The UK a top vacation destination in 2011

Species: Lesser Black-backed Gull

Project: Multi-scale movements of gulls from Texel

During the 2011 breeding season, 3 gulls (FAKU, FAPP, MAPM) made brief trips to the UK in June or July.  The breeding status of FAPP and MAPM has been closely monitored, while the status of FAKU (a bird that returned with a working tag deployed in 2010) is unfortunately not known.

Gull FAKU (logger 327) left the colony on June 28 and visiting several sites along the way. On June 30 at 3:30 the bird left Rotterdam and crossed the North Sea, arriving in the UK at around 10:30. The bird flew inland stopping along the way and then spent 3 days in the Cambridgeshire area visiting, among other things, a recycling center, a golf equipment distributor and an athletic field. On July 3 at 20:22 she left the UK at Great Yarmouth arriving back in the Netherlands on July 4 at 9:00. However she only returned to the colony on July 5.

Gull FAPP (logger 534) visited the UK twice between June 27 and July 9. This bird hatched two eggs of a 3-egg clutch around June 5, but lost its poorly provisioned chicks around June 14, within a week after hatching. In late June and early July, this failed breeder spent most of its time in the UK in the Bedfordshire area and revisited some of the same sites on both trips. It also visited some of the same garbage treatment areas as FAKU although on different days.

Gull MAPM (logger 540) hatched 3 chicks around 6 June, but all three were very small and fragile from the start and poor provisioning led to an early death. Just as in the neighbouring nest of FAPP, the chicks disappeared without a trace around June 14. MAPM left the colony on July 2, travelled south through Belgium and took the shortest route to the UK of all 3 birds. It arrived in the UK on July 3 and visited some of the same areas in Bedfordshire as gull FAPP, including for example the Milton Keynes football stadium. The gull returned to the colony on July 6.

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