Sunday, 31 May 2015

Big gulls on CBO

It's a quiet time of year for Black-headed Gulls, still waiting until young are big enough to ring and no wintering birds to catch, so I headed out to Copeland Bird Observatory yesterday to try and catch some bigger (and meaner!) gulls.

There was a day trip heading out from Donaghadee at 10.30am, so I tagged along and as the group were busy being shown around the facilities on the Island, I got busy setting nest traps in two of the Lesser Black-backed Gull colonies on the Observatory.

The Copelands are home to several thousand pairs of gulls, including this pair of Lesser Black-backs.

Photo by Linda Farmer

Many pairs are still on eggs...

while others are just beginning to hatch...

and some have large young, up and running around. Too quick for a photo!

It didn't take long before I managed to catch a couple of birds. Lesser Black-backed Gulls are a very different bird to the whimpy Black-headed Gulls we're used to...these lads can draw blood!

Photo by Dora Ferguson
Photo by Linda Farmer

We were only on the Island for a few hours, but eight Lesser Black-backs were caught and ringed. Perhaps potential for a new colour-ringing project sometime...

I also was successful in catching a male Herring Gull which, as well as being ringed with a traditional BTO ring, was also fitted with a colour-ring as part of an ongoing project on CBO. Last year, a total of 16 Herring Gulls were colour-ringed on the Copelands and to date, we've had one re-sighting (see here).

Photo by Stuart McQueen

Please keep an eye out for Herring Gulls fitted with yellow rings ending in "W" and report them via the BTO.

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