in SE Germany that June (see for more details)
colour-rings not so easy to read when birds are standing in water
certainly my star CR bird to date
The very next day I returned to the Adur looking for the Caspian Gull but it wasn't seen again. Instead I saw the one bird I really do wish had a ring on it:
Lesser Black-backed Gull on 06 October 2014. I suspected it might be Baltic but you can't do much without a ring (see Ironically two juvenile Lesser Black-backs were also present and both had rings (one from Suffolk and the other, presumably, Denmark - but another no response) 

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