Sunday, 3 July 2016

French weekender

Karen and I had a quick break the weekend just gone on the other side of the Channel. Really pleasant time and so easy from southeast London (and cheap - think our wine savings paid for our Eurotunnel trip!). We stuck to the area within an hour or so west/southwest of Calais and were very nicely surprised about the small towns and decent countryside we encountered. Add to that some brilliant seafood (rarely post food recommendations on here but the Fruits de mer at La Marie Galante in Audresselles were very memorable) and a load of gulls, and I'll be back for some second helpings!

Though we stayed in Le Touquet, which is a decent resort town, the gulling is centred on Boulogne-sur-mer and the suburb immediately south called Le Portel. As this is France's largest port, I can well imagine the copious amounts of gulls present in autumn and winter but even in early July the nesting activity was massive - loads of local Herring Gulls plus it was good to see urban nesting Kittiwakes and their young.
Kittiwakes Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-Calais 3rd July 2016
Of everything else, there were a dozen or so Mediterranean Gulls cruising around - the odd one or two settling down.
Mediterranean Gulls Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais 3rd July 2016
Gull rings included three Great Black-backed Gulls from Norway, a Dutch ringed Herring Gull and three Belgian birds (two Herring Gulls and a Lesser Black-backed Gull).
Great Black-backed Gull (JC055) Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-Calais 3rd July 2016 - ringed as a chick at Lille Vigeskjær, Lindesnes, Vest-Agder, Norway on 5th July 2015,  then seen at Ameland, The Netherlands on 1st November 2015 before turning up at Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France from 27th November 2015
Lesser Black-backed Gull (UK:AB) Boulogne-sur-mer, Pas-de-Calais 3rd July 2016 - ringed as a chick at Zeebrugge, Belgium on 20th July 2012 and seen to winter in Huelva, Spain (October 2013, February 2014 and 2015); also regularly seen in the Boulogne area as well as back in Zeebrugge, Belgium on 16th June 2016
Anyway, the trip was a good excuse to get out of London after a few hectic weeks and it has certainly given me some food for thought for quick winter gull ring reading trips!  

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