First year gull re-sighted in Maine

23 08 2011

Last week David Holmes reported the first re-sighting of a Great Black-backed Gull that was banded from Sable Island.  On August 18th, a first year gull bearing the green band “AAR” was spotted on Appledore Island off the coast of southern Maine.  On Sable, this individual was banded as a chick on  17 June, 2011.  Coincidentally, Appledore is the site of another gull colour marking program run by Dr. Julie Ellis at the Shoals Marine Lab.

The veteran bird spotters that were on this trip to Appledore were baffled when they first encountered bird AAR.  On Appledore, BLACK bands have been used on Great Black-backed Gulls and GREEN on Herring Gulls with one alpha and two numerals.  So neither colour nor codes of Appledore matched this sighting of the young, banded gull.  A series of listserv posts and emails eventually brought this report to me.  Thanks for the report.  Let’s see if we can spot an Appledore gull on Sable now!

A Great Black-backed Gull chick banded on Sable Island (17 June 2011) was re-sighted on Appledore Island in Maine (18 Aug 2011).


Chick round-up

16 06 2011

By the time we arrived on the island on June 6th, the Great Black-backed Gulls had already hatched their chicks.  By mid June the chicks were getting big and running around while being guarded and fed by their diligent parents.  This is a great opportunity to catch young gulls, before they can fly, and outfit them with their own colour bands.

Chicks lay calmly on their backs as they await their turn for banding.

When their not hiding in the vegetation, chicks are running fast.  We were often outsmarted by these 20-day old birds who evaded capture by disappearing in the grass, running down and over steep dunes, and, most effective of all, swimming off into the surf.    We succeed in banding 28 chicks but they were too small to be fitted with wing-tags.

Ingrid, Susan, and Damian round up three chicks for banding.

A Great Black-backed Gull chick runs off with its new green band.