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TRIP - Pitsea - 08/03/2014: In interesting day which started with a miss fire catching only 43 birds. The second set went more to plan and the fire was when we wanted it to be with a nice total of 163. The third set was waiting for something good and with an Iceland Gull around it was worth waiting to see what happened. We had a nice adult Med Gull arrive in the catching area and with good numbers in the catching area we decided to take the catch. A good day all round with a good total of 361 new and 10 retraps and controls.08-Mar-2014


TRIP - Rainham - 22/02/2014: At long last we have made our fist visit for 2014 and managed two very nice catches. A close set to the tip was beneficial and there were a reasonable number of gulls on the feed although mainly small gulls. Large gulls were noticeably absent. Dave took the first catch with a nice mix including a Yellow-leg and I took the second catch which was mostly Black-heads and a Common Gull. The second catch included a Danish control. With gulls not packed too closely together both catches were almost identical numbers. Two loads of shredded waste obviously had just enough food in to bring gulls on to feed but not a great deal and we are now really seeing the reduction in food waste at Rainham. The real value again was the fact we managed with the two smaller catches to colour mark 214 of the 217 birds. Thanks once again to the tip staff and particularly Peter and Mark the compactor driver. 22-Feb-2014


TRIP - Pitsea - 28/12/2013: Our last session of the year. This weekend is often good a coupled with the winds there were a lot of Great Black-backed Gulls on the tip. We were a little further away from the tip face than we would have preferred but the tip team did a fantastic job of getting us a load of waste and pushing it into the catching area. A final total of 202 new birds with three retraps and a single Norwegian control was good and with the single catch we were able to colour ring 189 of the 206 birds caught. Once again thanks to the tip staff for their hard work.28-Dec-2013


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Aims

The aim of The North Thames Gull Group is to study the gulls making use of the landfill tips on the Essex coast of the Thames estuary, east of London.

We do this by catching the birds feeding on the waste using a cannon net, a technique requiring a special licence. The first step is setting the net.

Once captured, the birds are extracted from the net before being marked with individually numbered metal leg rings.

Whilst ringing the birds, we take measurements and study plumage characteristics. A sample are given orange colour rings which can be read with a telescope without the bird being recaptured.

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Acknowledgements

The group operates with the excellent support and cooperation of Veolia Environmental Services which operates the domestic landfill sites and Pitsea and Rainham.

We are grateful to the Banbury Ornithological Society, the Essex Birdwatching Society and GlaxoSmithKline for providing funding for the colour ringing programme, and to Risto Juvaste for supplying the rings.

As a corporate member, Bird Brain UK Ltd also supports our work.