Sunday, 19 June 2016

Red Kites...

      Further Visits At Antrim Marina       
A further two visits have been made to Antrim Marina, on my quest to identify all the resident Black-headed Gulls which will be nesting in the area.  On Monday, Suzanne Belshaw had a very productive visit, recording 10 of Adam's Study birds and the first 'Colour-ringed' Common Gull to be seen at the site.  During her visit, she noticed   2AAC  was limping,    2ABS  had a sore eye and   2ABK  was collecting nest material.

My visit to the Marina on Friday, was not so good.  I only had a limited amount of time available and recorded just three of Adam's gulls.  As I arrived, the 'Maid of Antrim' pleasure boat, was just coming in from the Lough.  It had been carrying a large party of school children, many of which remained until their transport arrived.

Although the gulls did fly in, they would not settle until after the children had departed.  Of the three gulls I did record, I noticed that   2ABL , had an injured leg and could not put any weight on it.  This injury must have occurred since Monday, as Suzanne made no mention of it, having re-sighted the gull during her visit.  It looks as if a few gulls are having a rough time of it, for whatever reason.

My thanks again to Suzanne for her input, especially as she lives in Lisburn and would have to drive nearly 20 miles to reach the Marina.

Re-sightings by Suzanne Belshaw  (Monday 13th June 2016)
 2AAC   2AAF   2AAV   2ABK   2ABF   2ABL   2ABS   2ADD   2ADJ   2ANS 

My Re-sightings  (Friday 17th June 2016)
 2ABL   2ADJ   2AAH 

Resident BHGs  -  Recorded During the 2016 Breeding Season
 2AAV   2AAP   2AAA   2ADD   2AAH   2ABK   2ABL   2BRA 
(3/12) (2/12) (5/12) (7/12) (7/12) (6/12) (7/12) (3/12)
(3/12) (8/12) (5/12) (3/12) (5/12) (3/12) (1/12) (2/12)
(Total Sightings / Total Visits)

Injured Black-headed Gull  -    2ABL   -  Antrim Marina  (17 Jun 2016)

Common Gull  -     2AJP  
During Suzanne Belshaw's visit to Antrim Marina on Monday 13th June to record the Black-headed Gulls present, she also spotted a pair of Common Gulls on the Long Jetty.  One of these was 'Darvic-ringed and Suzanne managed to obtain the code -   2AJP , as well as a couple of photos of the gull.

This is the first 'colour-ringed' Common Gull, to have been recorded at the Marina, since I began my visits back in September 2013.  We know this will be one from Shane Wolsey's study on the Copeland Islands in County Down and now await it's ringing details.

Common Gull  -    2AJP   -  Antrim Marina  (13 Jun 2016)
Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw

  2AJP  was also my first sighting, during my visit on Friday, along with it's mate.  I also spotted two male Mallards with 'metal-rings', but having taken a number of photos, I could only confirm one number - that of    5MN 1156 , ringed as a juvenile in June 2015, in County Monaghan.

Common Gull  -    2AJP   -  Antrim Marina  (17 Jun 2016)


      More from Inch Island       
In my last post, I reported on our second visit to Inch Island in County Donegal, to ring tern & gull chicks.  Being pushed for time, in order to keep disturbance to minimum, I completely forgot to take photos.

I emailed Marina Mulligan, whom I knew was taking photos and asked her if she could send me a couple of copies.  Marina has now sent me three pictures taken during our visit, for which I am very grateful to receive.  Thank you Marina.

The third and final visit to Inch, is planned for the forthcoming week.  Adam McClure and myself, will once again be concentrating on 'colour-ringing' Black-headed Gull chicks.  I am also keen to get a few snaps of the Common Tern eggs and chicks and perhaps to have the chance to ring a few of these youngsters as well.  Must mind to take a couple of  my 'memory pills' and not forget to take photos!!!

Myself, Gathering Black-headed Gull Chicks for Ringing  -  Inch Island  (08 Jun 2016)

Black-headed Gull Chick after Ringing  -  Inch Island  (08 Jun 2016)

Same Chick Heading for Cover to Hide  -  Inch Island  (08 Jun 2016)
Photos Courtesy of Marina Mulligan


      Ringing Red Kites in County Down       
Red Kites are Birds of Prey, that are now nesting again in Northern Ireland, following the release of chicks into the wild. These were obtained under licence, from nests on the British mainland and this summer 13 breeding pairs have been located so far.

On Saturday 18th June, I met up with Eimear Rooney (Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group) and Adam McClure (ex Red Kite Officer with the RSPB, who now runs the Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull Study), to have a chance to 'metal-ring' some of this year's chicks in County Down.

Having worked to the early hours of Saturday morning, Eimear and Adam had already ringed chicks at two sites by the time I met up with them.  Together, we went on to visit another three nest-sites and I had the pleasure of handling and ringing a couple of youngsters at two of these.  The Kites at the third site, had failed in their nesting attempt.

It was a real privilege to be given this opportunity and my thanks go to Eimear and Adam for inviting me along.  Older chicks are also 'wing-tagged', which are coloured and numbered, so these birds can be identified while in flight and is a means of keeping track of these individuals in the future.

Once again, I forgot to bring the camera, having left it in my car.  I had wanted to take photos of Eimear and Adam, scaling the trees to the nests.  Adam saved the day, by sending me a couple of photos taken from his phone.  It was great to add these exceptionally beautiful birds to my ringing totals.  I cant wait now for the Kites to reach and start breeding in County Antrim, where I can study them more closely. 

Red Kite Chick that I Ringed  -  County Down  (18 Jun 2016)
Photo Courtesy of Adam McClure

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