TRIP - Pitsea - 06/12/2014: A cold day with a hard frost meant there were lots of birds on site. The first load of waste did not seem to have a lot of food but soon a dustcart bought in a good load and soon birds were down. Great work from the compactor driver meant we were soon able to take a catch. We re set and with only a few more Herring Gulls to do there was the possibility of another catch which we elected to take. The final total of 567 birds caught of which 451 were colour ringed was a fantastic day.06-Dec-2014

TRIP - Pitsea - 15/11/2014: A difficult day again. Mild weather and lack of food meant little feeding going on although there were good numbers of birds on the tip. Excellent work by Alan the compactor driver resulted in a catch being able to be taken of just over 200 birds.15-Nov-2014

TRIP - Pitsea - 27/09/2014: A warm day which was difficult to take a catch of any size. The birds agreed and for the first three hours we only had two birds in the catching area! After some excellent work by Alan the compactor driver the birds worked out that the tip was about to close and we went from no birds to pretty much all of them! A lift was required and it was not long before the flock obliged and much smaller numbers returned enabling us to take a catch of a decent size. Final total was 104 birds which were processed and released quickly and efficiently.27-Sep-2014

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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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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.