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.
This video gives an idea of the long stretch of gulls that could be seen:
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.
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.
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:
Herring Gull, Yellow E261/Yellow E, a known individual which I have observed in my home town of Leiden on many occasions.
Black-headed Gull, White E8YX, an individual that spends the winter in The Netherlands and which showed an interesting wing pattern in March 2011.