Sunday, 12 October 2014

Two Exact Same Numbers...

      A Second Monaghan Duck       
I'm puzzled!  Today, I spotted another ringed Mallard (photo on right) and on looking at the number through the telescope, I knew this time it was another one from County Monaghan.  Once again, the chase was on with the camera.  Even after the duck re-entered the river on two occasions, I eventually had enough photos and hoped these were enough to piece the ring number together.

After getting home and downloading these photos, I set to work on the number.  To start with, the ring was upside down, the same as the Mallard I had recorded on the 24th August (photo on left).  Secondly, I eventually pieced the number together, only to find it was exactly the same for both birds.

Surely, these two are not the same bird!  Even after a month moulting, these couldn't possibly be the same bird.  The only solution, is that the rings must be set as standard.  I know 1500 young Mallard were released into the wild by the 16 Gun Clubs in County Monaghan (see 31st August article).  Did they all have the same ring numbers or does each club have its own numbers?

I have emailed Dan Curley of the Tyholland & Glaslough Gun Club, to see if he can clarify their numbering system for these rings.

Mallards - 00 353 862328356 - 4MN 0813 (Both The Same Ring No.)


      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
When I left home in Ballymena at 08.45 to drive up to Antrim Marina, it was a chilly 6°C and quite foggy with visibility down to about 100m.  On arrival at the Marina at 09.05, a more pleasant scene was prevalent.  Here it was 9°C, 100% cloud cover, dry and practically windless, a fair ways more pleasant than last Sunday.

There were only an estimated 40 BHGs present, though I wonder if this had anything to do with a coach load of Chinese tourists, most of whom were re-boarding the coach when I arrived.  Back on the 3rd August, I had only just arrived when a coach load of Chinese tourists, parked and they scared off the gulls while charging down onto the Marina to take photos of themselves.

When I left the Marina, very few BHGs were in the vicinity, though numbers had peaked at around 150 by mid-morning.  I recorded 18 Darvic-rung birds today, 17 of Adam's and the one from Lithuania.  Among Adam's birds was a first appearance this winter season of   2ADV  .  I last saw this gull on the 2nd February and this one now takes me to 23 of the 30 Darvic-rung BHGs that I recorded last winter.
5 gulls were absent today and again included   2AAK  I am beginning to wonder if anything has happened to it.  On checking on its appearances last winter, it was seldom absent, but you never know.

Black-headed Gulls Present Today
 2ABK   2AAP   2AAA   2AAT   2ABS   2AAH   T35J   2AAB   2AAF 

   2ADV   EY37363 (above) was originally ringed at Antrim Marina 0n 16/Dec/2013 as an adult male.  1st observed by me on the 22/Dec/2013 and last seen on 02/Feb/2014.

Black-headed Gulls Absent Today
 2AAK   2AAD   2ABF   2AAV   2ACV 


      Other Birds       
One sure thing about the Chinese, they don't frighten the Mute Swans.  8 Adults and the cygnet were present when I arrived with 4 others joining them later on.  Only seven of them came out of the water and only the one ring noted -   Z91982  .  Still no news on   Z91984  I took a few head photos of the Swans including the Cygnet, who is now becoming very apt at feeding from your hand.

These Mute Swans Are Not Camera Shy

I counted roughly 35 Mallard and the numbers swelled to about 80 or 90 as the morning wore on.  Two other aquatic visitors to be seen for the first time this winter, was a pair of Moorhens.  They stayed, picking for food around the jetties for quite a while.  A Kingfisher again whizzed by the Marina and settled on the bushes near the entrance to the Lough.  Strangely, no Common Gulls showed up today.

As usual, the Hooded Crows, Magpies and Jackdaws were always on the lookout for scrapes of bread missed by the ducks.  Among the smaller birds were Chaffinch, Starling, Mistle Thrushes and a single Pied Wagtail.

Two Hooded Crows Looking For The Leftovers

By the time I left for home, the temperature had rose to a pleasant 13°C, the sun blazing in a nice blue sky, but out in the Lough, I could see a solid wall of fog.  Maybe, the day here was on the change.


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