18 June 2014

A day of gull coincidences

Yesterday two of us had a nice day out at the seaside, eating ice creams in St Ives. Well when I say eating ice creams I mean tempting in a few food-snatching gulls to drop a hand net over. Three ice creams and a bit of sandwich later and we'd ringed and, more importantly, colour-ringed 10 Herring Gulls. It proved to be quite a spectacle on the packed prom and beach of St Ives, with small crowds of tourists and locals gathering every time we struck - good PR but a bit nerve-wracking!

Some birds didn't seem overly worried by the whole affair, with the first bird we ringed back in the same spot 30 minutes later chasing other gulls off his patch. But after an afternoon along the same strip of prom it did become strangely gull-free, so obviously word had spread of what we were up to.

Blue W186 back on territory by Rod's Deckchairs on the prom

Leaving St Ives, we headed south towards Nanceldra where we knew that some of our GPS data-logger gulls hang out. One favourite spot is the largest dairy farm in the area, with roofs full of gulls and crows. As we passed another favourite field we noticed a bird with unusually rather fat legs sat on a telegraph pole. A rapid stop in the middle of the road later and we could confirm this was W:182, a nesting female ringed by us in May.

Spot the fat-legged gull
A slightly better digi-scoped view of W:182,
though you can't quite see the backpack-mounted data-logger
We then continued on to another area where birds have recently been seen, and speaking to the owners they confirmed that there had been lots of mowing recently which is what the birds have been homing in on - mowed rodents! Bizarrely they even knew of the tagging project through friends who own the B&B we stayed in back in May in St Ives!

But an even more bizarre coincidence was that this same couple had found one of our Barn Owls dead last year and promptly popped into the house and presented us with the ring back! They also knew the owner of the farm where we ringed the bird two years ago and while we were there it seemed rude to not check their three owl boxes, but sadly no birds.

So a very crazy afternoon of coincidence and certainly worth the minor injuries sustained diving after gulls on the prom...

Knuckles are over-rated anyway


  1. W186 still hanging round Rods Deckchairs. Took a picture of him a couple of days ago.

  2. Excellent, thanks for the record Ian and he is a bit of a regular there!

  3. W186 is still by rods deckchairs! 11/04/17 just been looking on euring website to report but couldn't find blue starting with W so Googled and found this!

  4. It generally doesn't wander far, but further sightings are always useful! It did wander a bit last autumn, seen on Hayle estuary on 21st August and 11th September.