Monday, 6 June 2016

Peregrine - Site One...

      Latest Black-headed Gull sightings At Antrim Marina       
On Friday 3rd June, my sister Heather and I made our latest visit to record the resident Black-headed Gulls at Antrim Marina.  We arrived at 11.45am and remained to 2.45pm.  In all 10 of Adam's 'Orange Darvics' were recorded, including the first summer sighting of   2AAF  and a gull that I have not spotted anywhere in the past -   2ALH .

During the course of our visit, this new sighting appeared on three occasions.  After each visit, it would fly off in the direction of the 'Torpedo Platform', after eating bread that had been thrown to the ducks.  All the indications point to the likelihood that it has youngsters out there.

Heather and I discussed the possibility that this gull has only recently been caught and ringed by Adam.  It was so people-friendly, landing with such confidence at the feet of those feeding the ducks, that we presumed this gull has always been here.

How wrong we were, as it turns out.  After reporting my latest sightings to Adam, he emailed the file for   2ALH  and it made for interesting reading.  This BHG was ringed as a chick on the 19th June 2013 on Mew Island, which is part of the Copeland Islands in County Down.  Prior to our sighting, it was recorded on four previous occasions.

In January 2014, March 2015 and September 2015, it was spotted at Ward Park in Bangor, County Down and was then spotted in October 2015 at Ballyholme, also in County Down.  Both of these towns are within a few kilometres of the Copelands.  Although there are breeding colonies of BHGs in County Down,   2ALH  has decided to settle 38kms to the WNW at Lough Neagh.

Although the BHGs are now half way through their breeding season, I find it very surprising that this bird has only now been sighted at the Marina.  It might be a female and had been busy sitting on eggs, until now, with young to feed.

  2ALH  is now the 38th Darvic-rung Black-headed Gull that I have recorded at the Marina, since I began my visits in September 2013.  The next few weeks should prove interesting, to see how often this gull will be recorded and whether it decides to stay after the breeding season is over.  

Black-headed Gull  -    2ALH   -  Antrim Marina  (03 Jun 2016)

Black- headed Gulls Recorded on the 3rd June 2016 (Heather and Myself)
 2BRA   2ALH   2AAA   2AAH   2AAC   2AAF   2ABL   2ANS   2ADD   2AAP 

 2AAV   2AAP   2AAA   2ADD   2AAH   2ABK   2ABL   2BRA 
(2/9) (2/9) (4/9) (5/9) (5/9) (4/9) (5/9) (3/9)
(3/9) (5/9) (3/9) (2/9) (3/9) (1/9) (1/9) (1/9)
(Total Sightings / Total Visits)

The only other ring to be recorded during our visit, was that of the Mute Swan -   W34158 .


      Update on the Odd Couple       
Before visiting Antrim Marina, Heather and I stopped by the Tesco Warehouse to check up on the Mediterranean x Common Gull pair.  Not good news unfortunately, as the nest looks to have been abandoned and there was no sign of the 'Odd Couple'.  I will still check on the site, just to confirm whether they remain or at least stay together.

Scoping the rest of the rooftops, there are now lots of Lesser Black-backed Gull chicks running about.  I also heard Common Terns calling, which was unexpected.  There must be a few pairs of these nesting on the roof as well, but could not see them, as the trees are now in full leaf, blocking out my view from the road.

It also appears that work on replacing the roof has ceased for now.  Someone has obviously made the decision, to leave these birds in peace while they are nesting.  At least some common sense is being shown.  However, once work does recommence and the whole roof eventually replaced, a lot of breeding birds are going to be displaced.

I reckon 100 plus pairs of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, along with smaller numbers of Herring, Common and Black-headed Gulls are using these rooftops, also at least a few pairs of Common Terns and the odd pair of Oystercatchers.


      Peregrine - Site One       
I have paid another visit to the Peregrines at Site One and all is well.  There only appears to be a single chick though, which was slightly disappointing, as these birds normally lay 3 or 4 eggs.  I have emailed Marc Ruddock to see if he would be available to come up to ring the chick.

Female Peregrine Falcon and chick  -  Site One  (04 Jun 2016)

Zoomed in to the Chick and the Female  -  Site One  (04 Jun 2016)


      Buzzard Nests       
I have now located a number of Buzzard nests, none of which could be viewed clearly, except for the pair at Site One.  I have yet to make a second visit to this nest.  The female was sitting on eggs at the time when I found the nest and it would not be worthwhile going back to the site, until the chicks are be large enough for viewing.  A return visit to this site will be made shortly.

Another nest has now been found, where viewing will be exceptionally easy.  This nest is very unusual for Buzzards, as this one has been built at the top of a hedgerow tree on farmland grazed by dairy cattle.  Normally, Buzzards when nesting in trees, prefer at least some cover and shelter to protect and hide their nests.

After finding this nest, I chose to just scope it from a distance and eventually spotted at least two chicks moving about.  I met the farmer that owns the land.  He was aware of their presence and has allowed me permission to access his land to monitor the nest.

This will now become Buzzard - Site Two - and I'll be able to obtain better photos as the youngsters grow larger.  The two pictures that I've added below, shows the nest-site on the farmland and one of the chicks on the nest.  For the second photo, I zoomed in from the same position where I was standing for the first photo.  

Buzzard Nest-site  -  Site Two  (04 Jun 2016)

Buzzard Chick Standing on Top of The Nest  -  Site Two  (04 Jun 2016)


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