Fall update

Guest post by Bill Clark (Appledore Gull Wrangler):

September 5, 2011 and the gull population of Appledore Island is dispersing for parts far and wide.   Gull numbers and gull aggressiveness are both quite reduced on Appledore; no longer are innocent walkers buzzed and ‘bombed’ by the nesting gulls.  After a busy summer of banding and re-sighting banded gulls, Appledore students and researchers appreciate the reduced harassment provided by the gulls.

We wait anxiously as reports of banded gulls arrive sporadically, and we hope that many observers will take the time to contact us, as Gustine Silva-Burke from Pennsylvania did, to share photos of K30 and a report.

Photo by Gustine Silva-Burke

Gustine Silva-Burke from Pennsylvania reported K30 at Hampton Beach New Hampshire on Saturday, 8/27/11.  K30, a second- year Herring Gull was banded as a hatch-year HERG on Appledore Island on July 15, 2010.

Thanks to Gustine for this report!

The ‘Famous’ Appledore Lesser Black-backed Gull

F05, and his 2011 banded chick, F07, were still frequenting Appledore Island as of September 3, 2011.  F05’s female HERG mate for 2011, K75, has not been reported since July.   F05 appears to be a very conscientious parent who is protective of his chick.

Photo by Bill Clark

The F07 chick (below) is from the nest of the LBBG F05 and the HERG K75.  The banding team placed the USGS and field readable bands on the chick on July 14 in hopes that the chick will be resighted!

Photo by Sarah MacLean

Justin Stilwell and Bill Clark with F07. Photo by David Bonter

A Bonus Breeder

To the delight of Dr. David Bonter (Cornell Lab of Ornithology) a Black Guillemot nest was discovered on Appledore and the pair successfully produced a chick. This is a ‘bonus bird’ observation that excited all the banding crew.  Sarah captured this outstanding photo of the ‘Guille’ on the wing.

Photo by Sarah MacLean

An unexpected puzzle: 

On August 16, 2011 David Holmes, veteran bander at the AIMS bird banding station on Appledore Island, reported a puzzle.  David sighted a first-year Great Black-backed Gull at a northwest ledge of Appledore Island with a GREEN band and the characters AAR in white.  No.  No, the observed band has three ‘alpha’ characters and Dr. Julie Ellis at Appledore uses only one alpha and two numerals.  This is a ‘foreign’ gull; a gull banded somewhere else.

With the aid of several persons we identified the source of AAR as Sable Island, Nova Scotia, where 50 Great Black-backed hatch-year gulls were banded in July 2011.  Good ‘old’ (really very young) AAR made great time coming more than 530 miles from home.  Appledore was apparently only a brief stop-over on a journey to some ultimate unknown destination.   See more about Sable Island at:  http://sableislandgulls.wordpress.com/

Band reports have been coming from all directions:

During May, June, and July 2011 reports include places such as Mont-Louis, Quebec; Rochester, NY; Ogunquit, Maine; and Raritan Bay, NJ.  It is interesting to note that more than 50  gulls banded as chicks between 2004 and 2010 have been seen on Appledore Island this summer, many of those from 2004 to 2007 nested on the Island.

Other band reports via the USGS received this summer were for Herring Gulls H22, T76, C61, and L91.  C61, who was seen close to Appledore Island at Hampton in New Hampshire, was banded in 2006 as an adult making the gull at least 9 years of age.  H22, at least 8 years of age, was reported at Hudson in New York in August 2011.  T76, a year-old gull, was seen at Cape May, New Jersey at the end of August this year and L91 three month old gull was found dead on the mainland Across from Appledore Island in August.

Birds like 8R6 (below) may be reported directly to the Appledore Banding project or via the USGS at: http://www.reportband.gov/

Photo by Bill Clark

The reports and photos from the many observers are greatly appreciated.  The gull banding database grows with each report and the information about gulls and their interactions with humans and the environment is slowly increasing.

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