Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Beginning

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  T35J  -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim

During a visit to Antrim Marina (21st Sep 2013), on the shore of Lough Neagh in Northern Ireland, I spotted a Black-headed Gull (above), with a white Darvic leg-ring.  I started to look at the other gulls present and discovered another three BHGs with orange Darvic's.  The following day, I travelled back up to the Lough and recorded another nine BHGs with the orange rings.

Having noted the inscriptions on all the rings, I duly reported them online through the British Trust for Ornithology website.  On receiving the reports back on these birds, I learnt that 'T35J' had been ringed in Lithuania on 3rd June 2006 as a chick.  It was subsequently caught by a Polish ringer on 22nd Mar 2011 and given a new metal ring (left leg) and a Darvic ring (right leg).

The orange Darvic BHGs, were ringed by Adam McClure.  Adam is currently studying the BHGs in Northern Ireland to try and understand the collapse in their breeding numbers.  Adam's blog can be found at .  On finding out about his study, I decided to visit the Lough every Sunday throughout the winter to record the gulls to help him with his project.

During my weekly visits, I recorded a few gulls with metal rings and these included 2 BHGs from Iceland, 1 BHG from Finland, 1 BHG from England and 1 Common Gull from Scotland.  Also, numerous Mute Swans, a Jackdaw and a Chaffinch.  Thirty BHGs were noted with the Darvic rings - 29 were Adam's.

The 30th March 2014 was the last Sunday of my weekly visits and I turned my attention to the hills and other nesting birds.  From the start of August 2014, I will resume my Sunday visits to the Lough, as many of the BHGs will be returning from their nesting sites to winter here once again.

My aim in this blog, is to record on a weekly basis, what I see over the winter.  I will be interested to see if 'T35J', the bird that got me interested in Darvic's - returns.  The 16th Feb 2014 was the last time I saw this gull and I've assumed it has returned to its breeding grounds.

BHGs Being Hand Fed At Antrim Marina  (15th Dec 2013)