Friday, 8 April 2016


      Ringing Updates       
Recently, I received an email from Iceland concerning the 'colour-ringed' Oystercatcher, which I recorded several times during the winter at Whitehouse Lagoon, on the outskirts of Belfast.  It was sighted on the 31st March 2016, at Eyrarbakki Harbour on the southern coast of Iceland, having completed it's return journey.

It was ringed as a breeding adult, having been caught on the nest on the 5th June 2015, in the Rangá area, Iceland.  The first re-sighting was on the 6th September 2015, when I spotted it at Whitehouse Lagoon, where it was to remain for the winter.  I last saw this Oystercatcher on the 20th February 2016, despite efforts to sight it in March.

My sincere thanks go to Böddi, for taking the time to inform me of this bird's return.  If all goes well, I shall no doubt spot this Oystercatcher again next autumn.

Icelandic colour-ringed Oystercatcher at Whitehouse Lagoon  -  (09 Jan 2016)


I also received a text message from Adam McClure, concerning the German 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gull, which I recorded at Carrickfergus on the 12th December 2015.  It was subsequently captured by Adam on the 17th January 2016 at the Leisure Centre in Carrick and was fitted with one of his 'Darvic-rings' -   2ANX .  Although it's 'metal-ring' -   IA.114059  - was quite worn, Adam opted to leave the ring alone.

Adam was sent an email in late March, reporting that   2ANX  has been sighted in Poland.  Originally caught and ringed as an adult male in Germany on the 14th May 2008, the fact that it has been sighted in Poland, probably means the gull was of Polish origin.  The addition of a 'colour-ring', has certainly played a part in the re-sighting of this BHG.

My thanks to Adam for the latest info.

Black-headed Gull  -  Germany    IA.114059   -  Carrickfergus Harbour  (12 Dec 2015)


I have also received this email from Neville McKee, concerning a Finnish Common Gull which he spotted at Antrim Marina in 2010.

 Hi Gary

I accidently found a few photos of an adult Common Gull at the Marina taken
on 7th Jan 2010 while searching my photos for some family shots. I had
dismissed this ring as unreadable for me with my then camera. But the
thought just occurred to me that you might have some failed sightings too
and that you might have got the bits I missed on this bird. I know it is a
very unlikely longshot but just in case, I'm letting you know.

It was a Helsinki ring and all I got on it was ST1---8. I don't know the
exact number of digits that I missed. I don't know how many the Finnish
scheme use after the 2 letters.


A longshot indeed and one I think has paid off.  Going by the code on the ring number, I strongly believe that this is the very same gull that I recorded at the Marina on the 28th February 2016.  This gull caused quite a stir amongst birdwatchers in Finland.  Read my posts (here) and (here).

With Neville's 2010 sighting and my failure to obtain the number on a 'metal-ringed' Common Gull during the 2014/15 winter, I am now convinced, this same gull is wintering every year on Lough Neagh.  This will certainly be one to watch out for this coming winter.

My thanks to Neville for the info and photgraph.

Photo of Common Gull  -  Finland   ST1****8   -  Taken on the 7th January 2010
Photo Courtesey of Neville McKee

Due to the continuing poor weather, I have been unable to do much birding.  It would be very unwise to disturb the birds on their nests, until conditions improve.  So much for British Summer Time.


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