Saturday, 18 July 2015

Well Well Well...


      Gobsmacked!! - White 21L6 is Back       
I just could not believe it.  Yesterday (Friday 17th July), I paid a flying visit to my local park, known as The Peoples Park in my home town of Ballymena.  I did not even have time to obtain a count of the gulls present, as I had to get dinner etc., before leaving to go to work.  As soon as I approached the edge of the lake, I spotted a Black-headed Gull with a 'White Darvic' ring.

I peered at it with my 8x21 binoculars, which I keep handy in the coat pocket, but could not make out the code on the ring.  I immediately took out the camera and zoomed in for a few photos.  I then took a quick look to see the results.  To my disbelief and sheer utter delight, this Black-headed Gull was none other than '21L6'.

Last Saturday, I decided to carry out a follow up on this gull, as it is nearly a year ago (August 13th 2014), when I first spotted it feeding on the grass lawns of the Lettercreeve Housing Estate in the town.  I emailed Tim Ball to enquire about further re-sightings of '21L6' since I spotted it last year.  Tim's rapid reply also contained an updated file which contained 15 re-sightings between the 4th May and 1st July 2015, all at Hosehill Lake Local Nature Reserve, just to the south of Reading in England.  This is the same site where '21L6' was ringed as a chick in June 2013 and these re-sightings were the first since I saw this gull in Ballymena last August.

I thanked Tim for his reply and stated that I would keep a lookout as this gull may return to Ballymena over the next couple of months.  I have learnt during my short time as a 'Ring Watcher', that gulls are remarkably faithful to their breeding and wintering sites and often follow the exact routes undertaken during their travels.

After receiving Tim's reply, I added the new information to my Blog, never thinking I would see this gull 6 days later.  As I stated last week, the gulls are on the move now, as this summer's breeding season is all but over.  I definitely did not expect to get this sighting of '21L6' so soon.

On Thursday, I spent an hour or so at The Peoples Park.  There were 19 BHGs ranging in age from 1st summer up to adults, as well as 8 juveniles.  I was able to see the legs of nearly all of these gulls and none had rings.  I am quite confident '21L6' was not present.  An un-ringed pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls commanded the roof of the pavilion and a single 1st summer Common Gull bobbed about on the lake throughout my visit.

This re-sighting is a great start to this winter's season of 'Ring Watching' and with the resumption of my weekly visits to Antrim Marina only two weeks away, goodness know what 'treats' will come next.






Date Details Location
13 Jun 2013 Ringed as a Chick Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
26 Jun 2013 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
04 Jul 2013 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
02 Feb 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Navan, Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland.
28 May 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
30 May 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
03 Jun 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Burnthouse Lane Gravel Pits, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
09 Jun 2014 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
13 Aug 2014 Ring Read by Gareth D.A. Platt Lettercreeve Est., Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
04 May 2015 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
01 Jul 2015 Ring Read by an Observer Hosehill Lake LNR, Reading, West Berkshire, England.
17 Jul 2015 Ring Read by Gareth D.A. Platt The Peoples Park, Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Detail for Black-headed Gull  -  White 21L6
(1st and last 2015 Re-sightings in England (Grey))


Black-headed Gull 'White 21L6' at Lettercreeve Housing Estate, Ballymena (13th August 2014)

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