Breeding season 2015 | Lifewatch regional portal

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Breeding season 2015

During the 2015 breeding season (June-July), all birds stayed relatively close to their breeding grounds: (1) the harbor of Oostende for the European Herring Gulls, (2) the harbor of Zeebrugge and (3) Vlissingen-Oost (the Netherlands) for the Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and (4) Het Krekengebied in East-Flanders for the Western Marsh Harriers.

By clicking on the map on the right, you are redirected to an interactive map showing the breeding season of 2015. The map shows the data of Jurgen (a male European Herring Gull), by default, but you can select other birds in the map legend.

During the breeding season, different birds display different breeding- and foraging behavior. Below you can read some peculiar stories.




Meet the Vlissingen Gang!

During the breeding season of  2015, 16 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were caught and tagged at a new colony in Vlissingen-Oost (The Netherlands): Vincent (5062) (♂), Liam (5064) (♂), Vera (5066) (♀), Susanne (5068) (♀), Lora (5069) (♀), Roland-Jan (5134) (♂), Ben (5136) (♂), Luan (5137) (♀), Elinn (5138) (♀), Sacha (5140) (♂), Marwa (5141) (♀), Minke (5142) (♀), Nastazja (5146) (♀), Carla (5147) (♀), Finn (5148) (♂), and Frank (5198) (♂). And it seems many members of this Vlissingen Gang already found their way to the chips factory in Moeskroen...

For an animated visualization of the Vlissingen Gang in action, Click on the image on the left.


The UK, still a popular foraging hot spot

During the breeding season of 2015, several Lesser Black-backed Gulls crossed the English Channel to forage in the UK: Lora (5069) (♀), Katrien (1402) (♀), Harry (719) (♂), and Angel (5073) (♂). While Lora spent most of her summer time in the UK, the three other gulls flew back and forth between Flanders and their favorite foraging spots in the UK. Most likely these were all gulls without nests, so who were not tied to a fixed colony spot.

For an animated visualization of these Anglophiles, click on the image on the left.


Harry, still the most active bird

Just like last year, Harry (719), a male Lesser Black-backed Gull, did not have a nest during the summer of 2015, and therefore he went on another extensive binge trip. On his itinerary were: Southeast England, The Netherlands (as far as Groningen), Northern Germany, and Northern France. In between however, he paid regular visits to the chips factory in Moeskroen. It seems that nothing could beat these irresistible chips for Harry, not even all of the exotic tastes he undoubtedly came across during his may trips.

For an animated visualization of Harry's binge trip, click on the image on the left.


I've had enough of Oostende!

During the entire month of June, and during the larger part of July, Stephanie (6036), a female European Herring Gull, could be found in Oostende, dividing her time between her nest and the beach, with an occasional trip to the hinterlands. But then, suddenly, around July 15th 2015, she left Oostende, flew to Duinkerke, paid a visit to the waste treatment facility in Blaringhem, en continued her journey to Le Crotoy at the Boulonnais coast, where she spent the remainder of her summer. What could have happened to poor Stephanie she had to leave Oostende in such a hurry? Perhaps her nest was destroyed?

For an animated visualization of Stephanie's flee from Oostende, click on the image on the left.


I'm craving chips!

As was already noted during the breeding seasons of 2013 and 2014, the chips factory in Moeskroen seems to be irresistible, both to the European Herring Gulls as the Lesser Black-backed Gulls. The summer of 2015 was no different: several birds paid regular (and even daily!) visits to the factory. However, popular feeding spots mean huge crowds, and some birds had enough of this. Therefore they went looking for alternative, equally delicious feeding spots; and they succeeded! More and more birds could now be spotted at the waste treatment facility (Baudelet Environnement) in Blaringhem. Will this be the next most popular food hub?

For an animated visualization of the chips factory trips, click on the image on the left.


Meanwhile in Western Marsh Harrier Territory...

While last year, Jozef (610), one of the two male Western Marsh Harriers, stayed within a range of only a few kilometers around his nest, during the breeding season of 2015 he slightly expanded his foraging area to the French-Belgian border, in the vicinity of Duinkerke. Or perhaps his nest was destroyed too, and he was free to roam? Unfortunately, no more data was received for Mia (586) (♀) and Peter (623) (♂), the other two tagged Western Marsh Harriers.

For an animated visualization of Jozef's summer, click on the image on the left.