Champions of the Flyway!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

colour-ringed gulls in Hackney

colour-ringed adult male Black-headed Gull, White TAMM, Stoke Newington Reservoirs, 24th Nov 2010. Ringed on a reservoir in central Poland at the end of May this year, and the first control of this bird to date

It's late November, and pickings are traditionally a little slim of late (although with luck that may be set to change with the harsh conditions continuing). However, the growing ranks of gulls on the East Reservoir here in Hackney at this time of year inspire a second glance, for good reason.

Whilst not a substantial roost site, the reservoir attracts plenty of Larids, not least in the hours either side of darkness - pre-roost gatherings are especially numerous, and twilight here is soundtracked by a raucous chorus more akin to a seaside town. The reservoir is on a direct flightline to and from the huge roost(s) in the upper Lea Valley, and many birds drop in the bathe, feed and loaf before heading north-east.

colour-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull, red HBOT (right, pictured with hybrid LBB x Herring Gull, left), SNR, 28th Oct and 6th Nov 2010. Ringed Pitsea, Essex on 1st Nov 2008; controlled twice in Galicia, north-west spain, January 2010.

Colour-ringed birds have been especially evident over the last few weeks, and while several have unfortunately gone unread, I've been able to read / photograph the majority. It's an aspect of local birding which is truly fascinating, and an aspect of ringing which is non-exclusive (or indeed intrusive beyond the initial capture of the bird).

colour-ringed adult male Black-headed Gull, white UWN, SNR 18th Nov 2010. Ringed Copenhagen, Denmark, 19th March 2008, and the first control of this bird since ringing

colour-ringed Lesser Black Back, red MH2T, SNR 19th Nov 2010. Ringed Rainham landfill, east London, 12th Sep 2009, first control since ringing.

It's been a pleasure to receive details quickly via EURING and also to discover programmes close to home responsible for several of our controls, notably the North Thames Gull Group. With a little optical magnification and the black magic of the internet, I know for sure that, within the last couple of weeks, I've had visitors from Poland, Spain, Essex, Norway and Denmark. London may suck royally in a multitude of ways, but at least it's multicultural.

colour-ringed Lesser Black-back, red A05, SNR 14th Nov 2010. A mystery thus far....

colour-ringed Common Gull, SNR, 19th Nov 2010. Awaiting full details, but we know it's from Norway....

(Daily updates, as always, at Hackney Wildlife)