Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Hard Yards

Freezing weather means only one thing - take a holiday day and risk getting your car stuck in snow to read some rings. The usual parking spot at Shawell A5 Lagoons, was out of bounds due to the road being hidden under snow. I asked permission and parked in the car park of the nearby industrial units. That was an adventure, as the snow hadn't been cleared and I almost got my car stuck, 

The ice on one of the lagoons was the attraction for me, as hopefully the gulls would stand on it and show off their bling. Initially it was frustrating as they would fly back onto the water as I approached.

A good gathering of gulls formed on the bank between the lagoons and one of the adult Great Black-backed Gulls was colour ringed. I had never successfully read the colour ring of a GBB Gull despite trying many times in the past. The ring was positioned awkwardly so the code was not fully visible. Eventually I read the code which was JDL. Almost straight away I spotted a 1st-winter GBB Gull that was also colour ringed and this one was easy to read - JP573. 

Great Black-backed Gull (JDL) 1st record away from Gloucestershire
1st-winter GBB Gull (JP573) Norwegian Ringed
Eventually the suckers settled down on the ice and allowed me to sneak up on them. It was a ring fest out there. In all I read nine rings including two Dutch LBB Gulls. one of which appears to have been re-colour ringed. It was initially colour-ringed in Gloucestershire as Blue 393, but it is now Dutch ring Black G+ - cheeky

One of the others was a female LBB Gull (blue ring DGA.G), which was ringed in Belgium and she is sixteen years old. 

A LBB Gull (Green J:S), first ringed in Bristol in 2002, had been avoiding detection since its last sighting in 2005.

Herring Gull, Yellow 1T1B
Now it was absolutely freezing, but that's what you have to put up with to do real ornithology (tongue in cheek). Luckily I've got some great winter clothing and a bit of my own insulation around the middle. Shivering doesn't help when reading colour rings!

No rares today just three Yellow-legged Gulls.

Yellow-legged Gull (left hand bird)
Yellow-legged Gull
I've now read 80 different colour rings at Shawell.

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