Monday, 18 July 2016

An Exceptional Re-sighting...


      Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina       
Only the one visit has been undertook at Antrim Marina this week.  I called in on Friday 15th July and recorded twelve 'Darvic-ringed' Black-headed Gulls from Adam McClure's Study.  Two of these re-sightings were of   2ABN  and   2ABA , the first time these gulls have been spotted during the summer.  They were last noted at the Marina on the 28th February and the 6th March respectively.

It is obvious, that they have bred elsewhere and have now returned for the winter, much like   2AAN , which had appeared back on last week's visits.  The decision to make an effort in recording the 'Resident' gulls during the summer, not only confirmed the local breeders, but is now providing extra information by providing the return dates of gulls that did not breed locally.

As I did not make weekly visits in the past, until the start of August, these gulls would have already arrived back and I would have been none the wiser as to their status at the Marina.  This new info, adds to my study of the BHGs here and provides Adam with invaluable records for his project.

Judging by my previous sightings, the next three Black-headed Gulls due to return, should be    2AAK ,   2ACV  and   2AAD .  If my predictions are correct, they will be back within the next couple of weeks and likely in that order.  The Lithuanian bred - White T35J, should arrive back on the 2nd or 3rd week of August.

One gull is causing me some concern, that being   2AAP .  It is a definite 'Resident' at the Marina, having being recorded during the summer on random visits in 2015, but only twice over the course of this summer.  I class this gull as one of those, that is always under your feet, much like   2AAT .  For some reason, it has not been spotted now, since the 3rd of June.

In the second table below, I have now omitted the word 'Resident', as the last five gulls are clearly not the case, with just   2AAT  being a possible exception.


Black-headed Gull Sightings  -  Friday 15th July 2016
 2AAT   2ABL   2AAF   2ADJ   2ALH   2ABN 
2AAA 2ABA 2ABK 2ABS 2ADD 2AAB


BHGs  -  Recorded During the 2016 Breeding Season
 2AAV   2AAP   2AAA   2ADD   2AAH   2ABK   2ABL   2BRA   2AAB   2ADJ   2ABF 
(6/19) (2/19) (7/19) (11/19) (8/19) (10/19) (9/19) (7/19) (6/19) (12/19) (6/19)
2ANS 2AAC 2ABS 2ALH 2AAF 2AAT 2AAN 2AFR 2ABN 2ABA
(6/19) (8/19) (8/19) (6/19) (7/19) (5/19) (2/19) (1/19) (1/19) (1/19)
(Total Sightings / Total Visits)


Black-headed Gull  -    2ABN   -  Antrim Marina  (15 Jul 2016)

Black-headed Gull  -    2ABA   -  Antrim Marina  (15 Jul 2016)

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      Ringing Details Received       
Shane Wolsey has sent an email with the ringing and re-sighting details of Common Gull -   2ANJ , which I spotted at Millisle on the 2nd July 2016.

It was ringed as a chick on the 11th June 2012, at the Copeland Islands, situated just a few kilometres away from Millisle.  The only previous re-sighting of this gull, was on the 19th October 2013, also at Millisle.

My thanks go to Shane for providing this information.

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      Black Guillemot Re-Sighted At Glenarm Harbour       
As I stated in my last post, whenever I'm on the east coast checking on Raptor nests, I never pass Glenarm Harbour or Carnlough Bay, without stopping to check for ringed seabirds.

At Glenarm Harbour, I have especially been on the lookout for two Black Guillemots, that I spotted on the 26th June 2015.  One of these bore a 'metal-ring', on which I was not able to get any details, as the bird was always in the water when seen.  So far, I have not spotted this Guillemot.

The second Guillemot, had a yellow 'Darvic-ring' with the code FT.  After numerous visits over the last few weeks, I finally re-sighted   FT  on the 13th July.  It is using the same nest-hole in the harbour wall, as it did last year.  (Click Here) to read last year's post, which includes the ringing and re-sighting details.

Black Guillemot  -    FT   -  Glenarm Harbour  (13 Jul 2016)

Black Guillemot  -    FT   -  Glenarm Harbour  (13 Jul 2016)

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      Two New 'Metals' In County Down       
On Saturday 16th July, I had to go to Belfast, after which, I decided to go and pay another visit to Millisle, to try for some more 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls.

On arrival, the tide was well out and the few gulls that were about, was well spread out on the sands feeding.  I did however, tempt some of these to the car park with bread.  With it being such a warm sunny day, there were lots of folk around and my attempts to photograph 'metal-rings' was seriously hindered, by walkers frightening the gulls away.

I did attract three Common Gulls with 'colour-rings', also another three with 'metals' on their right leg.  A 'metal-ringed' Herring Gull also arrived for it's share of the bread.  The 'colour-rings', were quickly sorted, being the regular sightings here,   2BBC ,   2ACA   and   2ADX .

The method I adopt for obtaining 'metals', is to pick a bird and not take my eyes off it, while at the same time, taking snaps of the ring.  By throwing bread in different directions, this gets the gulls moving around, so I can hopefully obtain pictures of different parts of the ring.  Should a gull fly off, I would delete the photos and start again on another ring.

With three 'metals' present, I had an awful time trying to get pictures, due to walkers.  After several attempts, I did manage to complete the number for one Common Gull -   EX38128 .  Checking my records after returning home, this was another new sighting and I have now reported it to the BTO.

Looking over my records, I have two outstanding partials for Common Gulls here at Millisle, these being   **72536  and   E*12513 .  Hopefully at some point, I will complete these numbers should the gulls turn up again.  Although all the 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls, that I have been recording at Millisle, originated on the nearby Copeland Islands, I feel that it is important to record these, as many of the gulls would otherwise go un-noticed, even after their death.

I was able to quickly obtain the number on the 'metal-ringed' Herring Gull -   GA00153 .  A re-sighting, I first recorded this one on the 24th December 2015.  Having been ringed as a chick on the Copelands on the 22nd June 2005, this once shy gull is not shy anymore and is now allowing close approach.

New Sighting  -  Common Gull  -    EX38128   -  Millisle  (16 Jul 216)

Re-Sighting  -  Herring Gull  -    GA00153 (Upside-Down Ring)   -  Millisle  (16 Jul 2016)

After Millisle, I drove on down to Ballywalter Harbour.  The only ring to be found there was on a Black-headed Gull.  I successfully obtained the number on the 'metal', which started with the letters   ET .  I knew by these letters, this was the gull that I got a partial number for on the 31st January 2016 here at Ballywalter Harbour.

Back then, I noted the number as being   ET0**** , but looking at today's photos, I was not completely convinced whether the first number was a '0' or an '8'.  Having settled for '0', I emailed copies of the photos to fellow 'Ring Watcher' Graham Prole in Dublin, for his opinion.  Graham reckoned it was an '8', so I have now reported this BHG to the BTO as   ET82500 .

My thanks to Graham (Graham's Blog) for his opinion. 

Completed Ring Number  -  Black-headed Gull  -    ET82500   -  Ballywalter  (16 Jul 2016)

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      An Exceptional Re-Sighting       
Adam McClure contacted me recently, concerning one of the BHGs from his Northern Ireland Study.  This re-sighting of a NI bred bird, is quite exceptional.  I recorded the same gull -   2ALP , on two occasions last winter, which had been the only records of it since being ringed as a chick in 2013.  Adam will be posting the details on his Blog later this evening.  (Click Here) here to view it. 

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