Sunday, 7 July 2013

Gulls, gulls, gulls we just can't say no

On Friday we donned our second strip, that of the Flat Holm Ringing Group, and head to that small rock in the Bristol Channel for the annual gull chick ringing trip. With the retirement of Gull man Brian Bailey it was down to Facey and Vaf to lead the charge an ensure the annual quota of Lesser BB chicks left the island with a colour ring and a shiny BTO meta ring.

From left to right, G-Team 2013 were: Lizzie G, Vaf, Pliers Morris, Facey,
and Fisherman Mike. p.s. this photo was taken just before we left the island.
Landing on Friday afternoon gave us some time for mist netting the islands
smaller residents; as well as an obligatory visit to the Gull & Leek, Wales'
most southerly pub. Sadly the day trippers (aka migrants) were conspicuous by
their absence. What did we catch? Mainly dunnocks but also...
... three adult lesser black backed gulls which are now sporting
colour rings. Ringing adult gulls was great experience for the
trainees and excellent entertainment for their trainers!

On the Saturday, ably assisted by Island's volunteers and members of the Flat
Holm Society we got down to the reason we were there - ringing gull chicks.
Here we See three trainees modelling different gull ringing attire. While Mike
(right) sports protective overalls and hat, Lizzie G and Pliers opted for the
"Bugger it, lets get covered in crap" look which was all the rage this season.
Pliers is rocking the backwards cap, a look preferred worldwide by stake
boarding yoofs and ringers that don't want their necks covered in gull crap
or sunburnt too much.
Vaf on biometric duties about to weigh a gull chick. This
year, we took a number of biometrics as we did with Peter
Rock on our trip to the roofs. This will allow us to determine
the sex of the birds we ringed.

And of course we had plenty opportunity to study the diet of
nestling gulls of the Rock. Here we see bacon and eggs.
We always manage to miss a chick or thousand - well you can't get them all. The chick on the right is one of the unlucky ones that did not get its own set of personalised bling. As you can see this year's colour rings are green with white lettering. If you see any please let us or Viola know.
We had a cosy trip on the way back to the mainland.

A big thank your to the Flat Holm volunteers and staff for their excellent help and hospitality. And of course our thanks to the Flat Holm Society for their help and for organising the trip.

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