Sunday, 25 January 2015

Ring - Sorted...

      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
I'll start this week with what has been an ongoing saga with a foreign-rung Black-headed Gull, that I first spotted on December 28th 2014.  Initially, this young gull was very wary and nervous, but seemed to be slowly adjusting to life at Antrim Marina over the last couple of weeks.

I found it very hard to get any decent photos of the ring of this bird, as it would not let anyone near it.  Graham Prole emailed me a fortnight ago to suggest that this gull was from Sweden and attached a photo, to compare my gull's ring with a Swedish BHG that he had recorded.

I learned from Graham, that I would be looking for a seven digit number on the ring.  Last Sunday, both Chris Smith and myself took photos of this bird and we both had '643', which was the start of the number.  This added to the '391' that I got two weeks ago, meant that one number was missing or possibly two.  Of three options that were available (643*391 or 64391** or 643391*), I suggested that the missing number probably came between the two 3's.

1st Winter Black-headed Gull - Sweden 6438391 (Today)

On Wednesday afternoon, I checked for emails and had one from Chris Smith.  Attached was the photo below, which showed that the missing number was '8' followed by 391.  Success at last!  The number now completed, I reported the bird to the Swedish Ringing Centre at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.  On Thursday, I received a reply, thanking me for reporting the gull and the accompanying photos.  Alas, I will have to wait for the ringing details, as they have a backlog of recoveries to process.

Photo from Chris Smith - Showing the missing number '8'

On my visit to Antrim Marina today, I found that this gull was still present and was finally able to get decent photos of it and the ring.  Below, the photo clearly shows the number '8', placed between the two 3's, thus confirming my suspicions about the number.

The Number '8' Between the Two 3's

Many thanks again to Graham Prole and Chris Smith with their help in getting this ring number identified.

Today would have reminded you on a Spring morning, instead of it being late January.  The last few days the temperature hovered around the 0°C mark and this morning at 09.05 the gauge was reading 7°C, with a light breeze and 100% cloud cover.  Near lunchtime, the wind grew stronger and colder, with a couple of drizzly showers and by 13.00 had calmed down again slightly.

With 28 Darvic-rung Black-headed Gulls recorded this winter,  I had re-sighted 20 of these by 10.27.  I remained at the Marina until 13.30 and my final total finished at 23, with   2ABF   (10.47),   2ACX   (11.31) and   2ACV   (12.35), being the last three to be re-sighted.

Of the 5 absentees today,   2AAL   and   2AAV  , were also absent last week.  The Icelandic Black-headed Gull   571487   was not present again today.  'One Leg' however was present and showed much enthusiasm towards the brown 'Veda' bread and repeatedly returned to my hand, till she had her fill. 

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAS

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ABA

Black-headed Gulls Present Today
 2ABK   2AAR   2AAA   2AAF   2AAP   T35J   2AAN   2ABN 

The Absentees
 2AAL   2AAV   2AAJ   2ADV   2AFD 

Next Sunday will be the 1st of February.  As the month progresses, some of these Black-headed Gulls will be departing from Antrim Marina, to start their journey's back to their Countries and ultimately their breeding sites.  Last week, I mentioned that some of the gulls were starting to develop their 'Black Heads', a sure sign of the forthcoming breeding season.  I made mention of   2AAC   and this week noticed a marked change in the head of   2AAB  .  An un-ringed BHG present today, was well on its way to having the 'Black Head' (photo below).

The Black Head Developing


      Other Birds       
What a day for Common Gulls and the reason for me staying to 13.30.  Also known by the name 'Mew Gull' in many countries, in Northern Ireland and most of the UK, they are not as common as their name suggests.  Last winter, I saw very few Common Gulls at Antrim Marina, but, there are far more appearing this winter.  At 12.55 today, I counted 14 adults and 4 - 1st winter birds.  These did not include the two known ringed gulls.

The Scottish-rung   EY64036   appeared at 12.37 today.  The other ringed Common Gull, whose number still eludes me, was not present during my visit.  Historically, I know nothing about their winter abundance at the Marina, but is this increase in numbers, the sign of a future trend?

A single Herring Gull stayed about for most of the morning.  A juvenile/1st Winter Lesser Black-backed Gull also remained for quite a while and amused me for a while trying to gulp down a full Scone and eventually succeeded.  A 2nd/3rd Winter Lesser Black-backed Gull stayed briefly - showing quite a bit of adult plumage. I'm no expert when it comes to ageing these birds.

Mallard numbers were also well up today.  About 50 of these birds were present when I arrived and I re-sighted the male County Monaghan   4MN 0813   at 09.34.  Numbers rose throughout the morning with around 100 by the time I left for home.

10 Mute Swans on my arrival, were quickly joined by a further 3 and two late arrivals took the total to 15.  Many failed to exit the river and only three rings were noted:-   W34158  ,   Z91982   and the recent arrival   Z91981  .

As you can nearly guess by now, the other birds were made up by a pair of Moorhens, a pair of Pied Wagtails, Hooded Crows and Jackdaws.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Mystery Gull - Solved!!!

      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
Over the past few days, Northern Ireland has been hit with sub-zero temperatures and a fair bit of snow, especially on the hills.  Luckily enough, the lower ground within the Mid-Antrim area, has escaped the worst of the snow.

I arrived at the Marina today at my usual time of 09.05 to a nice sunny and calm morning.  With nearly 100% blue sky, a light breeze and a temperature reading 3°C, conditions were a lot better than I was anticipating.

Around 100 BHGs were present and with 28 Darvic-rung birds to watch for, I re-sighted 20 by 09.58, a very good start.  A further 5 were noted from 10.19 to 12.24.  I normally leave about 1 o'clock, but ended up staying to 2pm, as a good number of birds arrived in all of a sudden.  I recorded my last Darvic of the day at 13.30 and that was   2ABF  , which seems to have a habit of showing up late on in the day.

The 2 birds absent today were   2AAL   and   2AAV  .  I've stated before, that   2AAV  , has a habit of being absent now and again - nothing new here.  The absence of the 'one eyed'   2AAL   is unusual.  It has been an ever present over the last 16 weeks and is always keen to get stuck in when people arrive to feed the birds.  Interesting to see if it's back next week.

The Icelandic BHG   571487   was not present today, nor was 'One Leg'.  A left one-legged bird was to be seen on several occasions, but I'm nearly positive that it was not 'One Leg'.  The mystery foreign-ringed 1st winter BHG was also present today - read about it below.

The maximum number of BHGs was between 200-250 by mid morning, decreasing by the time I left for home.  The heads of some of the Black-headed Gulls are starting to turn 'Black' - (Chocolate Brown), a sign that the oncoming breeding season is coming about.  Amongst the Darvic-rung birds, this is noticeable with   2AAC  .  A couple of pairs were also going into courtship display, though light-heartedly and not too serious.

Black-headed Gull - 2ACV

Black-headed Gulls Present Today
 T35J   2AAF   2AAJ   2AAP   2ADJ   2AAD   2ACX   2AAA   2AAN 
 2AAS   2AAH   2AAK   2ABA   2ACV   2AFD   2ADV   2ABF   2ABF 

Today's Absentee's
 2AAL   2AAV 

The Country of origin, of the mystery foreign ringed - 1st winter Black-headed Gull, that I first sighted on Dec 28th 2014 and then again last Sunday, has been solved.  Later last Sunday evening after publishing my latest sightings, I received an email from Graham Prole Tallaght Gulls + Rings.   Graham was able to confirm that my BHG was actually Swedish-rung and he attached a photo of a bird he recorded from Sweden.  This photo clearly shows that the position of the numbers and lettering, for both his gull and mine were exactly the same.

Today, while at the Marina, this Swedish-rung bird appeared again.  Another bird watcher Chris Smith and myself, both took photos and we both identified the start of the ring number as 643.  My photo from last week had the end three numbers 391.  Graham stated that the number will contain 7 digits and no letters.

As it stands at the minute, there are three possible combinations for the whole ring number :-

Option 1 = 643*391       ( * = missing number/s)
Option 2 = 64391**
Option 3 = 643391*

I reckon Option one is the most likely.  In the photo which shows 391, the 9 is clearly placed above the two letters 'M', followed by the number 1, which is the last number before the ring butt.

In Graham Prole's 'stitched' photo, 1 is clearly placed above the two letters 'M', followed by the number 4, which is the last number before the ring butt.

If Option one is correct, then we need to get the number placed between the two 3's, in order to ascertain all seven digits.  This young gull is starting to be less nervy and weary and is obviously settling down to all the hustle and bustle at the Marina.  It also appears that it is going to stay here and we should be able to get the whole number soon.

Swedish-rung - 1st Winter Black-headed Gull

The First 3 and Last 3 Digits of the Ring Number.

'Stitched' Photo of Graham Prole's Swedish Black-headed Gull

My thanks to Graham Prole for his help and the photo, confirming the origins of this BHG.


      Other Birds       
Common Gulls were again present in good numbers today.  It was very hard trying to count the number of adults, but I reckon there was between 10 and 14 individuals.  There was so much movement  in these today, it was very hard to get an accurate number.  Only one adult and one 1st winter bird were present when I arrived.  The Scottish-rung   EY64036   appeared at 11.20.  With staying on the extra hour today, I also spotted a metal-ringed Common Gull at 13.20, which is probably the same bird that eluded me on the 4th January.  That was the fault of a male Sparrowhawk and this time, it was the number of people about, that caused me to lose sight of it.

A single adult Lesser Blacked-backed Gull arrived towards lunchtime, but for once, no juveniles were to be seen.

Twelve Mute Swans present on my arrival, were joined by another two a short time later.  Of those that exited the river, three were ringed and they were the usual   W34158   and   Z91982  , along with the recent arrival   Z91981  .  A fourth swan seen on the river, was also ringed.  It had its leg raised up, revealing the ring.  However, it remained on the river, so I was unable to get the number.  Still no sign of the young cygnet, so it has probably died somewhere.

Mallard numbers, were again very poor today.  Around 20 birds when I arrived, did not exceed the 60 mark by the time I headed home.  The County Monaghan ringed Mallards were also absent today.

A Cormorant, put in a brief appearance and having just exited the river to dry its wings, was soon disturbed by people and swam out towards the Lough.


Once again the usual pairs of Moorhens and Pied Wagtails graced the Marina throughout my visit.

The only other birds to be seen today were Hooded Crows and Jackdaws.


Sunday, 11 January 2015

Another First...

      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
Arriving at the Marina at 09.05, the weather conditions were far better than I was expecting.  After strong winds and showers of sleet and snow yesterday, today was a good deal calmer with the temperature at 5°C, 100% cloud cover and a fairly strong wind coming in off the Lough.  Though dry at first, a light shower came in at 10.15, with a couple of drizzly showers as the morning passed.  By the time I departed at 13.00, the wind-speed had gained in strength and it felt quite stormy and cold.

With 28 Darvics recorded this winter, I had accounted for 25 of these by 10.37.  The total for the day ended on 27 with   2AAC   at 11.40 and   2ABF   at 12.04 being the final two BHGs to be noted.  The two birds that were absent last week, were both recorded this week, with   2AAV   being the 3rd of the day at 09.16 and   2ABA   the 24th at 10.35.  Today's only absentee was   2ADV  , whose presence over the past few weeks, has been very patchy.

I was very pleased to see the Icelandic-rung BHG   571487  , putting in another appearance.  It is looking very much, as if this one is staying put in the Antrim area, re-appearing every couple of weeks.

Black-headed Gull  - Iceland 571487

The Foreign-ringed 1st winter BHG that I observed on the 28th December, also appeared again today.  I am having a lot of trouble, trying to get photos of this bird and especially it's ring, as it seems very wary and does not tolerate close approach.  I was only able to get a single photo today and a partial number can be seen.  I've zoomed into the ring, perhaps someone can identify the Country of origin.  Will try again next week.

Foreign 1st Winter Black-headed Gull

No sign of the white-Darvic rung bird the eluded me last week, it may show up again hopefully.  'One Leg' was again present today and unlike last week she came looking for food.  As I had chips today, she was very keen to come and get her share.

Black-headed Gulls Present
 2AAT   T35J   2AAV   2ACV   2AAD   2ABP   2AAR   2AAJ   2AAK 

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ABA (Absent Last Week)

Today's Only Absentee

      An Afternoon Visit To Carnlough and Glenarm       
On the afternoon of Tuesday 6th January, I decided to make another visit to the coastal villages of Carnlough and Glenarm, to have a look for ringed gulls.  I had planned to do this on 1st January, but ended up in bed not well.  The last time I came down here on the evening of 11th September 2014, I recorded a pair of Black Swans (quite a rarity in Northern Ireland) and saw one of Adam McClure's Darvic-rung Black-headed Gulls.

I went to Carnlough first and parked in the car park beside a playground.  This gave good views of the beach.  There were not many gulls about.  Only 20 to 30 BHGs at max., as they kept coming and going.  There were 5 immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 1 adult Great Black-backed Gull.  Thirteen Common Gulls were scattered about, nearly all adults of which one, was ringed with a metal-ring.  Unfortunately, this bird was far too far away to even try and read the ring through the scope.  I stayed here for just over an hour, but no other gulls arrived.  Six Oystercatchers and 14 Redshanks, were not rung either and I was surprised not to see any Turnstones.

I then drove round the coast and parked at the sea-front car park in Glenarm.  A small number of BHGs were present and I hoped to locate Adam's Darvic-rung bird.  A quick look round through the binoculars revealed no rings.  I then set the Telescope onto the roof of the nearby Church, where another dozen BHGs were lined along the roof.  Bingo!, one was carrying a light-coloured Darvic.  I moved the car to the edge of the car park and was able to identify a Yellow Darvic ring with the inscription 260D.

I drove to the alleyway at the back of the Church and entered the graveyard with the camera, but quickly realised the light was no use, but then most of the birds flew off and landed on a roof at the nearby harbour, including my bird.  I then drove around to the harbour car park and quickly found my target, but again the light was all wrong for the camera.

At this point, I decided 'bread' was my only possible chance to get a photo.  I walked into the village looking for a shop and arrived back - now 'armed' with a loaf.  I moved the car over to an area of clean concrete beside the footbridge that spans the Glenarm River.  As soon as I started tossing bits of bread out of the car window, about 80 'very hungry' Black-headed Gulls came 'bombing' in beside me and I eventually got my photo - and well satisfied I was.  Due to this one bird, they all shared the whole loaf between them.  Wonder if they thanked him?  There were also a few Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls here as well, but no more rings.

Black-headed Gull - Yellow 260D

Driving back home to Ballymena, I started thinking - I've seen this number before!  On reaching home, I firstly checked Graham Prole's Blog - Tallaght Gulls + Rings and then Adam McClure's Blog.  It was Adam who previously re-sighted this gull - knew I recognized the number.

I went onto the cr-birding website to trace the origins of the ring and duly sent an email to Eoin McGreal who is conducting a Colour-ringing Study of Common Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Black-headed Gulls on Lough Mask, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland.  Eoin emailed a reply also containing the file for Yellow 260D.  As it turns out, this bird has been re-sighted many times at Glenarm, which appears to be its favourite wintering spot.  The distance from Lough Mask to Glenarm Harbour is roughly 264Km (164 miles) North East.  Many Thanks to Eoin for his reply and this bird's details.

Date Details Location
15 Jun 2008 Ringed as a Chick Lough Mask, County Mayo, Republic of Ireland.
24 Feb 2009 Ring Read by Neal Warnock Larne Lough, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
02 Jan 2012 Ring Read by Pauline Majury Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
19 Aug 2012 Ring Read by Pauline Majury Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
01 Jan 2013 Ring Read by Adam D. McClure Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
24 Aug 2013 Ring Read by Adam D. McClure Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
23 Nov 2014 Ring Read by Joe C. Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
20 Dec 2014 Ring Read by Neal Warnock Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
28 Dec 2014 Ring Read by Pauline Majury Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
06 Jan 2015 Ring Read by Gareth D.A. Platt Glenarm Harbour, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
File Details for Black-headed Gull - Yellow 260D


      Today's Other Birds       
There were 9 adult Mute Swans when I arrived this morning and the arrival of another three took the overall total to 12.  No new rings today, though the usual   W34158   and   Z91982   was accompanied with the recently arrived   Z91981  .  Again no sign of the cygnet, I think it has 'bit the dust'.

Again, plenty of Common Gulls today, with all six 1st winter birds present, which included last week's two new arrivals.  Twelve adults were noted which included the Scottish-rung   EY64036  .  There was no sign of the new adult Common Gull that carried a metal ring which eluded me last week, due to the appearance of a male Sparrowhawk.  I think this one may show up again, especially as there are good numbers of Common Gulls at the Marina this winter.

A single adult and a single 1st winter Lesser Black-backed Gull, stayed throughout the morning.  It seems that every week that I see an adult LBBG, it appears to be a different bird each time.  Adam McClure, stated, that he had read somewhere, that many of the LBBG's that frequent Lough Neagh in the winter, are of Icelandic origin.

Approximately 30 Mallards were present when I arrived, but numbers never got any higher than the 50 mark.  The County Monaghan male Mallard    4MN 0813  , appeared at 10.44.  Still no sign of the female Mallard bearing the same number.

The now familiar pair of Moorhens, potted up and down the Marina as usual.  Hooded Crows, Jackdaws, a pair of Pied Wagtails were always present.  A small party of 10 to 12 Long-tailed Tits made a brief stop at the Crack Willow tree, before flying back over the river to the wooded area at Antrim Boat Club.  A single Cormorant, fished along the front of the Marina for about an hour.  It came out of the water briefly to dry it's wings, but was soon disturbed by people and re-entered the river.


      Another First       
Another first for me today at Antrim Marina was an otter.  My attention was brought by a Common Gull, which was making a weird call that I had never heard before.  Looking in the direction of this bird, I noticed that it was flying with a number of Black-headed Gulls, out over the river.  I then spied the Otter breaking the surface of the water and clearly eating a fish.  It swam around and made several dives into the river.  It was present for about 30 minutes from 09.32 to just after 10.00am.  Just after 11.30, it appeared again, but only stayed for about 5 minutes, as there were too many people about.

Fellow bird-watcher Chris Smith, had told me about the Otters and they were to be seen up-river towards Antrim Town.  This is the first time in two winters, that I have seen any here at the Marina.

Otter At Antrim Marina


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Luck Not In...

      Today's Black-headed Gulls       
Arriving at my usual time of 09.05, the temperature was a warmer 4°C, compared to -3°C last Sunday.  A very heavy grey sky, made initial use of binocular's and telescope awkward, due to lack of light.  While driving from Ballymena up to Antrim Marina, there was a drizzly shower, but it remained dry throughout my visit, though there was still a nippy breeze coming off the Lough.

A good number of Black-headed Gulls were present when I arrived, probably around the 100 mark.  Peak numbers were reached around 12pm, with an estimated 220 BHGs, dwindling to around 150 birds before I departed for home at 13.45.

Normally, I leave around 1pm, but not for the first time, a bird shows up, forcing me to stay longer.  Last week, it was a foreign ringed 1st winter BHG, which after flying off - I failed to find again.  No sign of it this week either, another failure to get a metal ring read.  This week, it was a White Darvic-rung BHG, which I was assuming was the Lithuanian rung bird 'T35J'.  I had prepared to leave, packing up all my gear, when I spotted the bird in front of me through the windscreen of the car.  I grabbed my binoculars, for a quick peek and realised, this was not 'T35J'.  I could not read the number due to the thickness of the windscreen glass.  I quickly unpacked the camera and stepped out of the car.  To my dismay, a woman along with her daughter came from behind me, walking directly towards the group of gulls where my target was perched.  I quickly dashed around the back of the car to try and get the number, but alas, they frightened off the birds.  I then stayed to 13.45, trying to locate it, but gave up.

Nothing went right today, I missed out on a ringed Common Gull and a photo of a stunning looking Lesser Black-backed Gull.

I classed last Sunday, as a strange day.  With 28 known Darvic-rung BHGs to look for, over half of them failed to show up and I finished with a total of 13.  Its not unusual for a few birds to be absent from week to week, but to have 15 absentees on a visit at this time of the winter, is to me, unprecedented.  I had pondered during the week, what was in store today.  With staying on for an extra three-quarters of an hour,   2AFD   (13.05) and   2ABN   (13.33), became the 25th and 26th Darvics of the day.  The two missing birds were   2ABA   and   2AAV   and they'll probably show up next week.  I've stated in the past   2AAV  , has a habit of going AWOL, so no surprise here.

'One Leg' appeared at 11am and did not venture towards my car looking for food.  Females can be odd at times!!  Please, no emails in agreement.  There was no sign of the Icelandic-rung   571487  .

Black-headed Gulls Present
 2AAT   2AAD   2AAL   2AAR   2AAP   2AAJ   2AAF   2ACX   2ABP 

Today's Absentees
 2ABA   2AAV 

Adam McClure replied to my request about two BHGs that I recorded last winter, which have failed to turn up this winter.    2BAS   was ringed as a chick at Castle Espie in County Down, Northern Ireland on 16th Jul 2013.  My sighting of it on the 21st September 2013 at Antrim Marina, still remains the only record of this bird to date.    2ADA   was ringed at Antrim Marina on the 21st October 2013 by Adam.  I first recorded it on the 27th October, and last saw it on the 10th November 2013.  Neal Warnock, was the last person to re-sight   2ADA  , on the 13th November 2013.  My assumption, that both of these birds have perished, may well be true.  It would be nice if they can prove me wrong some day.

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2ADA
Photo taken 27th October 2013


      Other Birds       
Wherever you looked today, Common Gulls were about in numbers.  A single adult and a 1st winter bird, were the only two present at first.  As the morning wore on, a maximum of 13 adults included the Scottish-rung   EY64036   and hooray - another ringed adult.  I was doing a head count of the Common's and finishing off at the end of the Long Jetty, when I spied the ring.  I couldn't wait to get the number.  I set the telescope into the tripod and grabbed the camera and walked off round to a better vantage point.  On taking a quick look through the telescope, I could see that most of the number was facing towards me.  I thought I would get photos, as quick as possible, while the birds were settled and nobody nearby to disturb them.  Would you believe it, I lost this bird, because what happened next was quite extraordinary.

I held the camera on top of the telescope to avoid shake and had just turned it on when, a small bird, presuming it was a Grey Wagtail crashed dived between the boulders in front of me, followed by a male Sparrowhawk, which alighted onto the boulder just two feet beside me.  We both looked at each other for a few seconds, then he flew off in the direction of the Long Jetty, scaring off all the gulls, including my newly found Common Gull.

It was initially 11.40 when I first spotted this bird and I watched and watched.  When I left for home at 13.45, I still hadn't located it again.  What a bizarre way to lose a ringed gull!!  

Over the last few weeks a total of four 1st winter Common Gulls have been present.  Today the numbers went up by two, I had 6 of them today.  The whole of last winter, the only 1st winter Common Gull I ever saw, was    EY64036  .  The numbers of Common Gulls overall, have far exceeded those of last winter.

Common Gull - EY64036

Absolutely Stunning, is how I would describe an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, that was present first thing this morning.  It was so sleek looking, you'd have to compare it with a jet fighter.  I must say again a really smashing looking gull for a Lesser Black-backed.  Problems? Yes, the Chinese were about.  A coach load arrived and parked by the toilets at 09.15.  Thankfully, they kept away from the Long Jetty, where my gull was slowly edging towards me, toying with a juvenile Lesser Black-backed.  

Finally, it reached the mooring posts in front of me, where I park to get close ups of the birds.  All I needed, was it to hop up, as railings were obscuring my view or move just a little more to the right.  You've guessed it, a group of Chinese youngsters came from behind my car and my gull was gone.  I shook my head when I saw them arriving and the inevitable happened, it was gone and that was the last I saw of it.  Little did I realise, this was only the start of today's woes.

The juvenile, along with a single adult Herring Gull and the Common Gulls gave the other gulls hell today.  Some of the aerial chases today were very spectacular and prolonged, trying to make the Black-headed Gulls drop their food.

Mallards were present in good numbers, with around 50 first thing this morning and numbers rose to 70 or 80 birds.  No sign of the ringed County Monaghan Mallards   4MN 0813  .

10 adult Mute Swans on arrival increased to a maximum of 14 and included   W34158  ,   Z91982   and last weeks new arrival   Z91981  .  Still no sign of  'our cygnet'.

The rest of today's birds included:- a pair Moorhens, a pair of Pied Wagtails, a pair of Grey Wagtails, Hooded Crows and Jackdaws.

If everything had gone right, today would have been very rewarding, but unfortunately it was not to be.  Its just compounded a bad week for me, as I spent Tuesday to Friday in bed very ill.  I'm one of these people, who believes the body should heal themselves.  Most Doctors these days, just look at you, see your still breathing and write out a prescription, just to get you off their back.