NW GULL PROJECT
Use of colour rings to study inter-colony movement and feeding/roosting sites of Lesser Black Backed Gulls (and Herring Gulls from 2002) at three sites in NW England.
The NW Gull Project, which involves ringing and colour marking juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls at the three large colonies, as well as a smaller number of adult and Herring gulls has now been running each year since 1997 with the exception of 2001. A smaller number of gulls have also been ringed at roost or feeding sites. The projectís aim is to look at the level of movement between colonies and the interaction between gulls at feeding/roosting sites as well as on migration.
The Project started in 1997 with a pilot study using green rings with a white code letter for the colony; R = Ribble; T = Tarnbrook Fell, and W = S. Walney. Between 1998-2000 black rings with three yellow letters and one number are used. The initial letter indicates the colony and is the same as that used in 1997. There was no ringing in 2001 because of the restriction relating to Foot & Mouth Disease.
The project continued in 2002 and is to continue until at least 2006, though the number of gulls marked each year will be reduced. The colour rings used are of the same type as described above for 1998-2000, however some of the more recent rings have the number in the third position, with the colony letter and another letter before the number, and a letter after the number. It is intended to analyse data based on sightings and reports from individuals, bird clubs and through national organisations like the BTO and the large gull co-ordinator, Peter Rock.
Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve: ( 53.42 N : 02.55 W or SD 3924 )
In co-operation with Mike Gee/Dick Lambert, English Nature Wardens, and SW Lancs Ringing Group, who have carried out some ringing for most years since the mid-1980ís. The site is within salt marsh near the mouth of the River Ribble and is subject to periodic flooding by high tides, which influences the level of the breeding success in some years.
Tarnbrook Fell, Forest of Bowland: ( 54.01 N : 02.35 W or SD 6258 )
With permission and sponsorship from Grosvenor Estates, Abbeystead and Mr R Banks the Abbeystead Estate manager; and Mr I Grindy of United Utilities for Brennand estates. Dr John Coulson and associates had undertaken studies and control measures at this site since at least the mid-1980ís. The colony is within heather, grass, and peat-hag moorland at a height of 450-530 metres. It is here that culling and managed disturbance over a number of years has been used in an effort to improve the quality of the local water supply.
South Walney Nature Reserve: (54.03 N : 03.12 W or SD 2162 )
With permission of Cumbria Wildlife Trust and the warden(s) of the reserve. There has been ringing of gulls on this dune site at the south end of Walney Island since at least the early 1960ís. The ringing was a continuation of work led by Ian Spence and Rob Shaw through the 1980ís and 1990ís.
Colour Rings used:
1997: LIGHT GREEN showing WHITE single letter code indicating the ringing site.
R = Ribble; T = Tarnbrook W = Walney.
1998 - 2005: BLACK showing YELLOW 4-letter/number-combination code with the initial letter indicating the site as in 1997.
Please report any sightings, including repeats, to:
+44 (0)1772 749220 or mobile 07957 265797 email: email@example.com
All responses will be acknowledged with information about the birds reported.
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