A blog by Paulo Lago The first week of April the BirdLife Malta research team went to Filfla to take the annual Yellow legged gull (Larus michahellis) census. Filfla is the most important site breeding site in the Maltese islands for Yellow legged gull. Since 1982 Filfla has been visited yearly to monitor the Yellow legged gull’s colony.
Yellow Legged Gulls (Larus michahellis) flying around in Filfla plateau
Yellow Legged Gull (Larus michahellis) in Filfla plateau
The team reached the plateau of the island in a helicopter provided by AFM (Armed Forces of Malta). Gull nests were mapped with GPS on the plateau and regurgitates samples were collected.
Filfla island seen from the AFM helicopter.
Nest were found all around the plateau on the ground. In general every nest has two or three eggs. At this time of the season the majority of gulls are incubating the eggs in the nest. But some eggs were already hatched and some small chicks can be seen.
Nest of Yellow legged gull (Larus michahellis) with three eggs. Notice the egg on the right is in the process of hatching (small hole on the top).
Nest of Yellow legged gull (Larus michahellis) with one egg in the process of hatching and one chick.
Late in the season the BirdLife team will come back to the Filfla plateau to count and ring the Yellow legged gull chicks. Then we will know how many eggs hatched successfully.
– Paulo Lago
Project team leaving the Filfla plateau.
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