Sunday, 23 December 2012

Colour-ringed Gulls

At least one Short-eared Owl is still an attraction hunting over the local saltpans here in Tavira but the last few days have seen us giving more attention to the many gulls that have been loafing in the same area.

Mediterranean Gull

In particular, there are currently about 300 Mediterranean Gulls using the same bund every day and, of course, we’ve been reading and reporting colour-rings.  Green ones, white ones and red ones – so far we’ve been able to read 20 of them and although we’ve not yet had any details confirmed it looks as though we’ve got birds from Belgium, France, Hungary and Poland.

We’ve also managed to read a couple of Lesser Black-back rings.  One of them is a bird that was ringed here in the Algarve after being ‘rescued’ but we believe the other is from Norway and we’re looking forward to receiving confirmation.

While we were looking at the gull flock on Thursday afternoon the whole lot took flight and cleared off when an Osprey flew over, presumably the same bird that we had been so pleased to see a few days before but which now had brought to a premature end our search for rings.  Briefly, we were a bit annoyed but the mood quickly changed when we noticed that there was in fact a single gull remaining.  It was a first-winter Little Gull, not a very common bird here and only the third we have seen in the Algarve in December.

Little Gull

At a different site nearby there are still more than 100 Audouin’s Gulls, which like the Meds are faithful to one particular area day after day and therefore easy to see.  Again there are rings to be read and recently these have included several birds from the colony on the Ilha da Barreta here in the Ria Formosa as well as the usual birds from the Ebro Delta in Spain.

Audouin's Gull

Slender-billed Gulls are another story!  There are about 15 of them here currently but they seem to spend all of their time on the water with legs submerged giving only an occasional glimpse of a ring.

Slender-billed Gull

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