Saturday, 22 September 2018

Whitehead Sannies...


      Sandwich Terns at Whitehead, County Antrim       
Ian Enlander, and Cameron Moore (twice), have contacted me, concerning their Sandwich Tern sightings, on the seafront at Whitehead.  Normally each autumn, Whitehead attracts good numbers of Terns, especially Sandwich Terns, prior to moving south on migration.  During a recent telephone conversation with Cameron, he stated that far fewer Terns, have been seen this year.

Whitehead, which is situated on Belfast Lough, provides quite easy veiwing of these birds, allowing for good photos of ringed birds.  I'll begin with Ian Enlander's sighting, as all of the other Terns, were reported by Cameron.

My thanks, goes to Ian, and Cameron, for sharing their sightings and photographs.
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Juvenile Sandwich Tern - White E54
E54, was caught and ringed, as a juvenile, by The Clyde Ringing Group, on Scotlands east coast.  According to Iain Livingstone, the Group's Ringing Secretary, Sandwich Terns, are well known, from crossing east to west at night, travelling overland from the Firth of Forth, on the Scottish east coast, to the Clyde on the west coast.

This probably explains the reason, why we get so many Sandwich Terns, crossing the Irish sea into Belfast Lough, these having arrived from the likes of the Ythan Estuary, in Scotland, the Farne and Coquet Islands, in England, and even some Dutch birds.

The distance from Blackness, in Stirlingshire, where E54 was ringed, to Whitehead, is 196 kms / 121 miles (SW).  Spotted by Ian, on the 11th September, E54, had been ringed three weeks earlier.

Sandwich Tern  -  (White)  E54  -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (11 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Fledged Juvenile, on the 21st August 2018, at Blackness, on the Firth of Fourth, Scotland)
(Photo Courtesy of Ian Enlander)

On the 5th September, Cameron Moore, recorded 6 ringed Sandwich Terns - 4 'colour-ringed', and 2 with 'metals'.  There always seems to be plenty of 'Sannies', with 'metals', but few are rarely read, so credit goes to Cameron.  Even more so, as both metals, turned out to be quite interesting.  I'll start with the colour-rings.

Sandwich Tern - Red KAN
  KAN , was caught and ringed, as an adult, at Ynylas, in Wales, by Tony Cross, who these rings are registered to.  I have emailed Tony, but as yet, he has still to reply.  Entering   KAN's   'metal' number onto the BTO DemOn Database, it appears that   KAN , was encountered in 2015, having been ringed in 2013.

The Database, does not list ringing or resighting localities as yet, so I'm in the 'blue', until I receive a reply from Tony.  Wales lies, across the Irish Sea, to the south-east, from Northern Ireland.

Sandwich Tern  -    KAN   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 25th August 2013, at Ynyslas, Ceredigion, Wales)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

Sandwich Tern - Red EZD
  EZD , is interesting, as it is now over eighteen year old.  It was caught and ringed, as a full adult in July 2000, at Seal Sands, Teesmouth, in England.  There were no sightings, until this tern was re-captured by members of the Grampian Ringing Group, at the Ythan Estuary, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

This was on the 21st August 2011, when the tern was then fitted with it's colour-ring -   EZD .  At this point, it had been 11 years, 1 month and 2 days, since being ringed with a metal.  With Cameron's sighting on the 5th September 2018, the duration now stood at 18 years, 1 month and 17 days.

I have emailed Ewan Weston, from the Grampian Ringing Group, but he is in China, so I've no idea, about the re-sighting history of   EZD , since it was fitted with the colour-ring.  Once I receive word, I'll report it in a later post.

The distance from Seal Sands, to Whitehead, is 291 kms / 180 miles (W), and from the Ythan Estuary to Whitehead, is 367 kms / 228 miles (SW). 

Sandwich Tern  -    EZD   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 19th July 2000, at Seal Sands, Stockton-on-Tees, England)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

Sandwich Tern - Red EVF
Caught as a juvenile, in August 2011, also on the Ythan Estuary, it is another bird ringed by The Grampian Ringing Group.  As mentioned above, Ewan, is in China, so I'll have to wait, to see if the tern has history of any sort.

Sandwich Tern  -    EVF   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Juvenile, on the 21st August 2011, on the Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

Sandwich Tern - Lime EJF
  EJF , was ringed more recently, by The Grampian Ringing Group, having been ringed as a chick, on the Forvie National Nature Reserve, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  At just over two years old, Cameron's sighting at Whitehead, might be a first re-sighting, since ringing.  Again, I'll have to wait on Ewan's return from China, for more details on this bird.

As in the case of two Sandwich Terns, that I spotted at Carrickfergus, a few weeks ago.  The 'Lime' colour of the ring does not show up well, especially in photographs.  These can easily be mistaken for 'White', which would cause a few problems, especially if the same coding sequence was in use.

Sandwich Tern  -    EJF   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 29th June 2016, at Forvie National Nature Reserve, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

Sandwich Tern - DB12670
  DB12670 , would easily be my top candidate, from Cameron's sightings today.  Not only did he manage to read the 'metal' ring, but the bird turns out to be 22 years of age.  Ringed as a chick, in June 1996, after inputting the ring number onto the BTO's new DemOn Database, this appears to be the first ever confirmed reading of the ring.

Ringed on Coquet Island, off the Northumberland coast, in England, the direct line distance, is 273 kms / 169 miles (WSW), to Whitehead.  The exact duration, being 22 years, 2 months and 13 days.  A superb sighting by Cameron, and duly rewarded by it's age.

  DB12670 , becomes the second oldest Sandwich Tern, that I've entered onto my spreadsheet.  The oldest, at 23 years and 26 days, was of a 'metal-ringed' bird, I recorded at Portrush.  Ringed as a chick, on the 16th July 1993, on Ogilby Island, in County Down, I read it's ring, at the East Car Park, in Portrush, on the 11th August 2016.

Cameron did not forward a full photo of   DB12670 , just one showing it's leg and part of the ring number.

Sandwich Tern - Holland NL1603
The sixth of Cameron's sightings, on the 5th September, showed an unusual 'metal ring', again on a photo showing - 'leg only'.  I contacted the BTO by email, asking if this ring belonged to a Dutch Sandwich Tern (not taking for granted, the ring started with the letters NL, which would mean the Netherlands).  A reply arrived, stating that it was a Dutch bird, and to report it, through DemOn, in the usual way.

At present, according to DemOn, the BTO, has processed the sighting, but I've yet to receive the actual ringing details.  When they do arrive, I'll publish them in the 'Ringing Details Received' section, in a later post.

Sandwich Tern  -  Holland    NL 1603   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2018)
(Waiting on the Ringing Details)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

On the 17th September, I received another email from Cameron.  He had recorded, another three ringed Sandwich Terns, two with 'colour-rings', and successfully read the 'metal' ring, on a third.  Having, now read three 'metals' of late, it just goes to prove how close you can get to the Terns at Whitehead.  The two 'colour-rings', were interesting, as these involved another two birds from Coquet Island, which was mentioned above.

I emailed Chris Redfern, who is the contact addressee for these rings.  Chris, replied to state, that the Whitehead sightings, were the first record for either bird away from Coquet Island.  In fact, neither of the two, had been reported at all from the day they were ringed, until the summer of  2018.

Both had been spotted back on Coquet,   UHF , being present from the 25th June, until the 19th August, whilst (White) UZF, was seen from the 14th July, until the 25th August.

My thanks to Chris, for supplying the info.

Sandwich Tern  -    UHF   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (17 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 26th July 2013, on Coquet Island, Northumberland, England)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

Sandwich Tern  -  (White) UZF  -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (17 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 17th July 2016, on Coquet Island, Northumberland, England)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

The 'metal-ringed' Sandwich Tern -   DE24910 , was from the Ythan Estuary, in Aberdeenshire, in Scotland.  Ringed as a chick, on the Estuaries Forvie National Nature Reserve, many terns from the area, have been spotted at Whitehead - most of which are 'colour-ringed.

Ringed on the 17th June 2010, I wondered why, the Grampian Ringing Group, had not given this young bird a 'colour-ring'.  Checking my spreadsheet, it seems as if, 'colour-rings', were first used by the Group, in the autumn of 2010.  I entered the ring number   DE24910 , onto the BTO's DemOn Database.  It showed, that the only previous sighting, was made on the 27th July 2010.

Although the DemOn Database, does not list site details, I would presume, that it was re-captured on the Ythan Estuary, by the Grampian RG.  It seems, that 'colour-rings', were first introduced there, by the Group, in August 2010.  

Sandwich Tern  -    DE24910   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (17 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 17th June 2010, at the Forvie National Nature Reserve, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

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