May 3, 2012

Latest activities and a Mew Gull that surprise us

There have been some time since our last post on this blog. The reason is not that we have stopped ringing gulls, rather the opposite the effort have been increased. In the one and a half month since the last post we have been focusing on ringing the Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) breeding on the roofs in the city center of Bergen. At time of writing we have ringed 9 adults in urban Bergen and read seven of the nine adults ringed in 2011. The return rate are very impressive which inspire us to ring more. In addition to the urban ringing we started to do catching in a mixed colony of Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) and Lesser Black-backed Gulls in an industrial area 17 kilometers west of Bergen. So far this have resulted in 21 Herring Gulls and 5 LBGs. We have also had three very interesting readings of LBG's in this colony. One was ringed in Pitsea, England by Paul Roper's group, the second was ringed in Faro, Portugal after it was rehabilitated by the RIAS group. The third was a gull ringed as a chick 280 kilometers to the south outside Lista southwest in Norway. This bird had only been seen earlier in Algeria! We will write more about the work in this colony later.

Lesser Black-backed Gull F016 have returned to the breeding colony thanks to the RIAS rehabilitation centre in Faro, Portugal.
Today the the first 1Y Mew Gull (Larus canus) ringed in 2011 was read at River Severn, Gloucester, England. The special about this bird is that it was one of the easiest we ever have caught. We we gave out bread on a warm day in end of July 2011 this bird was almost running between our feet. We picked it easily up and put on a ring even though we expected close to zero probability that this bird would give a reading. The bird was very small and had a head and bill measurement of only 82 mm and body mass of 285 gram. When we released it it came right back to us begging for more bread. It remained in Bergen for about a week and continued to show the same unafraid behavior. This is the second of our first winter Mew Gulls to be read in Gloucester area the other is summarized here. Thanks to John Sanders for finding and reporting the this bird!

Mew Gull J9R6 was begging for more bread minutes after ringing and we are very pleased that it survived and hopefully will come back to breed on a roof in Bergen city center.