Sunday, 17 January 2016

Flooding Eases...

      Today's Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina       
It was a fairly mild morning at the Marina today.  During the week, there was far less rain and this was noticeable, as the water levels were down by a foot or two.  Later in the morning, the sun finally appeared through the blanket of clouds, thus making our visit today quite pleasant.

Around 200 Black-headed Gulls were present, with around half at the Marina and the rest on the nearby golf course, which had large pools of rain-water which had not drained.  The overall number of gulls fluctuated throughout the morning and at times, non were present.  When we departed at 1.20pm, only 50 to 60 BHGs remained.

Of the 29 Darvics recorded this winter, 24 were re-sighted today.  Of real interest, was the re-sighting of   2BRC .  Last Sunday, I mentioned that this gull had only been recorded the one time and that was on the 25th October.  It was the last of the Darvics to be spotted at 12.53 standing on the long jetty.  I only just managed to get a photo before it flew off, not to be seen again.

There was still no sign of the two gulls that are now well overdue.  If either of them had returned, I'm sure I would have spotted them by now.  There was no sign of the two foreign 'metal-ringed' BHGs from Iceland and Sweden.  Only one of the two 'metal-ringed' youngsters appeared today,   EL72723 .

I noticed that the head of   2AAB , is starting to get darker, a sign that the breeding season is approaching.  A couple of the gulls were also going through their courtship displays, perhaps just 'warming up' before the serious business starts.

Black-headed Gulls Present Today
 2ABN   2AAR   2ABK   2AAP   2ABF   2ACV   T35J   2ABL 

The Absentees
 2ABA   2AAF   2AAV   2AFD   2BRD 

Black-headed Gull  -  2BRC  -  Antrim Marina  (17 Jan 2016)

      Other Birds At Antrim Marina       
Mallard numbers were very low again this week, with 15 to 20 on our arrival.  This rose to about forty by the time we departed.  A 'metal-ringed' male was seen several times, but unfortunately, I could not obtain the full number.  All I got was   5MN 11** .  On one occasion while scoping the ring from a distance, I thought I could see a '6' at the end of the sequence.

If this turns out to be correct, it means that this is a new male.  The two males that I have recorded this winter were ringed   5MN 1173  and   5MN 1192 .  Today's duck showed all the signs of being a new arrival, as it would quickly re-enter the water whenever folk got near it.  I will try again on next Sunday's visit.

Only 10 Mute Swans and our normal cygnet, were present today, compared to the 19 and 3 cygnets that were here last Sunday.  I'm fairly certain, that all came ashore at one point or another.  Three 'metal-rings' were observed -   Z91982 ,   W34157  and   W34158 .

Common Gull numbers were also down, with a single adult and two juvenile/1st winter birds.  Overall, the number of Common Gulls this winter, is well down compared to last winter.  The large male 'metal-ringed' Common Gull, has yet to appear.  The two Herring Gulls arrived independently of each other about mid-morning and remained throughout the remainder of our visit.

2 Hooded Crows and 9 Jackdaws were the only large birds to be recorded, while 5 Pied Wagtails were the only smaller species.  

My Sister - Heather - Trying to Loose More Skin from Her Fingers


      Ringing Details Received       
On Friday, I finally received the details of the Common Gull 2ADX, from The British Trust for Ornithology.  I spotted this one on Christmas Eve at Millisle in County Down.  I knew it was from Shane Wolsey's Study on the nearby Copeland Islands, but despite emailing Shane, I have still had no reply.

2ADX was ringed as a chick on the 1st June 2010 on Big Copeland Island, which is situated just 8km to the north.  Shane commenced his Study in 2009 using Yellow Darvics, but switched to Blue Darvics in 2010, as they showed up better on the gulls legs.  This gull now takes my total to 7 from Shane's Study.

Friday week ago, my car failed it's MOT and I'm temporarily off the road, therefore a quiet week for me.  My re-test is on Tuesday morning and if all goes well, I can get out and about again.  Thanks to my sister, we still got the weekly visit to Antrim Marina done in her car.


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