Sunday, 5 December 2010

New species for the group - ICELAND GULL!

The cold temperatures have continued in Aberdeen so our efforts to catch gulls have also continued. Yesterday lunchtime we'd just put the sausages on for sausage softies when Ewan noticed gulls on the neighbour's roof. A quick scan established the usual common gulls queueing up but also an Iceland gull sat above our catching area!
We quickly put out some cooked liver and bread and waited. Other gulls starting to come in but the Iceland didn't move! After what seemed like an age the bird swooped in and landed straight in the catching area. A quick check that the catch was safe and we pulled. The bird stayed perfectly caught along with 12 other gulls.
The gull was a 1st year bird and was a new species for the group. Previously there has been one Glaucous gull rung. It was a lot smaller in the hand than we'd expected, as can be seen below with a 1st year herring gull for comparison.
We think this was only the 10th Iceland Gull to be ringed in the UK so we're a little bit excited! Not bad for our little garden in an Aberdeen suburb! We're now up to 74 gulls this winter in the garden including British and Norwegian controls and now an Iceland gull. If the snow stays we'll be getting through the E's and G's this winter.
After ringing, weighing, photographing and measuring the bird we released it again and reset the net to see what else would turn up!
We've also just heard from Dave Anderson in Central Scotland that the Black-headed gull was ringed as a chick on Carron Reservoir near Stirling in late June this year, a total distance of 167km.
Ewan and Jenny
(Photos copyright of Ewan Weston and Jenny Lennon)

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