Oct 31, 2011

From Russia with KF87

Today (31st of October) we found the first ever Herring Gull with a Russian color ring in the city centre of Bergen. It was a 1Y gull and when giving it bread we were able to get quite close and get some nice shots. However, due to daylight saving it's almost dark here at 60 degrees north around four o'clock which may show in the pictures. The bird is probably a new arrival of the day, because this weekend we spent many hours both on Saturday and Sunday ringing Herring Gulls in urban Bergen without seeing this white Russian. We do not know where it's ringed yet, but a sms to Morten Helberg who also have read Russian Herring gulls said that it's almost certain ringed in Kandalaksha in the inner part of Kandalaksha Gulf in the White Sea around 600 km south of Murmansk. The distance travelled is the largest distance we have recorded of a Herring Gull found or ringed in Bergen, 1513 km, but this may change when getting the correct ringing data.

KF87 in Bergen. Note that all scapulars are juvenile and not moulted. Other Herrings in Bergen have at least started renewing the scapulars and mantle feathers. Malling Olsen and Larsson (2003) describe this delayed moult in birds with northern origin. Just to compare see the picture below of a Herring Gull where most scapulars are moulted.

JN617 have as most Herrings in Bergen this time of year moulted the majority of scapulars

KF87 with spread wings

KF87 is most likely ringed in Kandalaksha in Russia

Oct 24, 2011

1Y Lesser Black-backed Gull in Germany

The 23rd of October we had our first reading of a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Germany. For exactly one month ago this bird was ringed in the city center lake in Bergen. This J8Y4 was also our last LBG for the season. Most of the 1Y's LBG have now left Bergen, but yesterday (23rd of October) when reading gulls we found two struggelers which still have chosen to delay migration. One of these already has a ring and the other one has a limp so we do not want to put a ring on it. We have one reading of an adult LBG in England from earlier this season, read more here.

Germany is also the fifth country where gulls ringed in the city centre of Bergen are observed. A summary of last years results when we had four gulls observed in four different countries can be read here.

JC9K one of the Lesser Black-back Gulls who have chosen to stay late in Bergen

J8Y4 migration southwards

Oct 14, 2011

Ringing of Glaucous Gull and more visitors from north

After an unsuccessful attempt to catch the Glaucous Gull yesterday we had a new go during our lunch break today (13th of October). When we came to the city centre lake there was no white winged gull to see, we searched the roofs, feed out two or three fresh bread and waited but the bird seemed to have disappeared. We had seen worrying headlines in the newspaper in the morning that a festival had opened the night before and used huge amount of fireworks. This seemed a likely explanation of the disappearance and we concluded that we had been happy to just see this huge white winged gull. By way of consolation we catched two Herring Gulls and got a new reading of a Mew Gull ringed by Nils Helge Lorenzen in Tromsø. When we looked this Mew Gull up in the database we saw that it was ringed just eight days earlier, which means that it has travelled the 1200 kilometres in the shortest time we in Bergen have recorded.

This 1Y Mew Gull (J7C9) migrated the 1200 kilometres from Tromsø to Bergen in eight days

In the evening we decided to just grab a few Mew Gulls at Tveitevannet, a lake in an urban area south of Bergen. When we went down the path the first sight that met us was a huge white gull sitting between the Mew Gulls. The Glaucous Gull was still present in Bergen! Other people feeding the gulls had also noticed this large white gull because it had dominated the whole feeding place and had chased and stolen food from the smaller ones. We also saw it was possible to come quite close to it and when feeding out fresh white bread we were able to catch it. This is the first ringed Glaucous Gull in Hordaland county ever and we believe there have been just a few ringed in Norway south of Trondheim. When ringing and measuring this lovely bird we both agreed that it must be very big, but since none of us have any experience with this species it's difficult to say what kind of sex it might be. We took blood samples as we do for all our gulls so a DNA analysis will give us the correct answer later. It will be really exiting to see if it is observed elsewhere or if it will stay in Bergen the rest of the winter.

The Glaucous Gull minutes before it was captured and ringed

Wing of Glaucous Gull JN666.Head of Glaucous Gull JN666.

After our white winged friend had got it's freedom again we decided to explore a new possible place for reading and catching gulls - the landfill used by the entire Bergen city in Rådalen. This site has not been used as a gull site before since most garbage are burnt here, but a guy working at the place gave us a tip that there are gulls and they flock around the organic dump. Today the organic dump was not to crowed with gulls. Only a handful of Great Black-backed Gulls and 30-40 Herring Gulls, but one of the Herrings was ringed and paid for the effort of driving here. It turned out that this one also was ringed outside Tromsø as a pullus this spring by Nils Helge Lorenzen.

1Y Herring Gull J2400 ringed right outside Tromsø as a pullus 1220 kilometres from Bergen

When we opened our mailboxes well at home we also saw a message saying that one of our Bergen ringed 1Y Mew Gulls had been seen right outside Stavanger. This is our third 1Y Mew Gull observed in the same area. A map can summarize the day.

Red line: Mew Gull J7C9 and Herring Gull J2400 both ringed in Tromsø. Blue line: Mew Gull J6K3 ringed in Bergen and read in Sandnes 170 kilometres to the south

Oct 11, 2011

1Y Glaucous Gull in Bergen city centre

Today, 11th of October, a rarity was discovered in Byparken in the middle of Bergen city centre. It was Christian who did the daily check of the gulls who found and documented it nicely. The last time Glaucous Gull was observed in the city centre was back in April 2005 so this species is not common to see among the Herring and Mew Gulls in Bergen. This record is also one of the earliest autumn observations of Glaucous Gull in the Hordaland county. It was feeding on a dead pigeon, but we do not know if this pigeon was killed by the gull or if it was dead by other reasons and the gull just found it.

When looking at observations in Scandinavia there have only been three observations of four individuals so far this autumn. One adult at Öland, Sweden the 6th of October, 2 individuals outside Trondheim in Norway the 7th of October and this one in Bergen.

Tomorrow we will try to catch it and put a colour ring on it. If this dream comes true it will be really nice to follow the king of white feathered gulls during the winter.

1Y Glaucous Gull feeding on a pigeon.

1Y Glaucous Gull

Oct 10, 2011

1Y Mew Gull from Tromsø, Northern Norway

Today we had this autumns first reading of a foreign 1Y Mew Gull in the city centre of Bergen. This one was ringed by Nils Helge Lorenzen in Tromsø at Prestvannet. Nils Helge is one of the most experienced gull ringers in Norway and are together with Morten Helberg in charge of the Norwegian program for colour ringing of gulls. He informed us one week ago that we must keep our eyes open for one of his 130 ringed Mew gulls, it did not take long time before the first one appeared. J5V5 was ringed 1st of September and remained at the ringing location for three weeks. It was seen in Bergen 1207 kilometres to the south west in Norway 18 days after it was seen in Tromsø for the last time. It would be exiting to know if there are any other urban stopover sites between Bergen and Tromsø, so birders keep your eyes open for ringed Mew Gulls.

We know form earlier ringing efforts (using metal ring only) that Mew Gulls from the area around Tromsø winters in Bergen. So this was an expected observation. We will come back with a blogpost summarising where the winter population of Mews in Bergen have their origin.

J5V5 was ringed in Tromsø and was seen in the city centre of Bergen 10th of October

1Y Mew Gull J5V5

Oct 5, 2011

Ringing summary for September 2011

In September we ringed a total of 104 gulls. Most of them 1Y Mew Gulls which was really easy to catch on rainy days. 11 1Y Lesser Blacked-backed Gulls was also ringed before they migrated southwards. The number of Black-headed Gull is still low in Bergen this autumn. Our max. count is only 12 which explains the low number of ringed of the species this month. An urban ringed Great Blacked-backed Gull was our first, even if it was a very small one. The numbers is summarized like this:

Species1YSub adultAdult
Mew Gull7703
Lesser Blacked-backed Gull1100
Great Blacked-backed Gull100
Herring gull721
Black-headed Gull101

JC3K hopefully in Spain or Morocco now