News

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


TRIP - Pitsea - 30/08/2014: A small team went to make an attempt at Pitsea after the week before Steve Arlow had seen over 50 Yellow-legs on the tip. We were not disappointed today and again we estimated over 50 Yellow-legs were present. The small catch was worth taking with the three Yellow-legs and with a warm day and small team it was a perfect catch and processing session allowing us to look hard at the moult in Herring Gulls and assess our ageing criteria. 30-Aug-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.