Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Appledore Island Gulls

Today I spent my day on Appledore Island to get a feel for the island as I will be TA'ing a class there this August.

Fortunately, I had lots of time to bird and check out the island. There were many highlights including helping to attempt to catch and band the female Herring Gull which has mated with the male Lesser Black-backed Gull on the island. Unfortunately, she never made it into the cage so I was not able to witness this happening.

Female Herring Gull inspecting the nest and the cage trap

This is the 4th year that this Lesser Black-backed has come to Appledore to breed. He was banded along with his mate in 2008 and they both returned in 2009. They raised two chicks one of which has been seen both in Provincetown, MA and in Brevard County, Florida. This year he is with a new mate - hence the need to band her. Dr. Julie Ellis heads up the gull research on the island and has been banding birds on the island since 2004 (with the help of students and volunteers). She also keeps a blog where you can follow the Lesser Black-backed Gull and other gulls: http://gullsofappledore.wordpress.com/

Male Lesser Black-backed Gull: first documented bird to breed in the US

For those of you who don't know... Gull babies are extraordinarily cute. The island is currently overflowing with them. This means their parents are in a very vicious stage! Here's a photo of Great Black-backed Gull Chicks:

Finally, here's a slide show of pictures from the day... all photos can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lkras/sets/72157624211302151/


Hilke Breder said...

I have never seen gull chicks, never seen a nesting colony. The chicks are really fetching and it's great to see the parent bird so solicitous and tender. Nice pics!

A New England Life said...

Thanks for the info on the island residents!

What adorable little birds. Who would think they'd grow up to look so different? I really enjoyed your photos on Flickr. Excellent shots!


cindyzlogic said...

Great Gull photos! I especially enjoyed the Gull chicks!!