Mar 23, 2012

Welcome back...

21st of March the first Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) was back in the urban nesting colony at University of Bergen campus. Even if this individual isn't ringed, we believe this is one of the roof nesters because it rested most of the time close to one of last years nesting sites, it took bread and have remained at the site for two days now.

However, this is not the first LBBG in Bergen this year. The first was seen by Alf Tore Mjøs as early as 3rd of March when it rested briefly in the city centre lake. This is the earliest record ever in Hordaland county. The next individual showed up one week later (11th of March). Also this one just for a quick stop. At 21st of March the first two-digit numbers of LBBG seen here in Bergen was reported in the bird report system (Artsobservasjoner). The same day four was also observed in the city centre lake.

Now we are waiting for the first ringed LBBG to show up...

Mar 21, 2012

Ringing Mew Gulls pays off

During the autumn one of our goals was ringing at least hundred first winter Mew Gulls (Larus canus). We achieved this and managed to put plastic rings on 173 first winter individuals. The first reading came in Stavanger 150 kilometers south. During autumn and winter six of our birds was seen there. Of these six three have remained in Stavanger and wintered there.

The first international reading came from The Netherlands. In mid November one of our birds was observed in Groningen (read more here). Less than a week after the second was observed further south in The Netherlands in Overijssel. In January we had one in Denmark, but we could not understand why we didn't get any readings from England. Was it the mild winter that made the gulls stay on grassland and fields and therefore make them difficult to read? However, today (20th of March) we got a double reading from River Severn at Newnham near Gloucester thanks to John Sanders. One was ringed here in Bergen 26th of September and never seen here after. The other one was ringed in 16th of August and observed until 4th of September.

This map summarizes reading of the first-winter Mew Gulls ringed in Bergen during autumn 2011:

All readings of first-winter Mew Gulls ringed in Bergen during autumn 2011 (blue). The bold line from Bergen to Stavanger represent 6 individuals. The red line is reading of a breeding adult ringed in a colony north of Bergen.

J4K3 is one of the birds seen in England. Here pictured in the city centre lake in Bergen 4th of September.

In addition we have an observation of one of the breeding Mew Gulls in England. This individual is one of the first records that documents that breeding Mew Gulls in Hordaland county winter in England. This bird was ringed close to a breeding colony north of Bergen in Knarvik. The bird was seen in Rutland Water west for Leicester by Steve Lister the 28th of February 2012.

J7R3 pictured at the breeding site at Knarvik 22nd of July 2011.

Thanks to the gull readers: Alf Tore Mjøs, Henk van Huffelen, Frank Majoor, Flemming Fragtrup, John Sander and Steve Lister.

Mar 11, 2012

Ringing pintails and waiting for the Herring Gulls

After returning from Morocco in mid February the number ringed gulls is dangerously close to zero. The reason for this is partly the mild weather and a Peregrine sitting on the city hall building close to the city centre lake making the gulls nervous. The Peregrine usually hunts for pigeons, but when it hunts all the birds including the gulls fly in panic. We have only seen it taking a Mew Gull once and that was close to the place where the gulls spend the night during autumn.

In addition most Herring Gulls seem to have left Bergen. The max count of Herring Gulls in Bergen city in February was only between ten and twenty. We speculate that the reason for this movement is the Norwegian spring-spawning herring (Clupea harengus) which spawns in February-March outside the coast of Møre 200 kilometres north of Bergen. Sightings of the gulls ringed this autumn supports this. Three of these gulls have been seen in the Møre area between 13th of February to 23rd of February. These numbers are not enough to say something exactly but it's interesting. This map summarise the movement of the Herring gulls in January and February.

Movement of Herring Gulls ringed in Bergen (including one ringed some kilometres north west of Bergen in January) during the autumn (n=102). In addition to the sightings shown one was also seen in The Netherlands. All sightings are in January and February 2012.

IDLast seen in BergenDate of recovery, site
JN63207.01.1217.02.12, Sandhavn, Møre
JN64604.01.1223.02.12, Måløy
JN67307.01.1213.02.12, Sandhavn, Møre
JN70127.01.1220.02.12, Milde, Bergen
JN63506.11.1114.02.12, Karmøy
JN67217.12.1104.01.12, Kristiansand
JN62701.11.1125.12.11-12.01.2012, Noord-Holland, NL
When the Herring Gulls have left the city centre lake the Mew Gulls has taken over. In mid February over 600 individuals was counted here.

The last month our activity has manly been reading rings and ringing some ducks like these Pintails and a couple of Wigeons (Anas penelope). Only 15 Northern Pintails (Anas acuta ) have ever been ringed in Norway. It will be interesting to see if one of them can produce a recovery. There is only one recovery of a Norwegian ringed Pintail. This was also ringed in Bergen during winter and shot in Scotland three years later.

Adult male ringed 19th of February 2012First winter female ringed 8th of March 2012

The first winter female ringed 8th of March 2012.

Adult male ringed 19th of February 2012.