I have traded the sound of gulls calling and stomping on the roof for the trill of tree frogs here at home in mainland New Hampshire, and, now that I am clean and somewhat rested, and the gull restraint bags are washed and drying on my clothesline, I thought I might write you all a line or two in summary of our banding week.
The final total was 39 adult Herring Gulls caught, bled and banded, and 5 Great Black-backed Gulls (caught on a day when we needed a dose of the instant gratification only Black-backed trapping can provide). Carly Emes, gull team member, has a post planned with all the gory details on how it’s done, so I will limit myself to generalities and mainly focus on praising the hard working team we assembled. Pictured in our official team photo: Bill Clark (kneeling), gull guru and stalwart supporter; North Shore Community College grad Sean Jeffery; yours truly, Sarah Courchesne; Sarah Chieng, soon to be official veterinary technician; Carly Emes, pondering graduate study; and Kristen “K-Cat” whom we poached from the songbird ranks for a day or so–thanks K-Cat!
F07, hybrid offspring of our resident LBBG was indeed seen again, and Lauren Kras has been kind enough to share her photo of this specimen. What do you think? Would you pick this bird out of a crowd as a hybrid?
Lauren also happened to take a photo of F07 back in 2011 when it was a callow youth alongside its dapper dad.
One final item of note: during the week on Appledore, I spent a few hours entering data from an observer who watches gulls visit his pile of deer carcasses and restaurant and butchery wastes. Bald Eagles and ravens also frequent the pile, but among the gulls are several who sport the bands of Appledore. In an odd coincidence, Davis Finch, the proprietor of the pile, lives half a mile from my house in East Kingston, New Hampshire. When I go running on unexpectedly warm winter days, when the pile has thawed a bit and is stinking, I have had occasion to curse Mr. Finch. And indeed, on hour three of data entry from his meticulous record keeping, I felt I had occasion again. But in truth, I am grateful. His sightings have shown us that some of these gulls are routinely making the commute from Appledore to East Kingston and back, a distance of almost 20 miles each way, as the gull flies. It’s a small pleasure to think that I might band a gull in the morning, and then that same bird, bands jangling, could fly right over the backyard where my kids are playing on its way to the infamous bone pile.
Now, I must go gather those gull bags from the line; the forecast promises rain overnight. This’ll be my last post for you all for the foreseeable future. Thanks for reading, and happy sighting!