After 34 years of operating on Pitsea Landfill site catching gulls the North Thames Gull Group have taken their last catch on the site. The landfill is due to close in 2018 and already the food waste has reduced considerably meaning so have the numbers of gulls. The last catch was taken on Tuesday 13th of March 2018. Fittingly the last catch included an adult Mediterranean Gull so it was nice to finish on a good bird. However, although this is the end of the field work it is certainly not the end of the NTGG. In 2008 the group decided to attempt to answer the question “what will happen to the gulls using the tip when they close”. This means that the critical point has now been reached and we can now look at some analysis rather than field work. We have decided to compartmentalise our work into three phases, 1984 to 2008 which covers metal ringed birds only. This will give us some sort of base line but given the differences between recovery rates for metal ringed and colour ringed birds the main comparison will be between the next two periods. The second period will be 2008 to 2018 which makes a neat 10 years of colour ringing. The final period will be the sightings and birds recovered between 2018 and 2023 (initially a five year period). We may then consider a further five year period if we feel we still have enough gulls marked surviving to give us comparable data.
With the closure of the tips in the Thames Estuary the North Thames Gull Group is a group with experienced ringers and canon netting kit available. After some internal discussions and links with Essex Wildlife Trust it was decided to look at the feasibility of moving the group to study Brent Geese. The NTGG although will continue as a group with colour ringed birds continuing to be seen will now become part of this new group called the Southern Colour Ringing Group which will be seeking to working on a range of projects covering London, Essex and Hertfordshire.