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 


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     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?