Audouin gull ringing 2017
At 0830 on 15 June 2017 five members of the volunteers met at the Torrevieja Salinas to assist in the ringing of the Audouin gull chicks. The Audouin gull is still a relatively rare species and we are lucky to have an important population of them in our area.
The format for the ringing was much the same as last year. We were divided into four groups each containing a qualified birdringer, a person to write down ring numbers, a person in charge of rings and two people to find the chicks. In addition, and new this year, there was a team of veterinarians attached to each group. Their function was to take blood samples from a random selection of chicks in order to measure the level of heavy metals in the chick which acts as a possible marker of marine pollution.
As well as placing a metal ring with its unique number on one leg and a Darvic ring on the other, the ringer took feather samples from some birds to measure the level of mercury (a significant poison to man and animals and another marker of possible marine pollution). The crown to tip of beak and tarsus (lower leg) was also measured in these chicks so that if we are fortunate to catch any of these birds in the future we can relate size to possible poisoning with mercury or heavy metals.
Two hundred birds were ringed in under two hours (just as well, it was getting rather hot!) and following a gift of salt from the manager of the saltworks we retired to a local hostelry for some welcome refreshment.