Gulls pouring into the Kelderhuispolder colony

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Species: Lesser Black-backed Gull

Project: Multi-scale movements of gulls from Texel

9 April 2013, Texel Island, the Netherlands

During the last few weeks, not only have Lesser Black-Backed gulls (Larus fuscus) been pouring back into the Kelderhuispolder colony on Texel Island, but data from UvA-BiTS GPS tags has been pouring into the database. Keep your eyes on the website because every day new batches of migration data are coming in. It is always an exciting period, waiting and hoping to see birds that were tagged in previous years return safely to the colony. During their absence, the only way we know of their whereabouts is from color ring readings by volunteers, often in distant countries.

Houston control, as we call our trusty base station, was set up on 2 April 2013. So far we have received data from two birds tagged in 2010, three birds tagged in 2011 and six birds tagged in 2012 (three males and eight females – see table below for more details). As we don’t have all the data off the tags yet, we can’t tell you all that’s happened since they left the colony. For a few birds though, we know they spent time in the United Kingdom, France, Spain and West Africa. As in previous years, we’ve noticed that several birds revisit sites they have been to before. Two birds (537 MAMW & 608 FARB) spent the entire winter in the United Kingdom, and actually came back to visit the colony several times. Now we’ll have to see if they settle down to breed in the Kelderhuispolder colony or keep commuting between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Figure 1: GPS data recorded 29 June 2012-9 June 2012 of the 7 gulls that returned to the colony.

Figure 2: Detail of Figure 1 showing GPS tracks between the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

The table below shows the birds with loggers that are currently transmitting data including the logger number, color ring code (M is for male and F for female), the year they were tagged and the date we first started receiving data this season.

Logger number/ring code Year tagged Date started receiving data this season
317 MAMM 2010 09/04/2013
344 FAKK 2010 09/04/2013
533 FAPR 2011 07/04/2013
534 FAPP 2011 06/04/2013
537 MACV 2011 08/04/2013
606 FARD 2012 10/04/2013
608 FARB 2012 15/04/2013
754 FAJB 2012 14/04/2013
757 FARA 2012 13/04/2013
781 MAMW 2012 09/04/2013
782 FARK 2012 07/04/2013

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