Saturday, 8 January 2011

Gull Grabbing in Galway.


After me & Chris went to Galway in January 2010 & realised the potential for both catching gulls and reading their rings in the City harbour - the four of us have just returned from spending five days on a holiday & ringing trip to Ireland.

Arriving in Galway on Monday (3rd) we had a few things to do before we could start catching. Notifying the Garda of our presence in the harbour was important, should they’ve received any reports of 4 youths enticing birds in with bread & then catching them! So once the Garda & Harbour Master had been notified – we were all set for catching.

P1080845 Monday proved to be our most successful day with 20 gulls being caught within an hour. Tuesday was another good day with 19 birds caught. But come Wednesday they had started to get wise to our catching methods & only 10 birds were caught.


In total 49 birds were caught – 35 Common Gull & 14 Black Headed Gull.


Being in the City Centre and catching right next to an ice skating rink, groups of people often came over to see what we were doing. This allowed the perfect opportunity to tell people about bird ringing & the importance of ringing & reporting bird rings.


When not catching the birds, we focused on reading any already ringed birds. We made it easier for ourselves by ringing all ‘our’ birds on the left leg. This allowed us to easily pick out ‘other’ birds that were ringed on the right leg, thus giving them priority in the ring reading line.

Five (BHG) rings were read from Finland (1), Iceland (1), England (2) and Ireland (1).

ST238271 – Nestling – 27.06.04 – Seinajoki, Finland – 2,141km

575830 – Nestling – 27.07.07 – Breidabolstradir, Iceland – 1,415km

EX515** – Nestling – 17.06.10 – Bedfont Lakes, Heathrow - 618km

EW30311 – Nestling – 03.06.07 – Baston Pits, Lincolnshire – 589km

220P – Nestling – 16.06.07 – Lough Mask, County Mayo – 45km.

On returning back to Dublin for our flight home & after a walk down the River Liffey – we spotted another ringed Black Headed Gull.

EL86131 – Nestling – 09.06.09 – Cleveland Farm, Wiltshire – 346km.

Thanks to John Wells, Dave Harris & BTO Online for the above ringing information.

Perhaps it's worth pointing out that a separate licence is required for bird ringing to be carried out in Ireland. This is issued by the National Parks & Wildlife Service in County Monaghan.


  1. Hi Kane, I was the birder you bumped into a couple of times when you were over here. It was good to meet you, and I'm glad you were successful. It's a pity I didn't know you were ringers until the last time I met you - I would have liked to have been there when you were catching them. I think the one from Bedfont was probably ringed by one of my former trainers - David Harris.
    Have you got any plans to come over again?

  2. I love that Common Gull Kane, they are probably one of if not my favourite Gull. Then again I do like Little Gulls equally as much.



  3. Hi Colin,

    Yes great to meet you too & thanks for the comment! The bird EX515** was ringed by David Harris & the Runnymead Ringing Group! Small world isn't it! We're not too sure when we'll be back in Galway - however if you drop me a line at kanebrides'@' we can keep you posted...

    With all best wishes


  4. Hi guys !

    I can tell you where the Dutch-ringed black headed gull came from: it was ringed at 9 June 2010 as 1 out of 450 ringed chicks at the Tjeukemeer in the northern province of Friesland in Holland. Congratulations !

  5. Hi Henri,

    That's great!! Thanks for letting us know....

    Did you ring this bird?!


  6. Hi !

    No it wasn't me (don't shoot the pianoplayer) who ringed the bird. I asked for the info on our Dutch mailinglist for ringers... The official details will come to you in a while I think.

  7. Thanks for the Henri!!

    Shame you didn't ring it - would have been good to have one of your birds!

    We've sent off the details of this control - so the information will wing it's way to the Netherlands soon...

    All the best