Wednesday, 5 October 2016

'GPS Collar'...

I have not had much time to get 'out and about' of late and this is also reflected in this late posting - again!

It is now early Wednesday afternoon and I'm ready to publish my latest post.  To finish, I'd like to congratulate my son Adrian and his wife Hollie, on the birth of their second child, a wee girl. Congratulations.
      Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina - Sunday 2nd October 2016       
What a brilliant Autumn's morning this was, being very sunny and hardly a ripple to be seen out on the Lough.  The Black-headed Gulls were not showing as well today, obviously being able to find natural food elsewhere.  A head-count on my arrival, totalled 69 gulls.  Maximum numbers, never exceeded the 150 mark and hardly any gulls were present after 11.15am.

So far this winter, 24 'colour-ringed' BHGs from Adam's Study, have been recorded at Antrim Marina.  I recorded 16 of these during my latest visit.  No new sightings were made today, so I am now expecting the return of   2ADV ,   2AAR  and   2ACX , over the course of the following two Sundays.  Assuming they make it back, they will be bang on time, based on their records over previous winters.

There is still no sign of the youngster -   2CJR .  I'm reckoning, this gull has moved on.

Black-headed Gull recorded on Sunday 2nd October 2016
 2ABN   2ABK   2AAH   2AAN   2ACV   2AAT   2BRA   2AAD 
 2ABS   2ABL   2ABF   T35J   2ADJ   2AAP   2AAF   2AAC 

Those Absent
 2AAK   2AAA   2ABA   2AAB   2AAV   2ANS   2ALH   2CJR 

Other Birds at the Marina
Two adult Common Gulls visited the Marina today.  The first of these to be spotted, was the Scottish-rung bird   EY64036  at around 09.40.  It is my second sighting of this gull, having returned on the 4th September 2016, for it's fourth winter at the site.  A juvenile Herring Gull appeared at 09.48 and hung around for about an hour.

The first thing to strike me when I arrived this morning, was the lack of Mallards, with only 10 birds being counted.  Numbers quickly increased, with small groups flying in from the Lough.  A rough count at around 10.30, gave me a total of around 70 birds, non of which were ringed.

Only two Mute Swans were present at first, both un-ringed.  They were more than likely to be, two of the three birds, that are normally spotted each week.  One of these, was the swan I noted last Sunday, with the fish-hook still caught up on it's leg.  At 09.25, another Mute Swan, along with her two cygnets arrived in from the Lough.  These are a new family, as previously broods of four and five have been recorded.

Just after the arrival of this new family, another cygnet arrived from up-river and had no parents with it.  At 09.45, the swan with the four cygnets, mentioned above, arrived in from the Lough.  I knew this was the same family recorded previously, as the female is very aggressive towards all of the other swans.  A male, following a short distance behind them, was probably the father.

I next spotted another adult swan.  This one slipped in un-noticed and was probably the bird that makes up the usual trio.  By this time, I had a total of 5 adults and 7 cygnets present.  The final two swans to arrive, came in from the Lough at 10.35.  These were the 'metal-ringed' birds -   W34158  and   Z91982 .

The only other species to be seen on today's visit, were, a single Hooded Crow, a pair of Pied Wagtails and a maximum count off 11 Jackdaws.

Elim Church, Parkhall & Antrim KFC
Following on from my visit to Antrim Marina, I made my now customary visits to the Elim Church at Parkhall and the nearby KFC outlet.  There was no sign of   2AAV  at Elim Church, though 19 other Black-headed Gulls, shared a few slices of bread.

At the car park of the KFC outlet, the Norwegian   JK35   is still absent.  My last sighting of this BHG, was made on the 11th September.  The Finnish Black-headed Gull -   ST239.172 , is still present.  This is the third Sunday running, that I have recorded it here.  There is still reply from Finland, giving it's ringing details.

Black-headed Gull  -  Finland    ST239.172    -  KFC, Antrim Town  (02 Oct 2016)


      Ringing Details Received       
Back in August, I joined a party of other birdwatchers on a boat trip to visit the island of Ailsa Craig in Scotland.  The island is well known for it's colony of nesting Gannets, which number 80 to 100,000 breeding and non-breeding birds.  On the trip, I met Neill McMullan and his son Matt, who live in Ballyclare in County Antrim.

Neill informed me about a 'metal-ringed' Oystercatcher, that they had found dead in the car park of the KFC outlet in Larne, on the 17th August 2016.    FH53746  had a very short life, having been ringed as a chick on the 9th June 2016, at Lynemore, Glen Quaich, in Scotland.

Neill's finding came 69 days after the chick was ringed, having flown 223 kms / 138 miles south-west to get to Northern Ireland.  It looks very likely that this was a road casualty.  Of interest, is the rapid movement into Northern Ireland, considering the time taken before fledging and being strong enough to fly the distance.

My thanks goes to Neill and his son Matt for informing me about this poor youngster.

Lynemore, Scotland to Larne, Northern Ireland


      Sunday 2nd October 2016       
On completion of my weekly visit to the Antrim area, I drove up to County Donegal to do a little exploring, also calling in to the lake at Inch Island.  After this, I drove back round to the Northern Ireland side of Lough Foyle, to see if I could record any more 'colour-ringed' Brent Geese.

Inch Island Lake
As soon as I arrived at Inch, I noticed that the number of Canada Geese present had increased since my previous visit.  Most of these were on the water, but I scoped them all, just in case any would have 'neck-collars'.  Swans were also looked at, all Mute's, but no Whooper's this time.

Unlike my previous visits here, there were hardly any Greylag Geese around.  The few that were on site, could be seen on the small island.  Scoping these, I noticed one bird with an orange 'Neck-Collar'.  Zooming in with the camera, I just about managed to get the code   A|CZ .  This was a re-sighting of one of four Greylags that I first recorded here, on the 17th September 2016.  At present, I am still waiting on the ringing details of these geese.

Greylag Goose  -    A|CZ   -  Inch Island Lake, County Donegal  (02 Oct 2016)

Once again, just for interest, I've added a photo of the small island, showing where   A|CZ  was located (red box) and the distance I had too zoom in from with the camera.

The island on Inch Island Lake  -  (02 Oct 2016)

Lough Foyle
Now on the search for Brent Geese, I stopped by Faughanvale first.  The tide was still fairly well out and geese were scoped in the distance on the water's edge.  As I knew the tide would now be on it's way in, it was safer to stay off the mudflats.  Scoping further north along the edge, I spotted a small group of Brents.

Driving round, I parked near Carrickhugh Bridge and walked a short distance along the shoreline to get to the geese.  Scoping these, just one was spotted with 'colour-rings'.  After taking a series of photos, I was able to get the codes on each leg - White S, Red B.

Having informed Graham McIlwaine, I received a copy of it's file.  This goose was ringed on the 11th February 2010, at Red Arches Road, Baldoyle, just to the north-east of the City of Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland.

Since 2010, there has been many re-sightings of this goose, mainly in the Baldolye Bay / Dublin Bay areas, during the winter months.  On a couple of occasions, it has been sighted at Strangford Lough, in Autumn and Spring, during migration.  It has been spotted on three occasions in Iceland - 2012, 2013 & 2014, on route to the breeding grounds within the Arctic Circle.

While at Carrickhugh Bridge, I met a man by the name of Neill Ross (hope I remembered correctly).  We had a long chat, and he was fascinated to learn about the ringed-geese and my ring finding in general.  He enjoyed viewing my photos of the goose and would keep an eye out on this Blog for it's re-sighting history.  Hi again Neill, if you read this.

Brent Goose  -  White S,  Red B  -  Carrickhugh Bridge  (02 Oct 20160

Ballykelly Bank
After my long chat with Neill, by the time I reached Ballykelly Bank, the tide was now making great advances towards the shoreline.  500 to 600 Brent Geese were busy feeding and were slowly being pushed in with the rising tide.  Scoping these, I spotted several 'colour-ringed' birds.  Having got settled, I waited for them to come into good camera range.

Soon afterwards, all the geese, gulls and waders took to the air.  It was not people that frightened them this time.  A female Sparrowhawk came from the direction of the fields and flew low over the mudflats.  It made no attempt to pursue anything, but my group of geese broke into two parties, the larger of which flew towards Faughanvale.

The smaller party, numbering around 150 birds, landed again a short distance away, on the other side of the Ballykelly River.  Having to walk all the way back to the car, where I could get across the river, I slowly edged towards the geese.  Scoping them, I spotted two 'colour-ringed' birds, but these were hard to track as they were over knee deep in water.

One goose had a 'blue-ring' on each leg and the other was ringed with blue and yellow rings (B7YV).  The latter of the two, really caught my attention, as I noticed that it was also fitted with a 'GPS Collar'.  I stayed focused on this bird, to try and photograph it showing both rings, as well as the collar.  Despite all my attempts, I could only get photos showing one ring at a time.

Reporting this bird to Graham McIlwaine, he had spotted the same goose here on the 14th September 2016, and had to confess, that he had failed to notice the 'Collar'.  Interestingly, B7YV was then reported to him (including the presence of a 'Collar'), on the 23rd September, at Strangford Lough in County Down.

The distance between the two sites is around 104 kms / 65 miles, presuming the bird few directly over-land.  Collectively, these are the first reports of this goose, as it was only ringed on the 17th May 2016, in the west of Iceland.  Graham is going to try and locate B7YV and attempt to download the data from the 'Collar'.  If successful, he will forward the details to me.

My thanks again to Graham.  This is the first goose that I've spotted with a 'GPS Collar' and I know there is a few others around somewhere.
'GPS Collard' Brent Goose  -  Blue 7, Yellow V  -  Ballykelly Bank  (02 Oct 2016)

'GPS Collard'  Brent Goose  -  Blue 7, Yellow V  -  Ballykelly Bank  (02 Oct 2016)


No comments: