Visit to gull colony Texel – 20130608

Yesterday I visited a large gull colony on the isle of Texel in the north of Holland, home of about 11,500 breeding pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus) and 5,000 pairs of European Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus argenteus). Since 2006, it’s been subject of a project looking into breeding aspects, foraging behavior, dispersal and longevity of these gull species. I joined the team to check upon the progress of the eggs that have been laid and to measure the growth of the chicks that have recently fledged.

Here are some of the photos that I took.

Female European Herring Gull (left), ringed as Green F.APV with partner Green M.APR. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Female European Herring Gull (left), ringed as Green F.APV with partner Green M.APR. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with leucistic primary coverts. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull with leucistic primary coverts. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

European Herring Gull (ringed as Green F.ANA) with damaged left wing. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

European Herring Gull (ringed as Green F.ANA) with damaged left wing. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

European Herring Gull (ringed as Green F.ANA) with damaged left wing. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

European Herring Gull (ringed as Green F.ANA) with damaged left wing. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

6th-calender year Lesser Black-backed Gull, ringed as Green K.NAR. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

6th-calender year Lesser Black-backed Gull, ringed as Green K.NAR. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Adult European Herring Gull, ringed as Green M.ASL and fitted with a data logger to log dispersal. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Adult European Herring Gull, ringed as Green M.ASL and fitted with a data logger for logging dispersal. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, ringed as Green F.APA and fitted with a GPS logger for logging dispersal. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Lesser Black-backed Gull, ringed as Green F.APA and fitted with a data logger for logging dispersal. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

A European Herring Gull chick of just a few days old. As part of a project to monitor growth in new born gulls, it has been weight measured (lenght of head, bill, wing and tarsus) and fitted with a metal ring on the right tibia. When (and if) it grows big enough, it will be fitted with a color ring as well. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

A European Herring Gull chick of just a few days old. As part of a project to monitor growth in newly born gulls, it has been weighed, measured (length of head, bill, wing and tarsus) and fitted with a metal ring on the right tibia. When (and if) it grows big enough, it will be fitted with a color ring as well. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Me with a young Herring Gull chick of just a few days old. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Me with a young Herring Gull chick of just a few days old. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Observed from the ferry back to the mainland: an adult European Herring Gull with wing tag Blue 6, mostly likely from a German project. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

Observed from the ferry back to the mainland: an adult European Herring Gull with wing tag, mostly likely from a German project. Texel, The Netherlands, 8 June 2013.

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9 thoughts on “Visit to gull colony Texel – 20130608

  1. Are those data loggers like radio transmitters? How do they prevent the gull from just pulling it off?

    ‘Leucistic’ – I didn’t know that word. I think that describes the GBBG I mentioned in a previous post. When her wings were extended, you could see that about 1/4 of her feathers on there were white, instead of black.

  2. Heh, trying to get a gull to wear a harness sounds like something that would leave you with bloody fingers.

    The gull I’m talking about was around my local area for about 15 years, and she always displayed the white feathers on her wings, so I doubt it was just the white bases showing through. She may even have been a partial albino, I guess. I used to be able to see her from my bedroom window most days when I was a kid.

    Hey, have you ever heard the theory that gull primaries are tipped with black because the increased melanin concentration makes the feather more hard-wearing? Not sure if that’s true, but I did read that somewhere.

    • Yes, gull ringers can be recognized by their wounded hands 😉

      Don’t confuse albinism (a total lack of coloration in feathers, eyes and skin) with leucism (a partial or total lack of coloration in the feathers only)…

      And yes, melanin does make feathers stronger which is why wing tips in most gulls are black (to protect them when folded) and why gulls from northern regions can do without it (it takes less energy) and have white wing tips. 🙂

  3. There is something called ‘partial albinism’. It’s where the animal has large patches of its body (skin/feathers/hair/everything) without any pigment at all but the rest normal coloured. It seems to be quite common in Blackbirds, for some reason.

    Considering the large amount of white on my gull’s wings, I was wondering if she was more of a partial albino…

  4. Hi Frank. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    Hey, have you ever seen an albino (or Ino) gull? I think that I may have – once. It was a bit too far away and didn’t stick around long enough to get a close look at the eyes, but they didn’t look like normal coloured eyes.

  5. Pink gulls… I’ve seen speculation on the internet about where they come from before. I know it’s been suggested that scientists dye them pink for tracking purposes. I think that bright yellow gulls are seen sometimes too. Or that some asshole somewhere is catching and painting them for fun…

    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/little-w/4712624700/in/set-72157624179413617

    Maarten’s dark grey LBBG… those colours look very uniform. Almost looks like a hooded bird. Is it not the case that there is a known ‘dark’ mutation/morph of this species? I believe that I read that before somewhere. Unless Maarten has actually seen his bird playing around in the coal dust, of course… 🙂

    e.g.
    https://secure.flickr.com/photos/little-w/5990244614/in/set-72157627189514143

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