Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nice surprise

When I drove home this afternoon, as I was approaching Gent, I noticed a Greater black-backed gull landing on a street lantern and immediately noted a large c-ring. GBBG's are not very common in Gent, and I had never seen one with a c-ring here, so I stopped the car and quickly took some pictures. Luckily the code was readable, and it turned out to be blue J9MN, a bird ringed in 2007 in Norway. A very nice surprise, and my first Norwegian bird in Gent too. Earlier today I had seen two of our wing-tagged Marsh harriers, I will try to put some more pictures of these birds later on.

GBBG blue J9MN (M. Helberg), Langerbrugge (near Gent).

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oostende and Zeebrugge

An afternoon visit to both breeding colonies of Oostende and Zeebrugge today, with a total of 43 rings! Many of these were juvenile birds, some of them not yet able to fly. Now I hope to see some of the young birds of today later on in autumn/winter! Sadly, also several dead birds, most of them because of traffic... Three of the dead juvenile birds were ringed, of which one with a colour-ring.

4th cal Herring gull blue CJ.AK (E Stienen), Oostende.

Adult Herring gull blue M.KAD (E Stienen), Oostende.

Juvenile LBBG blue TNA.P (E Stienen), Oostende.

Part of a colony in Oostende.

Juvenile Herring gull blue S.HAD (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Juvenile Herring gull blue SC.AP (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Juvenile Herring gull blue SBA.L (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Juvenile Herring gull blue S.AAX (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Juvenile LBBG metal Brussel L915714, killed by a car or truck..., Zeebrugge.

Adult Herring gull blue FMA.W (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Adult Herring gull blue CUA.D (E Stienen), Zeebrugge.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Last weekend I went to Vlissingen-Oost, where Roland-Jan Buijs has ringed many gulls in the previous years (and also some young birds this year), in order to see some of these birds. Not as succesfull as last year in May (when I read >80 rings), but I was happy with every ring I could read. In the nearby port I could read some Oystercatchers too, and a Belgian-ringed Herring (metal ring) was at Westkapelle.

Herring gulls in the colony of Vlissingen-Oost (Quarleshaven).

Herring gull yellow R5 (RJ Buijs), Vlissingen-Oost (Quarleshaven).

Herring gull yellow MJ (RJ Buijs), Vlissingen-Oost (Quarleshaven).

Pair of LBBG's, Vlissingen-Oost (Quarleshaven).

Oystercatcher LAM;LBON(L);RAG;RBGW(K), Ritthem (Sloehaven).

Oystercatcher LAM;LBLN(B);RAN;RBRW(Q), Ritthem (Sloehaven).

Herring gull Brussel H161237, Westkapelle.

Wing-tagged Marsh-harriers in Belgium

This year, the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) has started a research project on Marsh harriers Circus aeroginosus in Belgium, and adjacent areas in the Netherlands. For this project, young birds are ringed and wing-tagged on the nest. Until now about 55 birds have been tagged, and the expections are that we will end at 65 - 70 birds for this first year. As I am participating in this project, some pictures can be found below. More info about the project can be found at

Each bird has one tag on each wing, with different tags on the left and right wing. The colours used are white, yellow, orange, purple, red, green and blue, and the symbols (which can be black or white) are X, -, I, /, 0, 8, a full dot and a triangle. Some tags have no symbol.

The first birds have already left their nests, and are flying around, so keep your eyes open for these birds! It will be very interesting to see if some will be recored in southern Europe this winter.

Young Marsh harrier with left wing-tag visible (white X on blue).

Young Marsh harrier with wing-tag (other bird than above) with right wing-tag visible (black / on orange).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Colony of Zeebrugge

Last week I did 2 attempts to see Belgium's 3rd King eider, in which I unfortunately did not succeed. Since I was in the harbour of Zeebrugge, where our largest colony of large gulls is located I tried to read some rings and take some pictures. All birds seen were locally-ringed.

LBBG blue MMA.B (E. Stienen).

LBBG blue LZA.R (E. Stienen).

LBBG LHA.F (E. Stienen).

LBBG KY.AL (E. Stienen), this bird had a problem with its right leg.

LBBG blue DB.AL (E. Stienen).

LBBG with chicks.

Herring gull bue GDA.J (E. Stienen).

Friday, June 24, 2011

French and British LBBG in Gent!

This afternoon, during a short break, I checked a few places in Gent to see if there were any c-ringed LBBG's present. To my surprise, I soon found a bird with a large red ring, which turned out to be one of Philippe Dubois' birds. This is my first French bird in Gent! After this, I also saw a metal-ringed bird, which I unfortunately could not read entirely. However, I could read "London" (and 4 letters too), so this was a British bird, also a first for me in Gent... Also 2 birds from Roland-Jan Buijs his project, including 1 new one.

LBBG red 254N (P. Dubois), my first French bird in Gent. These rings are not the easiest to read...

LBBG blue 1N (RJ Buijs), my first observation this year (I saw this bird 3 times last spring).

LBBG red VH (RJ Buijs), a new bird to me.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Back again!

After several weeks without ring-reading I finally found some time again to look for some c-ringed gulls. I went to the harbour of Oostende, where I ran into Davy Bosman, who was checking some of the nests he is studying. I could join him and visit the roof-breeding colony, great to see these birds there (and also some of the first freshly-ringed chicks)! After this I tried to find some more rings, and managed to get 18 ringed birds in total, all from Belgium (12 c-rings and 6 metal rings), and quite a few of them new birds for me. The breeding LBBG's looked very nice, good to be back at the c-rings :-)

ad Herring gull blue AVAK (E. Stienen), this one apparently was in rather poor condition. It was ringed as a chick in 1999.

ad Herring gull blue MWA.Z (E. Stienen), near it's nesting site.

4th cal Herring gull blue CLA.V (E. Stienen).

ad LBBG blue HYA.F (E. Stienen).

ad LBBG blue GSA.B (E. Stienen).

ad LBBG blue DNA.N (E. Stienen).

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Still new arrivals

This afternoon I was able to read 8 c-ringed LBBG's, which is a nice number for here. 3 birds were new ones for this year, but I had seen all of them in previous springs. The following birds were seen:

white J.J
white U.1 (first time this year)
white F.G
red PC (first time this year)
red E4
red LF
blue HF
blue 82 (first time this year, I didn't see this one last spring, so today was a nice surprise).

LBBG blue 82 (RJ Buijs - F Roels), only my second observation, previous one was March 29th 2009, exactly 2 years ago :-)

LBBG white U.1 (RJ Buijs), first observation this year, last spring I saw this bird 4 times between April 4th and May 2nd (this last observation was made in one of the breeding colonies in Vlissingen).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lots of LBBG arriving

Today I had only little time and made a short trip to some of the best patches in Gent. Many LBBG's present, and lots of new rings. In total I managed to read 8 of them (all from RJ Buijs), of which 3 were new ones:
white J.J
white U.U
white F.G
red E4
red EB
red HY
yellow 8Y
blue 22

Also nice was that Black-headed gull yellow EHNP (T Audenaert - G Spanoghe) was still present, I hadn't seen that one since the end of January.

I also visited the breeding colony of Black-headed gulls at Molsbroek, Lokeren, where I saw one c-ringed bird, yellow EEEY (locally ringed, 2 years ago).

Black-headed gull yellow EHNP (T Audenaert - G Spanoghe), Gent.

LBBG white U.U (RJ Buijs), my first observation of this bird.

LBBG red HY (RJ Buijs), present at exactly the same spot as last year.

LBBG yellow 8Y (RJ Buijs), also present here last year.

Red squirrel, Molsbroek Lokeren.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New arrivals

Yesterday, on a trip through Gent, I was very pleased to find several newly-arrived LBBG's, of which a few are well known to me. The first c-ringed bird however was a Belgian-ringed Herring (blue M.LAF), a very nice sighting since this is only the 2nd time I see a bird from this project here, most of them seem to stay closer to the coast. Later on I found 7 c-ringed LBBG's, all from RJ Buijs: blue HF again, blue GF (new bird to me), red MT (6th sighting, and 3rd spring in a row), white K.P (new), red E4 (12th sighting, 3rd spring here), and the pair red LF (18th sighting, 3rd spring) and white M.8 (12th sighting, 3rd spring).
With warmer weather expected the following days, more birds will probably arrive.

2nd cy Herring gull blue M.LAF (E Stienen).

LBBG red MT (RJ Buijs), with unringed partner.

LBBG's red LF and white M.8 (RJ Buijs).

LBBG blue GF (RJ Buijs - F Roels).

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3 more rings

Another short tour around my patches in Gent, on which I could read 3 rings: Black-headed gull white VSH again, but finally close enough to get decent pictures; LBBG blue HF (the 12th time I see this one, and the 3rd spring I see it here, I last saw it on July 7th last year, it hasn't been seen since then); and finally Herring gull yellow W3 (my first sighting). Very enjoyable again, I hope to find time to look for more c-ringed birds in the next weeks.

Black-headed gull white VSH (TK Pedersen-, still present on its wintering location.

LBBG blue HF (RJ Buijs & F Roels), the 3rd spring I see this one here.

Herring gull yellow W3 (RJ Buijs), my 1st observation of this bird.