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.

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