|Today's Black-headed Gulls|
It was 09.25 when I arrived at the Marina this morning, as I had to stop off at Antrim Area Hospital, to leave a couple of bags in to a friend whose daughter was admitted yesterday. The sky was totally grey and this caused a few problems when using the binoculars, as the light at times was very poor. No such problems with the telescope though. The temperature was reading 8°C and a fairly strong wind was blowing in from the Lough, but not as chilly, compared to the last couple of weeks. Most of the gulls preferred to be on the ground, rather than perched on the railings today. Around 11pm, the rain started, though not heavy and it stopped again around 12pm. At this time, the wind died down a bit and the temperature dropped a degree.
With the arrival of 2AAJ last week, my total of Darvic-rung Black-headed Gulls had risen to 28 so far this winter. About 70 BHGs were present on my arrival, rising to about 200 at midday, before decreasing to about 100 when I left at 13.30. I had re-sighted 26 Darvic's by 12.06 and 2AAL was the last be be recorded at 13.20. The only one that failed to show up was 2ADV , for the second week running.
I reckon the 28 Darvics will now be the base for the next few weeks, at least till Adam starts ringing again. Three are still outstanding from last winter and I would only favour 2ADD to show up at some stage. This one is an adult, but I think he could well be back in the Carrickfergus area, where he was originally ringed. The remaining two were 1st winter birds that may have perished before spring. I will be astonished if they were to appear.
'One Leg' was also here today and totally ignored me, not once coming anywhere near the car window to be fed. The other one-legged gull 'Peg' is still absent and I've a feeling now that I've seen the last of this one.
The Icelandic BHG that I re-sighted last week, was not present either. I had hoped it would be here, so I could get some better photos of it and it's metal ring.
Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAF
Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAP
Black-headed Gulls Present Today
The Only Absentee
Believe It or Not - There Are Just Over 100 BHGs Standing There
Today was very poor for the numbers of other birds. 4 Adult Mute Swans, soon rose to a maximum of 7, with W34158 and Z91982 being the only ones with rings. I mentioned last week, that our usual cygnet was injured. It was very hungry, so I fed it with bread and chips before lifting and placing it back onto the river. Today, there was no sign of it and it's unusual for it not to appear. I will email Ruth Wilson of Antrim Borough Council later, to see if they know anything about it and if they have any more news on Z91984 , which was removed in poor health a few weeks back.
Mallards were fewer in numbers, with only about 20 on my arrival, building up to the 50 to 60 mark. I still cannot understand why there is fewer of these birds, when normally their numbers would be much higher. Even the male County Monaghan Mallard 4MN 0813 was not here today either.
One adult and one Juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gulls, were present for most of my visit. There were no Common Gulls at first, but as the morning wore on, a total of 6 adults and the three 1st winter birds showed up. The Scottish-rung EY64036 was one of the six adults.
The now familiar pair of Moorhens again potted about the whole time. One adult and one juvenile Cormorant was also present throughout, diving for fish along the length of the Marina or at the entrance to the Lough.
Only one Hooded Crow today, along with about a dozen Jackdaws and still no magpies. They are present across the river in the woodland. Perhaps with so few people today feeding the 'ducks', this may be the reason why they were not lured across to the Marina.
A pair of Pied Wagtails were once again the only smaller birds to be seen.