Sep 9, 2011

Reading Lesser Black-backed Gulls in Caleta de Vélez, Andalucía

The last week of august we were on vacation in Andalucía, southern Spain! Most for vacation but also trying to find some of our own gulls in Poerto de Malaga and Caleta de Vélez! We kindly got information about the best spots by a local gull watcher, Salvador García. The first day in Poerto de Malaga we found a roof full of Yellow-legged gulls and some Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but unfortunately none with color ring. We later discovered a huge flock which mostly seemed like Lesser Black-backed Gulls, but fences made it impossible to get close to them. We even asked the Guardia Civil to get access, but with no luck. We later got information from Salvador that one of our own Lesser Black-backed Gulls (J1Y2) nesting in a gull colony in Norway was seen in this area some days earlier. So close but...

The next location at Caleta de Vélez, close to Vélez-Málaga 20 minutes drive east of Málaga, was easier accessible. As all harbours these days this one also had fences but made in a way that a telescope and camera could see through without problems. Salvador had told us that this place was best in the evening when the fishing boats arrive with the catch of the day. This turn out to be exactly what happened, around six o'clock some hundred Yellow-legged Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls followed the boats. When the gulls was finished eating they rested on roof-tops and on the ground in a closed part of the harbour. We used three evenings at this spot shown in the picture below.

We started to scan the gulls and did not use long time before the first Lesser Black-backed Gull with a plastic ring was spotted. The sight of a black plastic quickly made us think about our urban nesting ones home in Bergen, but this one started with 1 not the letter J and therefore ringed at Guernsey.

Paul Veron informed us that this adult male was ringed at Vale Marais, Guernsey 10.05.2010.

Some days later we read two other individuals ringed by Paul Veron

This adult male was ringed at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey 25.06.2011 and was seen on the island 07.08.2011

This adult female was ringed at Chouet Landfill, Guernsey 20.05.2011

We also found a gull ringed by Roland-Jan Buijs's group in the Netherlands.

Roland-Jan Buijs informed us that this adult female was ringed at Europort outside Rotterdam 19.05.2011

...and two blue plastic rings probably from Iceland



...and finally a gull from Norway. It's was not a surprise to find that it was ringed in a colony not far from Mandal as most norwegian Lesser Black-backed Gulls have got their plastic here.

This individual was ringed as pullus 12.07.2002 at Storøy south of Mandal. In May 2010 it was observed in a breeding colony at Rauna not far from Lista Bird Observatory. The last two winters it has used Puerto de Málaga as wintering site. Maybe this year too, watch out for it Salva :)

We also read some Audouin's and Yellow-legged Gulls which we will write about in a later blogpost when we have got the ringing information.

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