One of the main reasons for visiting the landfill site of Blaringhem, France recently was to check for the presence of Herring Gulls from the IJmuiden Forteiland colony.
Since 2014, I have been part of the team that does research in that colony and visiting one of the main wintering locations of “our” Herring Gulls has been high on my list ever since.
After 5 days of ring reading, we had discovered 3 individuals. Slightly less than I expected but it’s important data for our project to have nevertheless.
I must admit that it was very special seeing these birds in a foreign country knowing that a few months previous I was standing next to them in the breeding colony.
Female Green YBAW was the first one we discovered on our first day and we only saw her once more during that week.
I know YBAW well because her nest is prominently located in the center of the colony where she can be regularly seen standing next to her partner Green YBPT. The following images are from April this year, taken in the colony of IJmuiden (with Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the background):
Female Green YBAU was also seen on the first day as well as on the next day, when she showed herself very well. Jacob was able to make a great photo of her.
YBAU has her nest on the edge of the colony, on the north side of the island. Her partner is unringed.
The following image is from April 2016 (with Lesser Black-backed Gulls in the background):
Male YACL is a bit of a mystery bird for me because I only have seen him 6 times since my first observation in 2010. I only saw him once in the colony this year.
In France though, he stood at the front of a large group where we were able to observe him well and long. We only discovered him on the very last day though.
The following image is taken in the colony in June 2016:
It was great seeing these familiar birds in France and it will be even more special seeing them in the colony next season!