Thursday, 28 June 2012

Back to the Breakwater

A year ago we had our first voyage to Portland harbour breakwater to ring gull pulli. This year’s visit was somewhat unsure earlier in the year, largely due to that sailing competition that’s happening in a few weeks’ time. Despite all that we were allowed back over this ‘summer’ which was sure to be an interesting visit due to the recent awful weather. There were plenty of nests about but chicks were few and far between. Herring Gulls seemed to have suffered quite badly with several cold eggs in nests but Great black backed Gulls seemed to fair better. However, last years visit was something of a learning curve in finding gull pulli. So the fact that more pulli were found this year compared to last could just a case of the team being better at finding them! They get into some rediculous cracks and caves in the rock armour.

This was one of the Great black backed Gull pulli.

And they bite!

Over 70 Great black backs were ringed in total with a lot fewer Herring Gull. In fact, I believe it could be less than 20 but I haven’t got all the data. A good number of both species were colour ringed but I rather stupidly didn’t take a photo of the rings we were using. The GBBG’s were white rings with Red codes. They start with the letter P followed by one of these, :, then two numbers and a letter.  The Herring Gulls are black rings with a three digit numerical white code which we also use on hand caught fully grown Herring Gulls in Weymouth.

Huge thanks for the Harbour Authority and Terry Coombs for arranging the visit. Finally here’s a shot of the team before we got covered in gull poo!

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