Visiting Amsterdam for a day

Species: Lesser Black-backed Gull

Project: Multi-scale movements of gulls from Texel

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On June 28, 2010 female gull FAKV (tag 355) left the colony at 00:22 UTC, GPS and accelerometer measurements were taken every 15 seconds. She went for a quick dip in a fresh water pond, dried off on the beach, foraged briefly in the Wadden Sea and then flew to North Holland, where she stopped in several agricultural fields and in the town of Hoorn. She traveled slowly to the SW reaching Amsterdam at about 08:30. The 28th of June was a beautiful, warm, dry and sunny day (maximum temperature ~30° C, source: KNMI), excellent for spending a nice summer day in Amsterdam and facilitating soaring flight. The gull spent about 1 hour soaring over the center of Amsterdam, with a nice view of famous tourist attractions like the van Gogh museum, Leidseplein, Heineken museum and much more. She also spent some time foraging in one of the central canals (Prinsengracht). Based on the flight patterns from the GPS and the accelerometer data the gull was clearly soaring over Amsterdam reaching altitudes above 800 m. At about 9:30 the gull left Amsterdam and started soaring and gliding NNW towards the North Sea. This is a spectacular example of the flexibility in flight strategies of the lesser black backed gull, in this flight segment the bird clearly circles in thermals reaching altitudes of almost 1000 m and glides to the next thermal until it reached the sea. Gliding speeds were quite constant (45-50 km/hr). At 10:44 the bird reached the sea, floating briefly on the surface then searching for food with short bouts of floating in between. High resolution measurements show just how complex and seemingly erratic this search pattern was. At 15:30 the gull flies back to Texel along the dunes, goes for a quick bath near the colony and arrives back at the nest at 17:40.

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