Sep 30, 2012

Mediterranean Gull in Bergen

A really rain full weekend here in Western Norway ended with the forth ever Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) of the county. Earlier this Sunday we was out on the urban feeding places for gulls to catch first year Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls. It ended with one of each species and we were quite pleased with that when the the conditions were taken into account. After a late afternoon reading gulls in the different urban lakes a last visit was made to the city centre park. The first thing that got our attention was a Mew Gull (Larus canus) ringed with a white ring that we saw was not ours. A picture was taken and we saw that the ring had the number EZ95 and we know that this is probably a bird ringed by Frank Majoor in The Nederlands. We have earlier had four of his Mew Gulls in Bergen and it was really nice to get a new one.

After a gull with to much contrast between scapulars, upper wing coverts and greater coverts was spotted. A first-year Mediterranean Gull. YES! We had been waiting for this species to show up in the city centre park, and there it was. A few snapshots were taken before it took to the wings a flew across the lake heading south. This is only the fourth record in Hordaland county. So far in 2012 there have been around ten different individuals in Norway as a total, but many of these have not been considered by the local rarities committees so this number is not exact yet. In Hordaland these are the previous records, notice that the two first individuals was colour ringed.
  •  22.07-06.10.1996, 1 3cy Bergen. Color-ringed (red  H135) in Szeged, Hungary. Was in 09.05.2004 seen in Nyski, Poland.
  • 21.11.1997-23.03.1998, 1 1cy/2cy wintering in Bergen, This one also color-ringed (red  H775) in Szeged, Hungary. This bird was later seen in Suffolk Great Britain, Szege Hungary,  Antwerpen Belgium, Nyski Poland.
  • 17.07-31.07 2012, 1 3cy in Norheimsund. 

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) in Bergen 30th of September.

Mew Gull EZ95 probably ringed by Frank Majoor in The Netherlands

Sep 25, 2012

Our Lesser black-backed gulls move southwards

Unfortunately we do not have picture of JA6V but JA5V was ringed next to it.
Yesterday (24th of September) Paul Veron reports that one of our Lesser black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) pullus was seen in Guernsey. This is our first reading for a gull in the Channel Islands and very nice that is was a LBBG pullus where the colony of birth is known. The colony where it was ringed is a semi-urban colony at Ågotnes which is a large supply base for the oil industry in the North Sea. The person responsible for the security kindly gave us access to the whole base and on 12th of July the urban ringing team in Bergen (Christian Pedersen, Vegard Finset Fjeldheim and Arild Breistøl) with help of Bent Fjeldheim from Hallingdal ringing group (blog is in Norwegian) entered the area. We ringed 18 Lesser Black-backed (one of these with metal ring only) and 34 Herring Gull pullus this day. As the other colonies we visited this summer the production of Lesser black-backed was not to good, but the Herring gull production was what we think is a normal level. Since this was our first visit to the colony we do not know the production numbers exactly so the production estimates are uncertain. We also have another reading of a LBBG from this colony but this one have so far only moved to the city center park in Bergen.

JJ1V was ringed in the semi-urban colony at Ågotnes 12th of July and seen for the first time in the city center of Bergen 5th of September. The 20th of September it was still present.

Since the Ågotnes colony is close to Bergen and reading with telescope don't seem to affect to birds much we visited the colony four times after ringing. Of the 17 LBBG pullus we ringed with colour rings 11 individuals (64 percent) has survived to fledging which is quite good. The observation in Guernsey was another confirmation of that the few LBBG pullus that fledged actually have survived.

Readings of Lesser black-backed gull pullus ringed in the colony at Ågotnes. JA6V has been seen 1309 kilometres south west in Guernsey and JJ1V in the city centre of Bergen.

A later post will summarise the colony at Fedje island which is a natural mixed colony of Herrings and LBBGs.

Sep 15, 2012

Some news and our first Gray Heron ringed

It's been a while since our last blog post, but our ringing activities are still continuing with the same strength. One of our target species this summer has been the Lesser Black-backed gull (Larus fuscus). The reason for this is mainly because of all observations outside Norway of the few LBBGs (9 adults and 13 1Y) we ringed last year. This year the numbers are much higher and so far we have ringed 79 fully grown LBBGs. The majority have been ringed in the Bergen city center, but we have also widen the horizon and ringed many breeding birds in the non-urban nesting colonies on the islands west of Bergen. In the colonies we visited the breeding success was low but we still managed to ring 59 nestlings in four different colonies. These days are exiting times, we get reports from Texel in The Netherland, France and Spain from birders who have spotted our birds.We are really looking forward to the autumn and winter months for more reports.

At the moment we try to ring as may first-year LBBGs as possible when they come to the parks to feed bread to fatten up for they journey south. The majority are quite easy to catch and we have reached 22 first-years as writing. Today we concluded that we had done a good job when almost every first-year LBBG we could find had a nice black ring around their legs. We therefore got time to ring some other species. One of the species we ringed was a first-year Gray Heron (Ardea cinerea) which was a new species for us. The story behind this bird was that it was found by the road in an island outside Bergen unable to fly and weak probably because of food shortage. It was transport to the friendly vets at Dyreklinikken Vest in Bergen who examined it and and feed it with cod. After a day and a night with care we could release it by a little lake in a park where we often see Gray Herons hunt for sticklebacks. We equipped it with a plastic ring and released it. In less then 20 minutes after release we could see it hunt for food and hopefully it will become strong enough to survive the winter.

The heron ringed with JE01 started to hunt for food shortly after release.

Large beautiful wings

Later we also ringed two first-year and one adult Coot (Fulica atra). The Coot have become a breeding  bird around Bergen in the last 20 years. This makes it extra interesting to ring this years production and the adults.