|Today's Black-headed Gulls|
I arrived at the Marina at 09.05 and once again there was a strong westerly wind blowing in from the Lough. Although not quite as strong as last Sunday, it was still quite chilly. The ground was drying out, after overnight showers and there was a 50/50 mix of blue sky and clouds. The temperature was 12°C, but sunny intervals did not make it any warmer.
Around 80 BHGs were practically all on the ground facing into the wind. Small groups were actually flying in, as I started searching for ringed birds. So far this winter, I have recorded 25 out of the 30 Darvic-rung BHGs that were present last winter. By 09.35, I had noted 21 of these (in 30 minutes). Remember, 2AAK was the bird that turned up last Sunday after being AWOL for 9 weeks and it just happened to be the first, to be seen today.
Black-headed Gulls On The Ground Facing Into The Wind
The high-light amongst these Gulls was the first appearance of 2ACX . I first recorded this one, on the Sunday 27th October last winter. But for some reason, I thought that this was its arrival date and this is why I thought it was due again now. I never even thought to check on the file Adam emailed to me, at that time. It was not until I looked at it this evening, did I realise, that Adam had ringed it on Monday 21st October, last winter. In this case, there was no way of knowing when it actually did arrive.
Perhaps, its arrival today, actually mirrors its appearance last winter, meaning Adam ringed it, around the corresponding date of its arrival. Anyway, 2ACX is now the 26th Darvic to be recorded so far this winter. Of the 4 birds, still not recorded, the only one I have high hopes for is 2AAJ , another of Adam's long distance BHGs, that was last seen in England. I only saw this bird once last winter and that was on the 15th December. I have a feeling, that this one only uses Antrim as a stop-over. I'll be on the hunt for this one now, though it may be possibly a few weeks away from turning up.
Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ACX
Black-headed Gulls - Orange 2AAP & Orange 2AAV
Black-headed Gulls Present Today
Today's Only Absentee
1 Adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and 3 Common Gulls were present when I arrived, with an additional 4 Common Gulls and a first winter Common Gull present later. No sign today of the Scottish-rung gull. An aggressive 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull harried the Black-headed Gulls for about 5 minutes mid morning before moving on.
An estimated 40 Mallard grew in numbers to around 80 and I saw the male Monaghan Mallard 4MN 0813 several times throughout the morning. A single Moorhen was spotted on the long jetty at 12.50, just before I left for home.
A single un-rung Mute Swan was present at the start, soon to be joined by Z91983 . At 12.45, another three Mute Swans arrived and two came out of the water. I noticed that one of these was ringed, but it re-entered the river before I could get its ring number.
5 Hooded Crows, 12 Jackdaws, 1 Rook and 1 Magpie were maximum sightings of these birds at any one time throughout my stay. A pair of Pied Wagtails, put in a brief appearance and were the only smaller birds to be seen.
1st Winter Common Gull and Male Pied Wagtail