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.


      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


     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'


     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