Saturday, December 25, 2010

Some winter birds

Due to snow and frost in many parts of Europe, many birds seem to be on the move. Today in Gent, I found 2 Common merganser Mergus merganser, the first time I see them so close to the city. Also 1 black-ringed Black-headed gull, but it flew away before I could read it...

A few weeks ago I could also take some pictures of a large flock of Twite Carduelis flaviristris in the Zwin near Knokke (59 birds, the largest group I have ever seen overhere), and I paid another visit to the Black-thorated thrush (which is still present).

1st cy Common merganser, Gent.

Part of the flock of Twite, Knokke.

1st cy male Black-throated thrush, Loppem.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

GBBG from Denmark

Another day in and near the harbour of Oostende, where surprisingly few gulls were present. I only saw 6 ringed birds, but they included some nice ones. 3 Herring gulls were all well known birds, but a c-ringed Greater black-backed gull with black ring JW209 turned out to be ringed in Denmark instead of Norway, a nice surprise! I could also read 2 metal-ringed Black-headed gulls, 1 from Belgium and 1 from the Netherlands. By entering this ring into the Dutch website ( I already got the ringing details, it was ringed as a nestling last year at Starrevaart near Den Haag.

1st cy Greater black-backed gull black JW209 (NH Lorenzen), ringed in Denmark.

ad Herring gull blue MWA.Z (E Stienen).

ad Herring gull blue KP.AM (E Stienen).

3rd cy Herring gull blue C.FAR (E Stienen).

2nd cy Black-headed gull with Dutch metal ring.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Black-throated thrush!

Ok, this is not about gulls or c-rings, but such a great bird that I wanted to post it anyway. Today news came out that a Black-throated thrush was present in a garden in Loppem (near Brugge) this morning, so I immediately went to look for it, and with success! Everyone who was there had good views of the bird, the first twitchable for Belgium! Since it was dark weather and already getting late, not the best pictures, but they give an idea :-)

Black-throated thrush, Loppem.

Black-throated thrush, Loppem.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Just 2 Dutch Herrings

Short trip today (with all the snow and ice melted away overnight), which resulted in just 2 c-ringed Herring gulls, both Dutch birds: yellow N1 (RJ Buijs) and yellow E171/E (N van Swelm). Nice to see this one again, my only previous observations are from 10 and 11 May 2008, more than 2 years ago! Bad digiscoping-pictures because they were too far away...

ad Herring gull yellow N1 (RJ Buijs), regular winter bird here in Gent.

4th cy Herring gull yellow E171/E (N van Swelm), my first observation since May 2008.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Nice rings, no pictures...

With all the snow today, I decided to make a trip to my local patches without my camera. Not a good idea, because lots of birds around. Since most of the water was frozen, I could scan lots of gulls, which resulted in some nice observations.

The first bird to be seen was Danish Black-headed gull white VSB (KT Pedersen), present now for its 3rd winter here. This is my first observation this winter, last time I saw it was on 21/11/2009.

Next was yellow EHNP (T Audenaert and G Spanoghe) at the Tolhuisbrug, a Belgian bird also seen last week. There I could also read two metal-ringed Black-headed gulls: one from Belgium and one from Slovakia! Also present was white VSH (KT Pedersen), the other Danish bird wintering here, and Herring gull orange 09 (RJ Buijs), only my second observation (previous one was on 11/07/2009).

Finally I also saw my first-ever c-ringed Common gull: green CL42, which turned out te be a bird from Finland. A picture made by G Spanoghe can be seen here:

Also around were 2 flocks of Northern long-tailed tits (5 and 3 birds), always nice to see these! Let's hope the weather is a bit better tomorrow, so I can get out with my camera.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Freezing cold

With the first snow, winter has now officially started. A perfect day to go to the coast I thought, but after about 2 hours (in which I managed to read 10 c-ringed Herring gulls, 8 Belgian and 2 Dutch birds) it was really getting too cold to stay there, so I decided to go and watch a flock of northern Long-tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus caudatus) that has been hanging around for some weeks in Nieuwpoort (a major invasion of this attractive subspecies is taking place this autumn). Also there where 2 more ringed Herring gulls. Later on, a search for the wintering White-tailed eagle only resulted in two flocks of Grey partridge close to the car.

2nd cy Herring gull blue MBA.R (E Stienen), Nieuwpoort.

2nd cy Herring gull metal ring Brussel H16446x. Note the difference in bill and iris colour on both birds.

Northern Long-tailed tit, Nieuwpoort.

Grey partridge, near Oostende.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

More Black-headed gulls

Another trip in Gent today (where winter is really starting now with temperatures near to freezing during the day), and I was very happy to read 6 rings, of which 3 were new ones. First, I saw the locals Black-headed gull yellow EHNE (T Audenaert and G Spanoghe)(my 3rd observation this autumn of this locally-ringed bird) and Herring gull yellow N1 (RJ Buijs)(the 3rd winter I see this bird here, 2nd observation this autumn).

Then, a nice surprise when I found another Belgian-ringed Black-headed gull, yellow EHNP (T Audenaert and G Spanoghe). Later on, I could even read two metal-ringed Herrings, one Belgian and one Dutch bird!

Finally, I noticed another c-ringed Black-headed gull, this time with a white ring. First it flew away, but I could it again and (as I expected) it turned out to be the Danish bird white VSH (KT Pedersen), a bird which I saw there last winter too! Unfortunately no pictures of this one yet, it flew off not to be seen again. It will probably stay for the winter however, last winter I saw it twice, in December and January. It was ringed in March 2008 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Black-headed gull yellow EHNP (T Audenaert and G Spanoghe), ringed this summer, released from rehabilitation centre at the same place as EHNE, so another local bird.

1st cy Herring gull Arnhem 6.166.48x, details awaited.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lithuanian Black-headed gull

Today on just a short excursion to my regular patches in Gent, I saw a lot of Black-headed gulls were present, so I was hoping for at least one ring. And after scanning 200+ birds, I finally found one, black P661, a bird which - according to cr-birding - should come from Lithuania! This is my first ring-reading from Lithuania, so I was very happy with this bird. Also, the locally-ringed bird yellow EHNE was present at the same place.

Also, one of the mystery gulls from yesterday at Le Portel (the Herring gull) has already been solved (thanks to C Duponcheel and RJ Buijs). It appears this is a bird ringed by Norman van Swelm in the Netherlands in 1997, and the original ring was orange RE7.

Black-headed gull black P661 (V Pareigis and F Majoor), ringed in Lithuania (details awaited).

Black-headed gull yellow EHNE (G Spanoghe and T Audenaert), ringed in Gent, my second sighting of this bird. A better picture of this bird can be found here:

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Le Portel

Today I went to Le Portel to find some c-ringed gulls (never a problem there :-)) and to test my new camera. I'm quite happy with some of my pictures, although I will have to practice a lot more. Lots of gulls present, and at the end of the day I ended up with 125 different c-ringed birds, of which 97 were Mediterranean gulls. As usual mainly Belgian and French birds, but also a few from Germany, Poland and Hungary.

Other species were represented as follows:
Herring gull: some Belgian, French, Dutch and British (1) birds.
Greater black-backed gull: several Norwegian birds, but also one from the Helgoland-project.
Lesser black-backed gull: only 1 c-ringed bird, from Belgium
Black-headed gull: 3 locally-ringed birds, but also one from the Netherlands (Frank Majoor).

Also 2 mystery c-ringed birds, if someone has an idea, let me know!

Mediterranean gull white 34T6 (R Flamand).

Mediterranean gull green R07L (C Duponcheel).

Mediterranean gull green R03V (C Duponcheel).

Mediterranean gull.

Black-headed gull black R00S, a locally-ringed bird (C Duponcheel).

Herring gull green Y.ACL (K Camphuysen).

Herring gull yellow S0 (RJ Buijs).

Herring gull yellow 5W, a resident in the harbour of Boulogne-sur-Mer (RJ Buijs).

Herring gull KL A (JP Leys).

Mystery Herring gull, ring probably bleached...

Mystery Greater black-backed gull, two plastic flags (clip-ring type) on its tibia, no metal ring...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Caspian from Poland!

Another update from the past two weeks. Absolute highlight was a c-ringed Caspian gull from Poland (waiting for details). Other nice birds included several Greater black-backed gulls from Norway, and a Dutch metal-ringed bird. Finally, in Gent, I found another (unringed) Caspian gull, and saw LBBG white H.K (RJ Buijs) again (one of the few remaining LBBG's here, most of them seem to have moved south). Also, Herring yellow N1 (RJ Buijs) is back for the winter, on almost exactly the same date as last year.

Caspian gull yellow PDBS (Polish bird, details awaited). Crappy picture, but a great bird! My best ring of this autumn so far!

Caspian gull, Leeuwenhof Gent. On both birds, the long legs (mainly tibia), slender bill and the little dark eye can be seen. On the second one some of the neck-streaking is just visible. Easy birds if they come like this!

Herring yellow 81 (RJ Buijs), Niewupoort.

Herring yellow N1 (RJ Buijs), Gent. Back for the winter, now at least for the 3rd time!

Herring blue MZA.P (E Stienen), Nieuwpoort.

Herring blue MH.AC (E Stienen), Oostende.

Herring blue FWA.V (E Stienen), Nieuwpoort.

View on the beach of Blankenberge (without gulls).

Long-tailed duck, Oostende. I went to see this bird, only a few are seen in Belgium every year, I just love these birds.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Two rings in Gent

Last week I searched for rings in Gent, and found 4 of them. 1 Belgian metal-ringed Black-headed gull, 1 Polish (unfortunately I couldn't read the ring entirely), 1 Belgian c-ringed Black-headed gull (locally ringed, but strangely this bird is still in Gent, while most other recoveries now come from abroad), but the nicest was LBBG white H.K (RJ Buijs). When I recieved the life-history, I saw that this bird had originally been ringed in Spain as orange N144, which I saw at exactly the same place in May 2003 (and this was only my second ring-reading ever!). Nice to see this one back, this bird is now 14 years old.

LBBG white H.K (RJ Buijs), originally ringed in Spain in 1998, and seen again at the same place as in 2003!

Black-headed gull yellow EHNE (G Spanoghe), ringed close to the recovery-site, but nonetheless a nice sighting.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Lots of rings

The past two weeks have been very busy, with many c-ring read. Apart from many (mainly local) Herring gulls, good numbers of LBBG's are passing through at the moment, resulting in some nice rings. Below I give a short summary of the rings from the past weeks:

Belgian: 66
Dutch: 16
French: 1
British: 1
Total: 84

Belgian: 12
Danish: 6
Dutch: 6
German: 2
British: 1
French: 1
Norwegian: 1
Spanish: 1 (wingtag)
Total: 30

Norwegian: 5
Total: 5

Some days 100's of LBBG's were present, so still many birds have to get to their wintering grounds, all Spanish ring-readers can expect lots of birds to arrive within the following days/weeks!

And now some pictures:

Herring yellow 5B (RJ Buijs).

Herring yellow 16 (RJ Buijs).

Herring blue PSA.Y (E Stienen).

Herring blue MZA.Z (E Stienen).

Herring blue MH.AC (E Stienen).

Herring blue M.FAC (E Stienen).

Herring blue HCA.B (E Stienen).

Herring blue FX.AC (E Stienen).

Herring black/white PN A (JP Leys).

LBBG red 903N (PJ Dubois).

LBBG green Y.AKU (K Camphuysen).

LBBG blue G4 (RJ Buijs).

LBBG black E0 (RJ Buijs).

LBBG white TS8 (N van Swelm).

LBBG yellow V977 (KT Pedersen).

LBBG yellow V1PM (KT Pedersen).

LBBG blue V.E3F (KT Pedersen).

LBBG blue V.830 (KT Pedersen).

LBBG white wingtag H (Spain).

LBBG yellow H.595 (S Martens).

LBBG yellow H.249 (S Martens).

LBBG (intermedius) blue JN38 (N Lorentzen).