Sunday, 21 December 2014

Still No Cygnet...

      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
I arrived at the Marina today, to find a coach load of Chinese tourists running about the Marina, taking photos and selfies.  It was fairly mild with the temperature reading 9°C, a 100% grey sky, though dry and again a fairly strong south-westerly wind coming in off the Lough.  There was only 50 to 60 BHGs present, but birds were quite quick in returning, as the Chinese departed on their coach.  A 2nd coach load arrived at 09.35, but were back on their coach 20 minutes later.

As I stated last week, the 28 Darvics so far recorded this winter, will probably be the base total for the next few weeks.  27 of these were noted last winter and a further three others have still not appeared.  The 1 new Darvic this winter, makes up the total of 28.

I arrived at 09.05 this morning and ended up staying until 2pm instead of the usual 1pm.  The reason for this, being a large number of gulls arrived as I was thinking of heading home.  My total Darvics for the day was sitting at 25 with   2AAL   being the last recorded at 11.33.  But, with staying on, I got another two, namely   2ABF   and   2ADV  , the latter of which, had been absent the previous two weeks.  With so many gulls about, I was hoping for a 'full house', but    2ACV   did not appear by the time I departed.  In the region of 250 to 300 BHGs were present between 12.30 and 13.30, but numbers dropped back to around 200.

'One Leg' was also present and took quite a few chips from my hand at the car window.  She seems to be a great lover of chips and not so fussed when it comes to bread.  I know from past experience, she loaths pasta.

Two weeks ago, I reported the re-sighting of a metal-ringed BHG -    Iceland 571487  .  I was hoping to see it again last Sunday, in order to obtain a better photo of the bird and the numbers on the ring.  Unfortunately, it was absent and I thought it may have moved on.  However, today at 12.01 a metal-ringed gull landed near the car and looking at the ring through the telescope, happy days, my Icelandic gull.  I was able to obtain a better photo of this bird, but only managed to get 5 of the 6 numbers on the ring.

Black-headed Gull - Iceland 571487

Black-headed Gull Present Today
 2AAC   2ABN   2ABA   2ABL   2ADJ   T35J   2AAN   2AAS   2AAF 

Today's Only Absentee

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ADV (Absent Last Two Sundays)


      Other Birds       
Last Sunday, I mentioned that our very confiding cygnet was not present.  I had reported the previous Sunday, that it was injured and limping rather heavily, hence my lifting it, to replace it onto the river.  I called by the Marina on an hour's 'flying' visit on Thursday and it was again absent.  I contacted Ruth Wilson of Antrim Borough Council, but they were unaware of the whereabouts of the cygnet or the sick   Z91984  .  The Council have not received any information on these swans.  It is not looking good for 'our cygnet', which was the only survivor of three siblings.

Only two adult Mute Swans were present at first and were joined by another two, a short time later.  Two of these were ringed - the now ever present   Z91982   and   W34158  .  What's happened to the swans this winter?  Numbers still remain low, as compared to last Winter.

A Herring Gull was present this morning, the first one I've seen in quite a few weeks and it cleared off after the 2nd coach load of Chinese tourists arrived.  An adult and 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gulls, stayed throughout my stay. On my visit on Thursday, I spotted a Lesser Black-backed Gull that I hadn't seen before.  Though I'm no expert on gulls, I reckoned this was a 2nd winter bird (photo).  I've asked Adam to confirm it for me, but no word as yet.

2nd Winter Lesser Black-backed Gull

There was a good Common Gull presence today. A total of 10 adult birds which included the Scottish-rung   EY64036  .  The three 1st winter Common Gulls that have been seen over the last few weeks was joined by a 4th today.  It looks fairly similar to the 3rd bird which appeared on the 23rd November.  I was lucky enough to get a photo of all 4 together.  The two outside birds on the railings, are the original two.  The middle bird on the front railing is today's new bird, with the 23rd November bird on the right beside the adult.  Last winter, I only recorded one 1st winter Common Gull and that was the Scottish-rung   EY64036  .  Just a pity, that none of these 1st winter birds are ringed.

Four 1st Winter Common Gulls and an Adult

I counted 21 Mallards when I arrived this morning and the total never even reached 50.  Why the numbers have gone down so drastically is a mystery.  Normally, you'd be tripping over them.  The County Monaghan rung   4MN 0813   was present today, after being absent last Sunday.  It was also present on Thursday's visit.

A single adult Cormorant spent a short time at the Marina, also briefly coming out of the water to dry its wings.  It didn't get any peace with the number of people arriving and was soon off again.  The pair of Moorhens, are now familiar and spend all their time going up and down the Marina looking for food.

At last Magpies have paid a visit.  Normally they are an ever present, but have been on the scarce side of late.  That can't be said about the Hooded Crows, which love to annoy the other birds.  One bird in particular, flew at the Cormorant several times, much to its annoyance, making a barking sound at the Crow.  Plenty of Jackdaws about.  Last winter, I saw a ringed Jackdaw and got a partial number, but have not seen this bird yet.  It would be easily identified, as it has white specks on top of its head.

The only small birds to be seen, was the pair of Pied Wagtails.  Just after 10.15, I heard the familiar sound of Lapwings.  On looking into the sky, a flock of 22 were flying over in the direction of Shane's Castle.



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