Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Mallard - A Result.



     ...and where have you been?       
You just never know what to expect from week to week at Antrim Marina.  I find it an amazing spot, as you just never know what will turn up next.  Last Sunday, it was the Mallard from County Monaghan, which for me 'was bird of the day'.  Today, I had another surprise.  One of Adam McClure's Black-headed Gull's has turned up.

Ringed - Orange 2ACV, I had reckoned it may have been an early casualty of last winter.  2ACV was ringed by Adam at the Marina on the 21/Oct/2013 as an unsexed 1st winter bird, (still sporting some its baby feathers).  Adam himself spotted this gull on the 29/10/2013 and I recorded it on 03/Nov/2013 and 10/Nov/2013 at the Marina.  The gulls know, the area is a good place to see out the winter, as people supply much food for the birds.  By the time I had completed my last weekly visit on 30/Mar/2014, I had not seen this one for a total of 20 weeks.  Now it is back as a sub-adult, makes you wonder where it has been and will it stay for very long this time.

BHG - Orange 2ACV on 03/Nov/2013 And Today 31/Aug/2014

On arrival at the Lough today, it was a pleasant 13°C, sunny and again a slight breeze.  I recorded 12 of Adam's study birds, 2ABL along with the above mentioned 2ACV, putting in their first appearances.  Last winter I recorded 30 BHGs carrying the Darvic rings and the 2 new sightings today takes the overall total to 18 of these 30 in my first 5 Sunday visits.  On the 3rd August past, I had mentioned that   2AAL   suffered the trauma of losing its right eye and that the socket area was very wet/weepy looking.  I had a good look at this bird today and the area around the eye has now dried up and is not looking too bad.

Black-headed Gulls Present Today
 2AAL   2AAN   2ABK   2ABL   2ADJ   2AAH 
 2ACV   2AAP   2ABF   2AAA   2AAC   2AAT 

  2ACV     EY37355  -  See above article.

  2ABL     EY37326 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 23/Jan/2013 as an adult female.  1st observed by me on 29/Sep/2013 and last seen on 16/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  With no summer sightings, this gull may well have left the area to breed elsewhere.

Black-headed Gulls Absent Today
 2AAK   2AAD   2ABA   2AAF   2AAV   2AAS 

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     Sunday's Mallard - A Result       
Last Sunday, I saw a Mallard with an unusual numbered ring.  After taking lots of photos, I successfully pieced together the whole number.  After reporting this bird online to the British Trust for Ornithology, I also sent emails to Jim Wells and Marc Ruddock about the ring.  Both of them suggested that this Mallard could be connected to Wild-fowling.  On Monday morning I had a further email from Jim.  It had dawned on him that the 00 353 was part of a phone code for the Republic of Ireland.

I left it to Jim to make contact and we indeed received a replyThis duck was released onto a lake near Glaslough in County Monaghan in June 2014, aged approximately 7 weeks, by the Tyholland and Glaslough Gun Club.  This club is one of fifteen other gun clubs that form the County Monaghan Regional Game Council, which released 1500 ducks into the wild.

I also informed the British Trust for Ornithology to let them know that we had the origins of this Mallard sorted.  Dorian Moss replied to me, much to say that the BTO were unaware of the scheme in County Monaghan and can now act on any future sightings/reports on these ducks.  Looks like everyone learnt a little from this one - a good result all round - I think!

Below are a few of the photos that I used to zoom in to obtain the ducks ring number and a copy of an email sent to Jim Wells from Dan Curley of the Glaslough Gun Club.


5 Photos of The Mallards Ring Number Zoomed In

From: Dan Curley <
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2014
To: <Jim Wells
Subject: Re: The Antrim Marina mallard.

Jim,

Yes  I  suppose  it  is  a  Scheme.  I  am  the  Secretary  of  Co  Monaghan  Regional  Game  Council.   16  of  our  Gun  Clubs  got  about  1500  Ducks   in  June.  The  Clubs  would  be  in  all  parts  of  Co  Monaghan.

This  one  was  in  a  batch  of  100  released  by  Tyholland  &  Glaslough  Gun  Club,  in  a  lake  near  Glaslough  village.

Last  Year,  some  of  the  Ducks  from  my  own  Clubs  were    also  on  lough  Neagh  near  Lurgan  (  they  would  have  travelled  25  miles  further  than  this  one  )

The  previous  Year   some  ducks  also  turned  up  in  Lough  Neagh  from  this  area  also.

We  have  been  releasing  Ducks  and  tagging  them,  for  about  12  Years  now,  usually  similar  numbers  to  above.

The  last  couple  of  Years,  there  seems  to   be  a  pattern  of  them  heading  to  lough  Neagh  (  early  in  the  Year  too  )

I  was  looking  at  the  pictures  of  the  Duck,  Gary  has  good  technology.

Thanks  very  much  for  contacting  me,  as  that's  the  reason  they  are  tagged  to  see  where  they  turn  up

Dan  Curley

Many Thanks to Dan and Jim in obtaining a quick result on this Mallard.  I shall be keeping and eye out for it now and any others that may show up.

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      Mute Swan - W34158      
Dorian Moss from the BTO also supplied details for the above swan I saw last Sunday.  This is the first time I have seen this one since my initial sighting of it on the 23rd March 2014 - along with Mute Swan W34156 - during my penultimate weekly visit.  As it turns out, both of these swans were ringed at the Marina on 17th March 2014, six days before I recorded them.  I've probably looked at them all winter, when they did not have rings.  Not all the details for these birds have arrived yet, so I have no idea who the 'culprit' is that ringed them.  If whoever it is, reads this blog - send me a hello!  Going by the ring numbers, there may well be a '57' floating about somewhere.

 ****************

     Their Heads Are Not Black!       
Over the last couple of weeks, I have had a number of people stopping with me, curious about what I'm doing.  Many, thought I was doing a count of the ducks and 'seagulls'.  On explaining to them, that I was actually looking for ringed Black-headed Gulls, some were surprised that the 'seagulls' had specific names and that these ones did not have 'Black Heads'.   I explained to them, that the gulls develop their black (actually - chocolate brown) heads for the start of the breeding season and moult out of them again after the season finishes.  Many of these people are also surprised to learn that some of the gulls, swans, etc., are ringed and I explained about Adam's study, leaving them much enlightened. 

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAR

Above are two photos of the same bird.  The first one taken on 22nd December 2013 shows the head outside of the breeding season and the second photo taken on the 9th March 2014 shows the black head going into the new breeding season.
 
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     Other Birds       
Today was again very quite for other birds.  The usual crows - Magpies, Jackdaws, Hooded Crows and a Rook - trying to muscle in on the bread.  The juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull, put in the odd appearance from time to time and a single Herring Gull was always looking to plunder the ducks.  There were less Mallard about than last Sunday and the one from Glaslough, County Monaghan was nowhere to be seen.  A single female Grey Wagtail with one of its youngster's was the only other bird of note.  A total of six Mute Swans here today, with Z91983 and Z91984 being the only ones with rings.









Sunday, 24 August 2014

What a Whopper of a Number!!!

Work That One Out!!!
Mallard - 00 353 862328356 / 4MN 0813

Probably, one of the best sightings I've had, has to be this Mallard that was present today.  Yep, believe it or not, the above number is what was on the ring and it was upside down which did not help.  I caught on very quickly, while trying to read the ring through the telescope, this one was going to give me problems - two rows of numbers and no address.  I set to work with the camera and took over 80 photos of this duck - that wouldn't stay still.

After copying the photos onto the computer and turning them upside down, I eventually pieced the number together and a mammoth one it is.  The top row was made up of 00 353 862328356 and the lower row 4MN 0813.  I used the BTO site to report this bird and now await the origins of this one.  As an ex-ringer myself, I've never known a numbered ring such as this and the result could be interesting.


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      Today's Gulls      
On arrival at the Marina at 9.05 today, the temperature was reading 12C, dry, sunny and practically windless.  Around 80 Black-headed Gulls were present and I set to work looking for rings.  By 9.50 all the BHGs had gone and for once, it was not due to people charging about and this time, they were not hiding behind the cafe.  Except for the ducks, only 1 Herring Gull and a juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull were left.

I recorded 8 of Adam's BHGs today, with 7 of these having been present at least once in the last three weeks, with only   2AAT   being observed for the 4th consecutive week.    2AAP's   first appearance takes the overall total of Adam's study birds to 16.

 2AAV   2ABA   2AAN   2ABF   2AAC   2AAH   2AAT   2AAP 
Black-headed Gulls Present Today

  2AAP     EK37311 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 21/Sep/2013 and last seen on 16/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  Waiting for a file update from Adam to see if it has been sighted since 16th March.

 2AAK   2AAA   2AAD   2ADJ   2ABK   2AAL   2AAF   2AAS 
Black-headed Gulls Absent Today

A Section Of The Marina Much Favoured By The Gulls

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     An Old Friend Is Back       
One Black-headed Gull that I took pity on last winter, only had one leg - hence the name 'One Leg'.  In the depths of winter, when food was really scarce, this gull took part in desperate scrums with the ducks, swans and other gulls to get at bread thrown down by people visiting the marina.  'One Leg' always struggled, often getting bowled over in the mayhem.

I began to encourage 'One Leg' to feed from my hand at the car window and only 'One Leg'.  Others were quick, by watching her, to try this as well, but I ignored them.  While scanning the gulls for rings last Sunday, I realised that 'One Leg' was back and climbed into the car, lifted the diced bread and held my hand out of the car window.  Sure enough, it was her, hovering beside me until I reached out with the bread, taking it, flying in a circle over the water and back to my hand for moreShe can be sure of a bite or two this winter!

'One Leg' is featured in the black & white photo in my introduction to this blog, and I have used the original photo to zoom in on her.  Notice, the other bird is one of Adam's study birds and yes, this one really does have two legs!

Black-headed Gull - 'One Leg'

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     Mute Swans       
There were no Mute Swans present when I first arrived and a total of six sailed in eventually in their ones and twos.  Ever present Z91984 was the first to arrive and soon followed by another pair including Z91983 who first appeared last week. Two of the other four to arrive in were also ringed.  Z91982, as with the previous two, was ringed by Ken Perry while working with trainee ringers at Antrim Marina on 6th September 2012 - as a juvenile (hatched during that summer).  The fourth Mute Swan ringed W34158 was seen by me on one occasion last winter along with W34156 and I haven't seen either of them since.  I reported them both to the BTO at the time, but still awaiting recovery details on them.  The BTO sent an apology email a couple of weeks ago and stated a delay in processing.  Think I'll email Mark Grantham of the BTO tomorrow and try to get a quick response on these and today's Mallard.


Mute Swans W34158 - Z91982 and Z91983
----------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Numbers On The Up!


     Update On Last Sunday's Visit       
It was my second weekly visit to the Marina and despite a lack of BHGs present, I did record 6 of Adam's study birds, 3 of which I recorded the previous Sunday.  Adam sent me updated files for the 3 new sightings and again no other birdwatchers had seen any of them except me.    2AAD   is the most interesting gull of the 3.  I last saw it on the 3rd March 2014 and it was not seen again till now, suggesting it may have left the area to breed elsewhere.    2AAF   and   2AAH   on the other hand, were recorded by me on random visits during the breeding season and may well have nested in the area.

       Today's Visit (13°C / Heavy Showers / Breezy)     
Checking my emails at breakfast, before leaving for Antrim, I had one from fellow 'Raptor Study Group Member' - Jim Wells.  He paid a visit to the Marina yesterday (Saturday 16th) and recorded 7 of Adam's study birds, which included   2AAK   and     2AAN  The former of these two, has not been seen since the 9th Mar 2014, again indicating that it had moved away from the area to nest.  On the other hand the later bird presents a problem.    2AAN   was last seen on my weekly visits on 16th February 2014, but was also seen by me on a random visit on the 11th July - hard to tell weather it moved away to breed or remained in the area.  I also recorded all seven of these among the 13 of Adam's BHGs at the Marina today.  When I arrived, there was around 150 BHGs present, similar to the first week.  Perhaps Jim will take up gull watching over the winter months, bound to be plenty around Lurgan. Thanks for the email Jim.

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAN

Of the 13 BHGs recorded today, 9 of them were seen over the previous two weeks and these are :-

 2AAT   2AAC   2AAD   2ADJ   2ABA   2AAL   2AAF   2ABF   2AAS 

The 4 new sightings today brings the total of Adam's BHGs to 15 in the first three weeks of my weekly visits :- 

  2AAK     EY37308 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and last seen on 09/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits and not recorded anywhere until yesterday (16th August), when recorded by Jim Wells and again today on my visit.

  2AAN     EY37310 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult female.  1st observed by me on 25/Sep/2013 and last seen on 16/Feb/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on a random summer visit on 11/Jul/2014.  Not recorded by any other observer until yesterday (16th August), when recorded by Jim Wells and again today on my visit.

  2AAV     EY37315 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 28/Dec/2012 as an unsexed adult.  1st observed by me on 06/Oct/2013 and last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on 4 random summer visits - 18th & 22nd April, 8th June and 11th July - strongly suggesting it bred locally.

  2ABK     EY37325 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 23/Jan/2013 as an adult female.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on 4 random summer visits - 18th & 22nd April, 8th June and 11th July - strongly suggesting it bred locally. 

Two other BHGs noted over the last two weeks were not present today :-

 2AAA   2AAH 


****************

     Other Birds       
A single Common Gull and a pair of Herring Gulls.  About 200 Sand Martins around the Marina and nearby playing fields, busy feeding on flies - probably about to migrate to Africa.  Usual crows - Hooded Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies.  Swallows and House Martins.  Pair of Wood Pigeons - darting in and out of the trees - must have youngsters about.  Quite a number of Mallard and 7 Mute Swans.  Two of these ringed, Z91984 seen on the last two visits and a large male Z91983 ringed on 6th September 2012 by Ken Perry while supervising trainee ringers.  Its age code was given as '4' which means it had hatched the previous year.  This was the best photo I could get of the ring, as the swans were not being very co-operative.

 Mute Swan - Z91983

I set the telescope onto the nearby disused 'Torpedo Platform' and counted 13 Cormorants standing drying their wings.  Numerous Black-headed Gulls and Common Terns were resting and flying about, including numerous juveniles of both species.

The Disused Torpedo Platform

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     Thanks       
I received an email from Robert McElhinney on Tuesday.  'Bob' was one of two Kayakers, who took a paddle over to Shanes Castle from the Marina last Sunday.  We had a chat about my weekly visits and the object of the visits, also the creation of this Blog.  He said "the blog looked good and to keep up the good work".  Bob and his mate have nothing to do with the trainee canoeists who again appeared about 11.30 today - meaning the gulls wouldn't settle, at least I now know to look for them behind the cafe.  Thank you Bob.

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     Also Of Interest       
On Wednesday afternoon (13th August), while checking on Black-headed Gulls feeding on the grass areas of Lettercreeve Housing Estate and the adjacent Wakehurst playing fields in my home town of Ballymena, I spotted a BHG with a white Darvic.  With much patience and difficulty, due to the height of the grass, I eventually read the ring inscription.    I took about 30 photos and was able to select these two for the blog.

 Black-headed Gull - White 21L6

I checked the CR-Birding Site and learnt that this bird was ringed by the Cotswold Water Park Group in England.  After emailing my findings, Tim Ball sent me the file on this gull and it appears to be a bit of a traveller. Of note, is its presence in Ireland towards the end of last winter.  It is then seen back at its birthplace over the summer and now with the winter months coming in, it is back in Ireland again. Many thanks to Tim for supplying the info.

File Details of Black-headed Gull - White 21L6
Date Details Location
15 Jun 2013 Ringed as a Chick Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
26 Jun 2013 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
04 Jul 2013 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
02 Feb 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Navan, Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland.
28 May 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
30 May 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
03 Jun 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Burnthouse Lane Gravel Pits, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
09 Jun 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
13 Aug 2014 Ring Read by Gareth D.A. Platt Lettercreeve Est., Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland.

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     Just To Finish       
I am starting to get used to this blogger business now.  I find it awkward, when composing blogs, that word-processor functions such as tabs are not available.  The creation of tables using HTML code, does the trick, but my problem is trying to find time to learn these sort of things.  As time goes by, I'll find ways of doing this, but it does add to the appearance, don't you think?

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Poor Showing!


     What Last Sunday Tells Us       
Last Sunday saw the first of my weekly Autumn/Winter visits at Antrim Marina to observe ringed birds, especially the Black-headed Gulls from Adam McClure's Study.  I recorded 8 of these birds and a ringed Mute Swan.  I emailed my findings to Adam and he sent me updated files on the 8 BHGs.

     There are other birdwatchers who visit the Marina knowing about Adam's Study, but as it turns out, there were no other sightings submitted for any of the pre-mentioned BHGs.  Except for   2ABA   and    2ADJ  , I would presume the other 6 may possibly have bred elsewhere and have now returned to the Marina for the winter.    2ABA   and   2ADJ  , were both seen by me on random visits during June and July and may have bred on the nearby disused torpedo platform.  All in all, not a bad start to the season ahead.

     Now For Today       
As today's caption suggests, it was a poor turnout by the BHGs.  I arrived at 09.05 this morning, the rain falling steadily, temperature 13°C and not even a breeze.  Only 23 BHGs were present and 6 of these were juveniles.  At no time did the total go over the 30 mark and for large periods of time, there were no gulls present at all.  I recorded 4 of Adam's gulls by 09.24 and had to wait till 10.38 before I got a fifth one.  By 13.00 - my departure time - not another ringed gull was recorded.  I stayed on for a few minutes more as a pair of Mute Swans arrived by the slipway and I was hoping they would exit the water, but they didn't.  On leaving, I discovered around 50 BHGs on the grass behind the cafe.  Some were lying down and others standing, but I recorded a 6th ringed BHG, as well as two I had seen earlier.

  2AAT     EY37314 was seen on last week's visit.

  2AAD    EY37305 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 11/Dec/2012 as an unsexed adult.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and last seen on 02/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.

  2AAH    EY37306 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 12/Dec/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 25/Sep/2013 and last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on a random summer visit on 22/Apr/2014.

  2ADJ    EY37302 was seen on last week's visit.

  2AAL    EY37309 was seen on last week's visit.

  2AAF    EY37319 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 12/Jan/2013 as an unsexed 1st winter (hatched in 2012).  1st observed by me on 25/Sep/2013 and last seen on 16/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on a random summer visit on 11/Jul/2014.

 The three new BHGs today takes the total to 11 individuals in two weeks.  Over the next few weeks, more of the gulls will be arriving for the winter and it shouldn't be too long before continental birds start to arrive in Northern Ireland.

Part of a group of 50 BHGs hiding from me on the grass behind the cafe.

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     Other Birds       
I was talking to a young lady by the name of Caroline, who regularly visits the Lough and she noticed me taking photos of the Mute Swans and their two cygnets last Sunday.  Apparently they have lost one of their youngsters in the last week or two, as they did have 3 young.  The small female Mute Swan from last Sunday (Z91984) was present throughout my visit and another pair joined her later on.  A line of 11 Mute Swans swam past the entrance of the Marina from South to North, but never thought on paying me a visit.

Every now and again, Common Terns could be seen and heard on the Lough.  A Cormorant could be seen from time to time diving for fish at the entrance of the Marina.  Swallows and House Martins were fly-catching along the trees, the flies obviously trying to avoid the rain.  Only the one Herring Gull about today.  Very few people arrived to feed the ducks, but Rooks, Jackdaws and Magpies were always about to grab their share.  Wood Pigeons could be seen darting into the trees, they would still be breeding at this time of the year.  A pair of Grey Wagtails with three juveniles, put in a quick appearance.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

..... And Here We Go!

It's 8.55am and what a lovely morning to restart my weekly visits to Antrim Marina.  The temperature is reading 15°C and the sun is shining, though there is a slight nip in the breeze coming off the Lough.  Around 150 Black-headed Gulls are settled along the Marina - just waiting for me to view their legs!  I estimate that 10 to 15% of these are juveniles, hatched during the summer and now independent from their parents.  Also, I noticed, for the first time ever on visiting here, there's not one swan to be seen.

 Juvenile Black-headed Gulls (BHGs)

I set to work scanning with the binoculars and telescope for ringed gulls, with 6 of these being observed by 9.14, then disaster strikes!  A coach load of Chinese tourists arrives and they piled out in their droves and rush down to start taking photos, scaring off the gulls in the process.  Gradually, the gulls started to come back in and I recorded another 2 with rings at 10.09 and 10.45.  Unfortunately for me, trainee canoeists arrived about 11.30 and the gulls never settled after that.

     The 8 BHGs with Orange Darvic rings that I did record, all belonged to Adam McClure's Study:-

   2ADJ     EY37302 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 12/Nov/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on random summer visits on 08/Jun and 11/Jul 2014.

   2AAT     EY37314 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 21/Sep/2013 and last seen on 23/Mar/2013 during my weekly visits.

   2AAS     EY37313 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult female.  1st observed by me on 13/Oct/2013 and last seen on 02/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.

  2ABA      EY37317 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 28/Dec/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 25/Sep/2013 and last seen on 09/Mar/2014.  I also saw this bird on a random summer visit on 11/Jul/2014.

  2AAC      EY37304 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 11/Dec/2012 as an unsexed adult.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and last seen on 02/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.

  2AAL      EY37309 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 21/Dec/2012 as an adult female.  1st observed by me on 25/Sep/2013 and last seen on 23/Feb/2014.  Unfortunately I noted on today's sighting that   2AAL    has lost its right eye and the socket is very wet looking, I hope its not infected.  Otherwise, this gull seems healthy.

  2ABF      EY37322 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 20/Jan/2013 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 06/Oct/2013 and was last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on a random summer visit on 08/Jun/2014.

  2AAA      EY37301 was originally ringed at Antrim Marina on 12/Nov/2012 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on 22/Sep/2013 and was last seen on 23/Mar/2014 during my weekly visits.  I also saw this bird on a random visit on 22/Apr/2014.  This was the very first gull to be ringed in Adam's study.

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ABF

The first Mute Swan appeared around 09.50 and it had a metal ring - Z91984.  I saw this bird many times last winter and it's a very small female.  She was originally ringed at this site on 6th September 2012 as a juvenile (hatched that summer), by Ken Perry, while working with trainee ringers.

 Mute Swan - Z91984 And Its Ring

Another pair of Mute Swans arrived from up-river around 10.00, accompanied by two young cygnets.  Swans are normally early nester's, but judging by the size of these two youngsters, they must have bred slightly later than usual.  Neither of the adults were ringed.

Pair Of Mute Swans With Their Young

Generally, it was fairly quite in the numbers of other species seen.  1 Common Tern on the Lough and a fly-over by a Grey Heron.  At the Marina, 1 pair of Herring Gull's, Hooded Crows, Rooks, Magpies, Jackdaws and Mallards were all taking advantage of the people feeding bread to the ducks.  A pair of Wood Pigeons fed on the grass.

The Gulls Stayed Clear Because Of The Canoeists

On my way home to Ballymena, I called by the Tesco Distribution Centre at the Kilbegs Business Park, to check if it is possible to scope the Lesser-backed Back Gull colony nesting on the roof.  I know these birds are being colour-ringed throughout Europe and can travel great distances.  However, the views from the car-park are very limited.  I encountered the little chap below running around, hope his parents know he's there, as he cannot fly yet and would be very vulnerable.

A Young Lesser Black-backed Gull Wandering The Car Park

Well, that's the first visit done, more next week.