Thursday, 23 February 2012

Meeting ‘Mr Black-headed Gull!’

So from Croatia we flew to Holland after being invited by Frank Majoor to stay with him in Arnhem. Frank is probably best known for his work on Black-headed Gulls and for his dedicated work on monitoring the survival of species through RAS projects.

We arrived in Hilversum after a pleasant flight to Schiphol & no sooner had we met Frank he got us to work as we helped him to read hundreds of rings (both metal & cr-rings)! A very large percentage of gulls in the flocks we saw carried rings (now knowing why they call Frank ‘Mr Black-headed Gull’!), reading rings kept us very busy for hours on end! Quoting Ciaran ‘‘I’ll go to bed tonight with the sound of BHG ringing in my ears & numbers flying all over my head!’’

and if you want a Black-headed Gull’s eye view of two ring readers….

But of course we also visited Frank to learn of his trapping methods. Frank & Jeroen catch gulls mainly by using nooses which allows them to ‘select’ birds that are of particular interest to them. For example any metal ring only birds that we sighted, where the metal ring came from a different country – then this bird would be ‘targeted’ to add a colour ring to the bird. We were rather impressed to have the birds in our hands within minutes of Frank sighting the birds! During our last day Frank had captured 4 Swedish metal rings only – therefore adding a colour ring to the bird for easier identification within the field.



A Finnish ringed gull, now complete with colour ring!

During our last day in Holland we set off rather early to the North to see both American Herring Gull & a Glaucous Gull (Nice to catch up with my friend Otto de Vries here!) before travelling to Amsterdam for the day. The plan for the day was to tour around several parks in Amsterdam to ring read & to carry out some catching. So keeping in with true Dutch fashion with hired bicycles for the day! Pleased to report that we both left the Netherlands unscathed, but we did have one or two close encounters with nearly crashing into the locals!


Throughout the day we caught 53 new Coot, several Black-headed & Common Gull, Moorhen & a Grey Heron!!


Good to see & colour ring a few Coot!



Ciaran with the Grey Heron (most impressed with this capture we were!) note him keeping the birds head well held, for obvious reasons!


A number of Common Gull also colour-ringed.


& colour ringed Egyptian geese as part of one of Frank’s many RAS projects!


A white Black-headed Gull – colour ringed of course!!


& perhaps ‘bird of the day’ goes to this Caspian Gull! Which is now sporting a colour ring!


Frank & Ciaran reading rings on the ice! Ice is very useful!!

Both Ciaran & I left the Netherlands learning so much from Frank & Jeroen. We’d like to thank them both for having us along, we enjoyed our stay very much – being in the company of Frank & receiving first class hospitality by ‘Mr Black-headed Gull’!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome video of the bhg`s, what is it you feed them whit there? :)