|Today's Black-headed Gulls|
My sister Heather and I arrived to a nice sunny morning at Antrim Marina. The temperature reading 11°C, with 50% cloud cover and a slight breeze was coming off the Lough, which was quite chilly at times.
As it was such a nice calm morning, there were plenty of flies about and the gulls must have been getting their fill of these, as for prolonged periods, many were not interested in people arriving with bread.
There were fewer BHGs about than usual and maximum numbers may just have been around the 100 mark. Of the 23 Darvic-rung birds so far recorded this autumn/winter, only 14 were spotted today and 9 were not present. For large periods of the morning, most of the gulls settled themselves onto the green behind the cafe.
Black-headed Gulls Present
No new Darvics were re-sighted, but a 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gull was spotted around 9.21 on the long jetty. At around the same time, two 'metal-ringed' Mallards were seen and the race began to get all three numbers before any of them disappeared, with success.
The BHG bore a BTO ring, the number being EW66235 . I have reported this bird online and hopefully will have it's details back in time for next weeks Blog.
Black-headed Gull - London EW66235 (13 Sep 2015)
There was only a single Mute Swan present when we arrived this morning. Over the course of the morning, a further 7 swans arrived in from the Lough. Of those that exited the water, only one had a ring, that one being that of the regular visitor W34158 .
Mallard numbers were good with around 60 to 70 birds at first, increasing during the morning to around the 110 mark. Two of the Mallards were bearing metal-rings and were spotted around the same time as a Black-headed Gull with a metal-ring. My work was cut out for me to try and obtain all three ring numbers before any of these would move on, which I successfully managed to do.
Looking at the ringed Mallards, I knew straight away, they were both from County Monaghan. I experienced this last year, when I realised there was no address on the rings, just two rows of numbers. It turned out that the top row was a telephone number and the bottom row was the ducks ring number.
All I had to do this time was obtain the bottom row of numbers for each duck. The male Mallard (drake) was ringed 5MN 1173 and the female Mallard (duck) was ringed 5MN 1207 . When I got back home, I emailed Dan Curley, secretary of the Monaghan Gun Club with the numbers for these ducks. I quickly received a reply from Dan as follows :-
Dermot Greenan Tom Woods
Today at 5:33 PM
Those 2 Ducks were let out by my own Club, Annagh-Ma-Kerrig Gun Club, ( By Myself ) on Doohat Lake, which is between Newbliss Co Monaghan, and Cootehill Co Cavan.
They were let out in the Middle of June 2015 @ 7 - 8 Weeks Old
These would have travelled 20 Miles or so further than the Glaslough Ducks last Year. ( They had no Blackwater etc to Follow, so they must have travelled with migrating Ducks )
Some of our Ducks Did turn up on Lough Neagh Before.
In relation to the Number 5 = 2015, MN = Monaghan,
End no. is the Number that ID's which Club let them out.
In Co Monaghan this Year we let out 1,360, so the numbers would have gone from 1 to 1,360
Thanks again Garret
My Thanks go to Dan once again for the information supplied. There is still no sign of either of the two Mallards from County Monaghan, that I recorded last winter.
Drake Mallard 5MN 1173 - Antrim Marina (13 Sep 2015)
Today, I recorded a Red-breasted Merganser at the Marina. This is my first sighting of one here, although I do know that they breed out on the Lough. It was a nice surprise to see it. I think it is a male, which has now lost its breeding season plumage.
Red-breasted Merganser - Antrim Marina (13 Sep 2015)
There was very little showing by other gull species. An adult female Common Gull was present for about thirty minutes. On three or four occasions, a juvenile Herring Gull put in an appearance. Whether it was the same bird each time, there is no way of knowing. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull arrived and harried the Black-headed Gulls for about 5 minutes before moving on.
Two young Hooded Crows came and went all morning, as did a young Magpie. Jackdaws were also present, though fewer in numbers than normal.
The only smaller species to be seen here today, was a juvenile Pied Wagtail.
On Thursday, I finally received an eagerly awaited email from Iceland concerning the Oystercatcher that I spotted at the Whitehouse Lagoon, on the outskirts of Belfast last Sunday. The photos that I took of this bird, with it's combination of colour rings, were good enough to allow confirmation.
It was caught on the nest as a breeding adult, on the 5th June 2015, roughly 10kms south-east of the small town of Hella, in the Ranga area of southern Iceland. The distance from the ringing site to Whitehouse Lagoon is about 1, 293 kilometers / 803 miles. It's arrival into Northern Ireland by early September, shows that Oystercatchers leave fairly quickly once their breeding season is completed.
Tomas G. Gunnarsson commenced his colour-ringing study of Oystercatchers in Iceland during 2013 and carries out similar cr-studies for Black-tailed Godwit and Ringed Plover as well. Many Thanks to Tomas and Boovar for the details. This is my first confirmed ringed Oystercatcher.
Iceland to Whitehouse Lagoon - 1,293kms / 803 miles