Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ringed Poll, Ringed Gull

Not much doing the in the strong northerly winds with a trip to Pilling proving not very productive. Lane Ends pools gave up the Greylags with young, the Canada Geese as yet without, a pair of Tufted Duck and a single drake Teal behaving as if a female was close by. The pool margins still hold two singing Reed Warblers and a singing Reed Bunting, with the recent Sedge Warbler and Willow Warblers not seen.

Donning jacket and hat I braved a walk to Pilling Water where I found Kestrel and Buzzard, the latter heading off towards Fluke Hall, the Kestrel in the direction of Damside. Any small birds were laying low in the wind, but I noted a pair of Greenfinch and the single Corn Bunting once again. In the poor conditions I decided to cut my losses and save the birding for another, hopefully better day soon where the coming weekend looks marginally better. So in the meantime I drove to Rawcliffe where between the rain and hail showers I did a little site management work as the (comparative) recent warmth is has spurred growth which threatens to turn woodland edge into woodland.

Out Rawcliffe  

A record came from the BTO of a bird handled at Rawcliffe Moss last year, a bird which bore a Belgian ring number 12231826, Bruxelles. The Lesser Redpoll ring was first ringed on 11 February 2012 at Sinaai, West Vlanderen, Belgium and then recaptured at Rawcliffe Moss on 20 October 2012, one of five Lesser Redpolls captured that day and one of 28 of the same species caught their during October of that year. 

Belgium is known as a regular haunt of Lesser Redpolls leaving the comparatively colder climate of the UK to winter further south, October being a peak migration time. The distance between the two sites is 555km, West Vlanderen being in a south south-easterly direction from Out Rawcliffe. 

Lesser Redpoll - Belgium to Out Rawcliffe

Lesser Redpoll

On holiday in Menorca I saw another ringed Audouin’s Gull this year, one of three Darvic ringed ones in recent years (BCFH, AHY2 and AH2D) spotted near the south coast resort of Sant Tomas. The gulls are part of the population ringed on the small Menorcan offshore island of Isla de L’Aire, a protected island where no one lives and no one is allowed to land without permission, a consent which is granted rarely. I learnt that AHY2 was ringed in 2005 and in 2007 spent at least some time in Barcelona, mainland Spain but was back in Menorca in 2008 and in 2009, but I didn't see that one this year.

Audouin's Gull - AHY2

In the late 1960s, Audouin’s Gull (named after the French naturalist Jean Victoire Audouin) was one of the World's rarest gulls, with a population of only 1,000 pairs. It has established new colonies, but remains rare with a world population of about c10, 000 pairs. This gull thrives on human practices of waste fish dumping. The population of Audouin’s Gull has risen spectacularly since the fishing industry, particularly in the Ebro delta of Spain, began dumping large volumes of fish waste overboard. Having adapted to this food source, Audouin’s Gull populations would now be decimated should the fishing industry choose to use the fish waste as animal food. In periods when the fisheries do not operate, Audouin’s Gulls have been seen to suffer food shortages, as well as becoming prey for the Yellow-legged Gull. 

The adult resembles a small European Herring Gull, the most noticeable differences being the short stubby red bill and "string of pearls" white wing primary tips, rather than the large "mirrors" of some other species. Audouin's Gulls take four years to reach adult plumage. 

Audouin's Gull - AHZD
Audouin's Gull- BCFH

Stay tuned for more from Another Bird Blog soon.


Carole M. said...

despite the weather Phil you still managed to achieve some. A blog post of interest came from it and you ventured on and did a little management work which no doubt warmed you up some in the chilling conditions. Spring is fickle isn't it; hopefully next weekend will have the birds out waiting for you. I loved the little red-poll, they don't look at all phased by you holding onto them....

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

This is fabulous! The map helps. I never thought about them travelling across the water. Just amazing.
Our birds, of course, travel the continent. That I expected.
A very educational post. Tahnk you.

eileeninmd said...

Wow, the gull is a beauty. And I love your first shot, the scene is pretty. Have a great weekend and happy Birding!

Wally Jones said...

I hope your weather improves so you can do some proper birding!

Migration still amazes me, but seeing your map provides a graphic image of what a feat these little creatures perform each year.

It appears there are no easy answers for the plight of the Audouin's Gull. I presume prior to human settlement, they survived on the natural fish availability?

Don't go overboard with manual labor this weekend trying to clear an entire wood!

Stuart Price said...

Well I didn't know that about the Aodouins Gull........we should be encouraging sailors to throw more offal from their boats then!

TexWisGirl said...

beautiful sleek gull!

DeniseinVA said...

These are fantastic photos, always very interesting to read too. Thank you so much!

Gunilla Bäck said...

The gulls are beautiful.

Pia said...

Wonderful photos and it´s cool that you can recognize the birds by their rings.
Weather here is ugly, I wish i could go to Menorca too.

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