Ring-reading bonanza in Katwijk aan Zee – 20130915

I spent this weekend ring reading in the coastal town of Katwijk aan Zee where many hundreds of gulls were present, probably because of the high amount of food that is carried towards the beach due to the prevailing strong winds of the last couple of days.

After feeding on the beach, the gulls move to a canal a few hundred meters inland where they can preen and rest while taking shelter from the wind. It is a place where they can be observed well, so I spent 1,5 hours on Saturday and another 3 hours on Sunday reading rings and generally observing gulls.

Katwijk aan Zee, Binnenwatering, 14 September 2013.

Katwijk aan Zee, Binnenwatering, 14 September 2013.

On a few occasions, the whole group took flight, giving good views of the number of gulls present. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

On a few occasions the whole group took flight, thereby providing good views of the number of gulls present. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

This video gives an idea of the long stretch of gulls that could be seen:

Ringed Gulls

When I went out there on Saturday I was expecting to see only a handful of ringed individuals. I was pleasantly surprised therefore to return with 12 rings read on Saturday and another 22 on Sunday.

Interestingly, none of the rings that I read on Sunday included those that I had read on Saturday.

The 34 observations broke down as follows:

  • Countries: The Netherlands 23x, Germany 4x, Norway 3x, Denmark 3x, Poland 1x
  • Species: Lesser Black-backed Gull 23x, Herring Gull 12x, Nordic Lesser Black-backed Gull 2x, Black-headed Gull 1x, Caspian Gull 1x
  • Ages: 1st calendar year 21x, second calendar year 5x, 4th calendar year 1x, adult 7x.

Caspian Gulls

My highlights of this weekend were 2 Caspian Gulls Larus cachinnans: a first-calendar year on Saturday in beautiful 1st-winter plumage, and a second-calendar year on Sunday that was ringed in Poland.

First-calendar year Caspian Gull. Katwijk aan Zee, 14 September 2013.

First-calendar year Caspian Gull. Katwijk aan Zee, 14 September 2013.

First-calendar year Caspian Gull. Katwijk aan Zee, 14 September 2013.

First-calendar year Caspian Gull. Katwijk aan Zee, 14 September 2013.

Second-calendar year Caspian Gull, ringed as Yellow PKNN. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

Second-calendar year Caspian Gull, ringed as Yellow PKNN. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

Second-calendar year Caspian Gull, ringed as Yellow PKNN. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

Second-calendar year Caspian Gull, ringed as Yellow PKNN. Katwijk aan Zee, 15 September 2013.

Reacquaintances

Most of the ringed gulls were new to me, but a few of them I had seen before:

Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black JM4E, first seen at the sand suppletion activities at Noordwijk aan Zee in June:

2nd-Calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull with Norwegian ring Black JM4E, Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, 22 June 2013.

2nd-Calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull with Norwegian ring Black JM4E, Noordwijk aan Zee, The Netherlands, 22 June 2013.

Herring Gull, Yellow E261/Yellow E, a known individual which I have observed in my home town of Leiden on many occasions.

European Herring Gull, ringed as Yellow E261/Yellow E when I last saw it in Leiden on 23 July 2013.

European Herring Gull, ringed as Yellow E261/Yellow E when I last saw it in Leiden on 23 July 2013.

Black-headed Gull, White E8YX, an individual that spends the winter in The Netherlands and which showed an interesting wing pattern in March 2011.

Black-headed Gull ringed as White E8YX, seen here in March 2011, displaying interesting black marks on the alula and primary coverts. I last saw this individual in March this year.

Black-headed Gull ringed as White E8YX, seen here in March 2011, displaying interesting black marks on the alula and primary coverts. I last saw this individual in March this year.

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