Nov 27, 2011

Visit from Greenland

This weekend Urbpop Bergen got visit from Morten Helberg to make future plans for the urban gull project, take a look at collected data, plan the Morocco and Western Sahara expedition in February and of course ring and read gulls. The weather forecast for the weekend was extreme weather with heavy rain and strong winds from west reaching over 20 m/s. A really promising weather that could produce a gull rarity.

Saturday was used to catch Mews and Herrings. We also got our 9th Black-headed Gull of the year, a 1Y male. On Sunday the rarity appeared in the city centre park. We had only been 5 minutes at the site when Morten Helberg shouted YES and held a very white gull in his hands. We all run towards him and had a close look at a beautiful 1Y Iceland Gull! The strange thing is that yesterday we in Bergen made a bet with Morten on who would be the first to catch and ring an Iceland Gull. Five minutes before walking into the park we ensured that this bet still was on and decided that if we found an Iceland Gull today the bet would be a draw and the next one would be valid. So we have to keep our eyes open for a new white gull.

When the bird was ringed, measured, sampled for some blood and photographed we released it and started to catch Herring gulls. In just 10 minutes or so the Iceland Gull was back and could almost be hand-feed. This Iceland Gull is the third to get a colour ring in Norway, the first was ringed in Kristiansand 22nd of January 2004, and the second in Flekkerøy an island outside Kristiansand 22nd of November 2008. There are no readings of any Norwegian ringed Iceland gulls other than on the same ringing location the days after.

Spread wing of Iceland Gull J8Y6.

Morten Helberg, Christian Pederesen and the ringed Iceland Gull 10 minutes after it was ringed.

This picture was taken after we had given the Iceland Gull supper.

Nov 22, 2011

Mew Gull from Estonia

Today we had a quick after work ringing session in the Bergen city center together with Finn Jørgensen. The second gull we caught had a metal ring. We did not see the ring before catching it since the ring was on tibia so it was pure luck that this individual was our next gull. The ring had the inscription Estonia Matsalu and number UA5970. The reaction was YES and a high five, because this is our first Estonian bird. We measured it and put on a plastic ring on the other tarsus. Information is sent to the Matsalu Bird Ringing Centre and we wait in excitement for ringing information and possible life history data.

The 2Y Mew from Estonia

Nov 20, 2011

One old Mew and our first 1Y to The Netherlands

During this weekends gull work we first noticed that the gulls have become difficult to catch in the city center lake. Partly due to very mild weather for middle of November but also much disturbance of people visiting a temporary marked close to the best place to catch. We therefore tried an alternative place close by. That strategy gave us a Mew Gull ringed with metal only. We later found that it was 19 years old and ringed in Stavanger January 1993 as a 2Y. Old birds like this one are very difficult to catch, they are extremely careful and not at all willing to take the same risks as the 1Ys. On the other hand getting color ring on an individual like this one with an exactly known age is of great value. When we know the breeding area as well the value is even greater. It's possible that this individual breeds at Prestvannet right outside Tromsø because 30th of May 1999 the metal ring was read here. Mews that breeds in the area around Prestvannet is previously known to winter in the area around Bergen. It was our guest from Mandal, Finn Jørgensen who nicely caught this one for us. This weekend Finn and us from urban ringing Bergen exchanged methods, good gull stories and looked at gulls together. A very nice and informative weekend.

The six oldest Mew Gulls in Norway with color ring observed in 2011
CodeAgeYear bornLocation*Date*
*The last location and date observed

J0L0 the 19 year old we equipped with color ring today. The fifth oldest Mew with color ring in Norway. It's moulting, P9 is growing and P10 is still old.

We also had our first 1Y Mew Gull observed in The Netherlands thanks to Frank Majoor who read it in Overijssel 17th of November 2011. The effort in August and September payed off. J6K6 was ringed at Tveitevatnet 08th of September and stayed in the Bergen until 15th of October. Measurement of skull and bill shows that it's a male.

J6K6 in Bergen city centre 12th of September 2011.

J6K6 southward migration

Nov 12, 2011

Ringing summary for October 2011

In October we ringed a total of 70 gulls. Most Herring gulls which were our main target this month. Top of the month was of course the Glaucous Gull which was ringed 13th of October. It was only present in Bergen one day after ringing and we have unfortunately not had any readings of it yet.

Species1YSub adultAdult
Mew Gull2811
Herring gull2296
Black-headed Gull101
Glaucous Gull100

Glaucous Gull JN666 in Bergen 14th of October