PORTLAND Harbour’s first bird ringing trip of the year has taken place on the north eastern and outer breakwaters.

The bird-ringing team, led by Terry Coombs and Steve Hales, ringed 28 Great Black-backed Gull chicks and seven Herring Gull chicks.

To date, 160 Great Black-backed Gulls have been ringed on the breakwaters, showing patterns of dispersal and over-wintering along the Channel and the west coast of France.

The work has been carried out since 2011 as part of a scheme organised by the British Trust for Ornithology.

Small numbered – and sometimes coloured – rings are put around birds’ legs. This helps the Dorset Wildlife Trust identify individual birds and learn about different aspects of that bird’s species. Portland Harbour Authority has developed a partnership with local wildlife enthusiasts over the years to better understand the ecology of the life within its land.

Megan Shersby, a conservation trainee at the Dorset Wildlife Trust, took part in bird-ringing for the first time.

She said: “One of the aspects I found most interesting about this trip was that the chicks were a variety of ages. Some were in the eggs whilst some were over a month old already.

“We saw a number of eggs that were in the midst of hatching and you could hear the chick chirping inside.”

The bird ringing team will make another trip out to the Breakwaters this year, ringing the remaining chicks who were yet to hatch or too small.