News

TRIP - Pitsea - 24/01/2015: A large team assembled for our second field session of the year. We were were met with a large queue of lorries although only one was a dustcart. We were given an excellent set and there were lots of birds on the tip. The tip sent us two dustcarts and when the compactor came over lots of birds were down quickly. The first catch had two problems associated with it. Firstly there were lots of safety issues with birds all over the net. Secondly the wind had shifted about 30 degrees round from the original position and when we were able to fire the net hung and we lost around two thirds of the birds in the catching area that were able to beat the net out. This resulted in a catch of 100 birds from firing on around 300. We made the decision to change the set and swung the whole set around by 30 degrees. This was more effective and although the second catch was difficult when we took it the net went out much better and the second catch was 292 birds. Huge thanks to the tip staff for getting us the only two dustcarts that came onto the tip.24-Jan-2015


TRIP - Rainham - 02/01/2015: A short notice trip to Rainham was very productive with a final total of 229 birds all of which were colour ringed. Huge thanks to the tip who were fantastic in helping us make two good catches.02-Jan-2015


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


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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.