Saturday, 23 September 2017

From Cameron Moore


      Colour-ring Sightings from Cameron Moore       
This post, has taken a fair bit of time to prepare.  Waiting on ringing details from those concerned, labeling Cameron's photos, working out distances and durations, etc., is by no means, an easy task.  Except for   KBC , the full re-sighting histories, are listed for each bird.

The task though, is worth the effort, should these sightings go un-reported.  This latest batch of sightings from Cameron, includes a juvenile Mediterranean Gull from Germany, which surely has to be the 'cream of the crop'.  My thanks to Cameron, for taking the time to inform me of his sightings, along with photos.  As I complete this post, another batch of sightings, plus photos, have been emailed to me by Cameron - 'here we go again'.  Cheers Cameron, seriously, keep them coming.

A juvenile Common Gull, has also been spotted by Cameron.  This is one I 'colour-ringed' this summer and has been included in separate posts (read &read ).

Mediterranean Gull  (Juvenile)  -  Germany    AY.CT   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (07 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
19 Jun 2017 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Leipzig Ringing Team Löbnitz Gravel Pits, Leipzig, Germany 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
02 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 1,261 kms / 783 miles (WNW) 0y  2m  14d
07 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 1,261 kms / 783 miles (WNW) 0y  2m  19d

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Sandwich Tern  -    KBC   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (03 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
?? ??? ???? Waiting on Ringing Details ????????????????? 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
03 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland  kms /  miles (-) ?y  ?m  ?d

This Tern belongs to Jez Blackburn, who works with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).  As I have yet to receive a reply, I can only assume that Jez is on holiday.  Under normal circumstances, Jez usually replies promptly to emails.

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Sandwich Tern  -    ETT   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (04 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
11 Jul 2003 Ringed as a Chick (U) by N.H. Soc. of Northumberland Coquet Island, Northumberland, England 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
09 Jul 2015 Controlled by Grampian Ringing Group Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 222 kms / 138 miles (NNW) 11y  11m  28d
17 Jul 2015 Spotted by Moray Souter Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 222 kms / 138 miles (NNW) 12y  0m  6d
26 Apr 2016 Spotted by Richard Somercocks Findhorn Bay, Morayshire, Scotland 288 kms / 179 miles (NW) 12y  9m  15d
29 Jun 2016 Spotted by Grampian Ringing Group Forvie NNR, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 222 kms / 138 miles (NNW) 12y  11m  18d
02 Jul 2016 Spotted by Ewan Weston Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 222 kms / 138 miles (NNW) 12y  11m  21d
20 Jul 2016 Spotted by Moray Souter Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 222 kms / 138 miles (NNW) 13y  0m  9d
04 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 273 kms / 169 miles (WSW) 14y  1m  24d

  ETT , probably went un-recorded since being ringed as a chick, until controlled (caught) by the Grampian Ringing Group.  Fitted with a 'colour-ring', the re-sighting history since then, proves how useful these rings are.  The June 2016 sighting at Forvie National Nature Reserve, is likely to be the chosen breeding site of   ETT .

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Sandwich Tern  -    EVN   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (04 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
15 Aug 2015 Ringed as an Adult (U) by the Grampian Ringing Group Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
04 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 366 kms / 227 miles (SW) 2y  0m  20d

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Sandwich Tern  -        -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (04 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
(30 Jun) 2008 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Alistair Smith Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
04 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 367 kms / 228 miles (SW) 9y  2m  5d

      (Lime over Red), was the colour combination used on each of 300 Sandwich Tern chicks ringed in 2008, by Alistair Smith.  All that we 'Ring Readers', can gain from the sighting, is the year of ringing and place of origin.  The only way, Terns, such as these, can be identified as individuals, would be to read their 'metal-ring', which under normal circumstances, would be impossible.

I have used the last day in June 2008, as a ringing date, from which I can work out the duration, since ringing.  I've reported the 'colour-ring' combination online to the BTO, hoping that they can furnish me with the actual ringing date.  At present, I'm still waiting on a reply.

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Sandwich Tern  -    KDJ   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
15 Sep 2015 Ringed as a Juvenile (U) by Tony Cross Ynyslas National Nature Reserve, Dyfed, Wales 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
05 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 168 kms / 104 miles (NNE) 1y  11m  21d

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Sandwich Tern  -  (White)  EBN  -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (02 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
16 Aug 2010 Ringed as an Adult (U) by The Grampian Ringing Group Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
28 Apr 2012 Spotted by R. Duncan & M. Souter Girdleness, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 20 kms / 12 miles (SSW) 1y  8m  12d
20 Jul 2015 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 367 kms / 228 miles (SW) 4y  11m  4d
24 Aug 2016 Spotted by P. Knight & R. Maciewicz Ainsdale Beach, Merseyside, England 418 kms / 259 miles (SSW) 6y  0m  8d
27 Aug 2016 Spotted by P. Knight & R. Maciewicz Ainsdale Beach, Merseyside, England 418 kms / 259 miles (SSW) 6y  0m  11d
07 Sep 2016 Spotted by P. Knight & R. Maciewicz Ainsdale Beach, Merseyside, England 418 kms / 259 miles (SSW) 6y  0m  22d
21 Aug 2017 Spotted by Gareth Platt Donaghdaee, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 370 kms / 229 miles (SW) 7y 0m  5d
28 Aug 2017 Spotted by Kevin Kirkham-Brown Kinnegar Beach, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 383 kms / 237 miles (SW) 7y  0m  12d
02 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 367 kms / 228 miles (SW) 7y  0m  17d

My sighting of (White) EBN, at Donaghadee in August 2017, was quickly followed, by further sightings from Kevin Kirkham-Brown and Cameron.  The Dutch juvenile   21.C  (see below), was in the same group as (White) EBN, on the 21st August and then spotted by Cameron, at Whitehead, on the 5th September.  These sightings, clearly suggest, that these Terns are feeding along the eastern coastline of Northern Ireland.

(White) EBN, is no stranger to Northern Ireland, having been sighted at Whitehead, by Cameron, in 2015.

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Sandwich Tern  -  (White)  KSL  -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (06 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
23 Jun 2015 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Tony Murray Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford, Rep. of Ireland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
08 Jul 2016 Spotted by Mark Boorman Mile 4 Salt Works, nr Swakopmund, Namibia 8,572 kms / 5,326 miles (SSE) 1y  0m  15d
06 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 287 kms / 178 miles (NNE) 2y  2m  14d

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Sandwich Tern  -  Holland    21.C   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (05 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
19 Jun 2017 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Ruben Fijn Scheelhoek, Haringvliet Inlet, SW Holland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
21 Aug 2017 Spotted by Gareth Platt Donaghadee, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 713 kms / 443 miles (WNW) 0y  2m  2d
05 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 726 kms / 451 miles (WNW) 0y  2m  17d

Re-sighted by Cameron Moore,   21.C , was one of a pair (  28.C ) of Dutch juvenile Sandwich Terns, that I spotted at Donaghadee, on the 21st August 2017.  They were among a small party of Sandwich and Common Terns, which also included (White) EBN, as mentioned above.

Read about these two youngsters in my blog posts (here & here).  These sightings, show, that all these Terns are feeding up on the Northern Ireland coastline, before they move on towards their wintering sites in Africa.

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Sandwich Tern (Juvenile)  -    KBS   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim  (04 Sep 2017)
(Photo Taken by Cameron Moore)
Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
21 Jun 2017 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Tony Murray Lady's Island Lake, Co. Wexford, Rep. of Ireland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
04 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland  287 kms /  178 miles (NNE) 0y  2m  14d

  KBS , is the second juvenile, spotted at Whitehead, by Cameron, having been ringed as a chick this summer, at Lady's Island Lake, in Co. Wexford.    KBT , was the other juvenile, reported in my previous post on Cameron's sightings (read).  In that particular post, I was waiting on the ringing details, for two juvenile Black-headed Gulls.  As of this post, the details, have not arrived.

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I'm keen to get this post out, my third today.  I do need to check over the details, but I'm pretty sure - all is correct.  My planned weekly visit to Antrim Marina tomorrow (Sunday 24th), will now be carried out on Monday morning instead.

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Sightings Reported...


      Black-headed Gull  -    2E18        
Recently, I have received two emails concerning gulls, that I have previously recorded.  The first of these, was from my ringing trainer, John Clarke.
 
On the 9th September 2017, John, made a visit to the Strand Road, in Coleraine, Co. Londonderry.  While there, he re-sighted the Scottish 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gull -   2E18 .  John, also sent me a photo of the gull, standing on the jetty, which is situated on the bank of the tidal River Bann.  I was also at the same jetty, in the last week of August, but there was no sign of any ringed BHGs that day.

Ringed by the Clyde Ringing Group, this is now the third consecutive winter, that   2E18 , has been recorded here.   My thanks to John, for the report and photo.  Below, I've added all the known sighting dates for this gull. this

Black-headed Gull  -    2E18   -  Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry  (09 Sep 2017)
(Photo Courtesy of John Clarke)

Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
24 Jun 2014 Ringed as a Chick (U) by The Clyde RG Elvanfoot, South Lanarkshire, Scotland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
26 Dec 2015 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 1y  6m  2d
03 Jan 2016 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 1y  6m  10d
30 Jan 2016 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 1y  7m  6d
26 Aug 2016 Spotted by John Clarke Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 2y  2m  2d
17 Oct 2016 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 2y  3m  23d
07 Dec 2016 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 2y  5m  13d
30 Dec 2016 Spotted by Gareth Platt Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 2y  6m  6d
09 Sep 2017 Spotted by John Clarke Strand Road, Coleraine, Co. Londonderry, N. Ireland 194 kms / 120 miles (W) 3y  2m  16d

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      Common Gull  -    2A06        
The second email arrived a few days ago, from a 'Ring Reader' in Scotland, who also happens to follow my blog.  Wishing to remain anonymous, he has re-sighted a Common Gull, which both Cameron Moore and I had spotted at Carrickfergus Harbour, here in County Antrim.

(G.B.), scoped   2A06 , at the Pow Burn, Prestwick, in Ayrshire, Scotland, on the 17th September 2017.  Having been ringed as an adult, during the breeding season in July 2015, we can assume, that   2A06  may well be on the move back to Northern Ireland, from it's nesting site at Westhill in Aberdeenshire - (presuming it again bred there again in 2017).

Unfortunately, (G.B), was unable to get a photo, but he did include an update on the gull's re-sighting history, which was sent to him.  It turns out, this was the first sighting, since Cameron spotted the gull in February 2016.  My sincere thanks goes to (G.B), for letting me know about   2A06  - (full re-sighting history below).

Common Gull  -    2A06   -  Carrickfergus Harbour, Co. Antrim  (12 Dec 2015)

Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
02 Jul 2015 Ringed as an Adult by The Grampian RG. Westhill, Aberdeenshire, Scotland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
12 Dec 2015 Spotted by Gareth Platt Carrickfergus Harbour, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 349 kms / 216 miles (SW) 0y  5m  10d
19 Feb 2016 Spotted by Cameron Moore Carrickfergus Harbour, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 349 kms / 216 miles (SW) 0y  7m  17d
17 Sep 2017 Spotted by (G.B) Pow Burn, Prestwick, Ayrshire, Scotland 232 kms / 144 miles (SW) 2y  2m  15d

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      Common Gull  -    2BBJ        
Another Common Gull, was the subject of a phone call recently, between Cameron Moore and myself.  Reporting, a number of his latest ring sightings, he included a juvenile Common Gull -   2BBJ  .  Actually, his initial thoughts on the 'colour-ring', was that it read -   Z88J .  I was able to correct Cameron on this, as it was a bird that I ringed as a chick on the 10th July 2017.
 
  2BBJ , was the last of 38, Common Gull chicks, which I 'colour-ringed' this summer and the first to be reported.  Ringed on the shoreline, between Waterfoot and Cushendall, in County Antrim,   2BBJ , has not travelled too far as yet.  Cameron's sighting at Whitehead, is just 41 kms / 25 miles, to the south-west from Waterfoot.  I was led to believe, that Cameron had taken a photo, but I have not received one as yet.

Date Details Location Distance / Direction Duration
10 Jul 2017 Ringed as a Chick (U) by Gareth Platt Waterfoot, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
09 Sep 2017 Spotted by Cameron Moore Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland 41 kms / 25 miles (SW) 0y  1m  30d

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Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Visit Delayed...


      Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina - Monday 18th September 2017       
I decided against, to carry out my normal Sunday visit to Antrim Marina, instead, making the long drive down to the western side of Strangford Lough.  Saturday, was poor weather-wise, as it rained for most of the day and I decided not to go out at all.

Visiting the Marina, today - Monday 18th, the weather was very mild and after a nippie start to the day, saw plenty of sunshine and a calm breeze.  This was the seventh of my weekly 'winter visits', recording 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, which saw   2AAP , being added to the 'winter list', increasing the total to 18 birds.

I had mentioned about the absence of   2AAP , in last week's post.  This is one of those gulls, that is normally 'under your feet' all the time and for that reason, I couldn't understand it's non-appearance before now.  Even, before I had a chance to take a photo,   2AAP  was off, not to be seen again for the remainder of my visit.

Overall, the number of Black-headed Gulls present throughout my visit, was very good, numbering around 80 to 100 birds.  Having said that, the turnover of gulls coming and going, must have been quite high.  I use 'ringed' birds, to judge the turnover, the higher the number present, the lower the turnover.  The juveniles, however, appear to remain longer than adults, as they are waiting on the ducks being fed and their chance for an easy meal.

A BHG appeared, that had just the one leg - it's left leg.  I thought at first, this was 'one-leg', a gull I have hand-fed, ever since I started coming to Antrim Marina.  I soon realised that this was not 'one-leg', as this bird was nervous and shy.  In the past, 'one-leg', has always made her presence known to me, by hovering at the window of my car, looking for a feed.  When I think about it, 'one-leg', is well overdue to arrive back for another winter.


Black-headed Gulls Recorded on Monday 18th September
 2AAN   T35J   2AAP   2ACV   2AAT   2ABF   2CJT 
 2AAB   2AAC   2ABK   2ABS   2AAK   2ABN    



This Week's Absentees
 2AAA   2ADJ   2AAF   2ABL   2BRA 


Black-headed Gull  -    2ABN   -  Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim  (18 Sep 2017)
(Ringed as an Adult Female, at Antrim Marina, on the 23rd January 2013)

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
None of the Herring Gulls, which have been present in the last few weeks, were seen today and neither was the Lesser Black-backed Gull, which had often been recorded as well.  Two adult Common Gulls appeared briefly, these most likely being the same two, as seen last week.  There is still no sign, of the 'metal-ringed' bird, which should be back in the area by now.

The family of Mute Swans (adult pair, plus 5 cygnets), were present throughout my visit.  Despite the efforts of the male, to chase off a group of 6 Swans, which swam in from the Lough, they all managed to come ashore on the small beach area.  Amongst these, were two ringed birds -   W34158 , who arrived back on the 27th August and   W34157 .  The last time, I recorded   W34157 , here at the Marina, was back on the 26th March 2017.

Mallard numbers, were just slightly lower, than of late, with around 80 birds present at all times.  Again, having checked the majority of legs on these, there were still rings to be seen.

Other species recorded, were 3 Hooded Crows (2 adults, 1 juvenile), 7 Jackdaws (6 adults, 1 juvenile), a pair of Pied Wagtails, a single Grey Wagtail and a juvenile Grey Heron, which landed for a few seconds on the wooden jetty.  Normally, I don't include birds flying over the Marina, but a party of around 40 Greylag Geese, flew low above me, heading northwards.

Elim Church, Parkhall & Antrim KFC
Having completed my visit to the Marina, I then checked the Elim Church at Parkhall for   2AAV  and the car park at the KFC outlet for the Norwegian   JK35 .

A larger than normal, number of BHGs, were at the Elim Church.  With about 60 birds attracted to the bread I was throwing out of the car window, but there was no sign of    2AAV .  A couple of adult and juvenile, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, were also very keen to grab some bread.

Although, there was 27 Black-headed Gulls at the KFC car park,   JK35   was not present.

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      Strangford Lough - Sunday 17th September 2017       
Today, I decided to try the western side of Strangford Lough, Co. Down, in my search for 'ringed' birds.  Seeing, as it is a long drive to get there and a lot of ground to cover, I put off the visit to Antrim Marina, until tomorrow (Monday).

In the end, I wondered why I bothered, as gull numbers, were no-where near as high, as I was expecting to find.  Having scoped, small groups of gulls of various species, the only 'rings' spotted, were on Sandwich Terns at Killyleagh.  Despite these having 'colour-rings', all were too distant, to be able to read them.

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I am hoping to post another feature, concerning ringed birds spotted by Cameron Moore and another one from Suzanne Belshaw.  I have started work on these and I'm waiting at present on ringing details arriving back from those concerned.

Amongst these, is the first sighting of a Common Gull chick, that I 'colour-ringed' this summer.  Although, not too far travelled from it's ringing site, it's nice to get your first reported sighting.  Hopefully, as the weeks pass, a few more will be spotted elsewhere.

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Numbers Increasing...

Aaah, running late again.  With the limited time that has been available for working on 'birdie' stuff, I've been busy with further ring sightings from Cameron Moore.  Sorting through a host of photos, labelling and reporting the birds to the revelent ringers, I'm almost ready to post another feature on Cameron's sightings.  I had intended to post a feature, concerning sightings by Suzanne Belshaw, but as she is waiting on a ringing report on a recently spotted juvenile BHG, it give's me a little time, to prepare an article.

      Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina - 10th September 2017       
Today, saw the 6th of my weekly winter visits to Antrim Marina, to record colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls from Adam McClure's Northern Ireland Study.  There was a change in the weather, being quite stormy, with strong westerly winds and frequent showers of rain, some quite heavy.

The conditions, led to an increase in the number of gulls present, with good numbers throughout most of my visit.  Around 10.30, there was a drop in gull numbers, but this did not last for long.  With the sighting of   2ACV , last Sunday, the overall number of 'colour-ringed' BHGs, had wrose to 17 on my winter list.  The expected total for this winter is 29, which includes T35J.

15 of these, were re-sighted today, the only absentees being   2ABL , which has lost it's 'colour-ring' and the Lithuanian - White T35J.    2ABL , can only be identified by it's 'metal-ring', but no gulls with just 'metals', were spotted today.

Three gulls already have me wondering, as they have not been sighted as yet.    2AAH , is a resident, while   2AAP  and   2AAD , appear to be winter visitors, usually being re-sighted at the Marina, in the latter part of the breeding season.  All three of these gulls, should have been spotted by now, as they are normally present from early August, going by past observations.  Having been recorded during the breeding season in previous years, for some reason   2AAH , has not been spotted this summer.  The last record of it's presence, was on the 12th February 2017.  Have we lost another gull?

  2ALH , a gull that bred here in the summer of 2016, remaining at the Marina, until the 11th September 2016, was not spotted this summer or during my recent winter visits.  At some point, I'll have to visit Ward Park, Bangor, County Down, to see if I can find it.  I found it wintering at this site, on the 18th and 24th December 2016, so a few visits to Ward Park, will be required to see if it is still alive.

Another BHG, which is considered as a winter visitor, is   2ABA .  I did spot   2ABA , in the weeks prior to the start of my winter visits, having recorded it's presence on the 16th July 2017.  Checking on it's re-sighting history,   2ABA , has never been recorded here during the months of April, May and June, alway re-appearing in mid July.  I am surprised, that   2ABA  has not been re-sighted of late.

With   2AAV , having been spotted in Antrim's Parkhall Housing Estate and   2ADD , having now most likely, returned to it's wintering quarters in Carrickfergus, the next returnee, should be   2AAR .  This gull, is known to breed in Poland and usually returns to the Marina during October.  I would expect to see it back, either on Sunday 8th or Sunday 15th.  Two other gulls, which may reappear in early to mid October, are   2ACX  and   2ADV .  Their return dates, from past records, are a bit more erratic, making it harder to guess dates for them.

On departing from the Marina just after 1pm, a quick count of the BHGs still present, gave me a total of around 100.  At this time, the only 'colour-ringed' bird present, was   2CJT .  The overall winter list, remains at 17 'colour-ringed' gulls.


Black-headed Gulls Spotted Today at Antrim Marina  -  10th September 2017
 2ABK   2ACV   2ABF   2AAT   2AAC   2AAB   2ADJ   2AAN 
 2CJT   2AAK   2AAF   2BRA   2ABS   2ABN   2AAA    


Today's Absentees
 T35J   2ABL 


Other Birds at Antrim Marina
The family group of Mute Swans, - 2 adult and 5 cygnets, were present throughout my visit.  A single swan, swam in from the lough, just before 10.30 and turned out to be   W34158 .  I'm thinking that the lack of swans visiting the Marina, is due to the male from the family group, chasing off other swans.  I saw this happening last week and today, when   W34158 , attempted to swim round from the small beach to the slipway, it too, was chased off.

Mallard numbers, were consistantly high, with around 100+ birds being present throughout my visit.  I am still waiting to spot my first Mallard this winter, with a 'metal-ring'.

The adult pair of Herring Gulls, were present throughout my visit, but strangely, their chick/chicks, did not appear until 11am, when both youngsters arrived together, much to the excitement of their parents.  With both begging food from the adults, one of the juveniles departed soon afterwards, which still leaves me wondering about the parentage on this one.

A single adult Lesser-Black-backed Gull, was present throughout my four hour visit.

Two adult Common Gulls arrived together, around 12.00 and were still present on my departure, just after 1pm.  I'm now expecting to see the re-appearance of   EY64036 , a small female Common Gull, which has wintered in the area, since arriving as a juvenile during the winter of 2013/14.

Other species recorded today, were, 3 Hooded Crows, 8 Jackdaws and a single Grey Wagtail.  Just like last Sunday, a juvenle Hooded Crow and juvenile Jackdaw, both took pieces of bread, which had been placed on the wing mirror of my car.  The placement of the bread, is to gain the confidence of the juvenile Black-headed Gulls, with the view of catching them on a later date, to be ringed.

Elim Church, Parkhall & Antrim's KFC Outlet
Having spotted Black-headed Gull's,   2AAV  in Parkhall and the Norwegian -   JK35 , at Antrim's KFC outlet, last Sunday, neither bird was spotted at these sites today.  The number of BHGs at the KFC, had increased significantly to over 50 birds, mainly adults.

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      Belfast - Sunday 10th September 2017       
On leaving the Antrim area on Sunday, I drove on down to Belfast, visiting Whitehouse Lagoon, the former Belfast Waterworks and Victoria Park.

Whitehouse Lagoon
Arriving here, I watched, as the remaining mudflats disappeared under an incoming tide.  15 minutes later, they were gone, but this gave me the time to scope the small number of gulls still present and around 300 Black-tailed Godwit's.  Hope's were high on spotting a 'ringed' Godwit, but luck was not on my side today.  With all legs hidden, I moved on to the Waterworks.

Belfast Waterworks
I spent a long time here, as there were plenty of gulls and Mute Swans, especially on the lower lake.  In the end, the only ring recorded, was on a Greylag Goose - White 204.  Ringed as an adult female, on the 12th February 2016, at Victoria Park in Belfast, my only previous sighting of this goose, was made on the 29th January 2017, here at the Waterworks.  Also bearing a satellite collar, this goose belongs to a study on this species and their impact with flights at Belfast City Airport.

Female Greylag Goose  -  White 204  -  Belfast Waterworks  (10 Sep 2017)

Victoria Park
Although, there were plenty of Black-headed and other species of gull, around the park's lake, I was disappointed not to spot any 'ringed' birds.  This is a site, where I have previously spotted a number of 'ringed' Black-headed Gulls and Greylag Geese, so a repeat visit shortly, will be a priority.
 
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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Youngster Returns...

Since a thunderstorm, just over two weeks ago, we have suffered poor or no internet coverage.  This has caused quite a problem, trying to produce or research anything online.  Thursday, saw the arrival of a new router and now things or back to normal.

My intention today (Saturday 9th), was to remain at home and catch up on everything that needs doing, including this post, which should have gone online earlier in the week.  As usual, things do not go to plan.  I have decided, once again, to post an un-finished article and hope to add the rest of the 'meat' tomorrow evening.

After my weekly visit to the Marina in the morning, I intend to go looking for rings, so the blog will have to wait, until I return home. 


      Antrim Marina - Sunday 3rd September 2017       
The weather, was quite mild for this, my 5th weekly visit of the 2017/18 winter season at Antrim Marina.  With 16 Black-headed Gulls on the winter list, this increased by one, as my first sighting of the day was   2ACV .

Last seen at the Marina on the 26th February 2017,   2ACV  probably breeds somewhere around Leighton Moss in Lancashire, England, having been spotted there in late April 2016.  At present, Adam is not responding to emails, so I cannot check to see whether   2ACV , was spotted during the breeding season this summer.

On the whole, likely due to the mild weather, the number of Black-headed Gulls visiting the Marina, was fairly low.  With 27 counted on my arrival, a peak of around 80 to 90 birds, were present between 10.30 and 11am.  Numbers dropped after this, with around 40 gulls, mostly juveniles present when I departed, just after 1pm.

I spent a good part of the morning, teasing some of the juvenile Black-headed Gulls, to fly up and lift bits of bread from the wing mirror of my car.  I'm trying to gain their confidence, with the view of catching some of these by hand at a later date, so that they can be ringed.

As well as   2ACV , a further 7 colour-ringed BHGs were recorded, with 9 birds from this winters list, being absent.  When I departed, around 100 BHGs, were well spread out, feeding on the playing fields close to Antrim Forum.  They were not there, when I drove down the avenue to the Marina at 09.15, this morning.


Black-headed Gulls Spotted Today  -  3rd September 2017
 2ACV   2CJT   2ABS   2AAF   2ADJ   2BRA   2AAA   2ABF 



This Week's Absentees
 T35J   2AAT   2AAK   2AAC   2ABN   2ABK   2AAB   2AAN   2ABL 


Black-headed Gull  -    2ACV   -  Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim  (03 Sep 2017)
(Ringed as an Un-sexed Juvenile, on the 21st October 2013, at Antrim Marina)


Other Birds at Antrim Marina
No Mute Swans, were present on my arrival, but the pair with the five cygnets, appeared from up-river, soon afterwards.  At 11.15, three adult Mute Swans, attempted to swim in from the Lough, but were quickly chased away, by the male from the family group.

Mallard numbers were again high, with 70 birds at first, increasing to around the 100 mark, by the time of my departure.  Again, no rings spotted on any of these.

The juvenile Herring Gull, was present all morning, as was one of it's parents.  A single Lesser Black-backed Gull, arrived at 11.35 and was still present on my departure.  An adult Common Gull, appeared at 11.57, but only stayed for around 10 minutes.

Other species noted were, 4 Hooded Crows, 9 Jackdaws and 3 Grey Wagtails.  One Hooded Crow and Jackdaw, both juveniles, plucked up the courage to take bread from my wing mirror, which had been placed there for the Black-headed Gulls.  This shows, just how hungry these youngsters are now becoming.

Elim Church, Parkhall and Antrim KFC
Moving on from Antrim Marina, I made my now usual stops at the Elim Church in Parkhall and Antrim's KFC outlet.    2AAV , was spotted at the Church, where it can be found quite often during the winter months.  Occasionally, it will travel down to the Marina, then I can add it to the winter list.  I took a photo of   2AAV , but it was blurred, so I've decided not to use it.

Around 30 Black-headed Gulls, were at Antrim's KFC outlet.  The only ring spotted, was my second sighting this winter, of the Norwegian-rung   JK35 .  No blurred photo for this time.

Black-headed Gull  -     JK35   -  Antrim KFC, Co. Antrim  (03 Sep 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2014, nr Stavanger, Norway)

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      Ringing Details Recieved       
Ruben Fijn, has kindly sent me the ringing details for the two juvenile Sandwich Terns, which I spotted on the 21st August 2017 (Read Here), just to the north of Donaghadee in County Down.  I had questioned the origin of these two juveniles, as the codes on their rings, were only seven digits apart.

Checking the cr-birding website, the rings were Dutch, which was later confirmed by Mardik Leopold, through contact by Ewan Weston, of the Grampian Ringing Group in Scotland.

One of the two juveniles, despite being just 2 months, since it was ringed, has already provided quite an interesting re-sighting history.  Full details for both Terns, are given below.


Date Details Location / Direction Distance Duration
19 Jun 2017 Ringed as a Chick by Ruben Fijn Scheelhoek, Haringvliet Inlet, SW Holland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
21 Aug 2017 Spotted by Gareth Platt Donaghadee, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 713 kms / 443 miles (NW) 0y  2m  2d
Details for Sandwich Tern    21.C 

  28.C , has fairly covered the miles since being ringed.  Although the table shows the distance and direction from the ringing site to the location of sighting, it does not give the total milage this young tern has covered.

Having flown from the ringing site, to Newbiggin by the sea,   28.C , then travelled back across the North Sea, to Northern Holland, which added another 468 kms / 290 miles to it's journey.  The direct distance from De Koog, to Donaghadee, added another 696 kms / 432 miles, making a grand total of 1,689 kms / 1, 048 miles.

It is very unlikely, that   21.C  or   28.C , flew directly over the English Mainland in order to reach Northern Ireland.  They could have gone via the north coast of Scotland, then south-wards down the Irish Sea, or took the southerly route around England, then north-wards up the Irish Sea.  Either direction, would added significantly to the distance covered.


Date Details Location / Direction Distance Duration
19 Jun 2017 Ringed as a Chick by Ruben Fijn Scheelhoek, Haringvliet Inlet, SW Holland 0 kms / 0 miles 0y  0m  0d
12 Jul 2017 Spotted by Steve Holliday Newbiggin by the Sea, Northumberland, England 525 kms / 326 miles (NW) 0y  0m  23d
30 Jul 2017 Spotted by Mardik Leopold De Koog, Texel, N Holland 151 kms / 94 miles (NNE) 0y  1m  11d
21 Aug 2017 Spotted by Gareth Platt Donaghadee, Co. Down, Northern Ireland 713 kms / 443 miles (NW) 0y  2m  2d
Details for Sandwich Tern    28.C  

Map Showing Sites Mentioned Above

My thanks go to Ewan and Mardik for their assistance and also to Ruben, for supplying the details on these young terns.

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      The People's Park, Ballymena       
I have been visiting my local park quite often of late.  For some reason, gull numbers have been fairly low or non existent, through the months of July and August.  In past autumn's, Black-headed Gull numbers, would frequently reach 100 to 150 birds, these mainly being juveniles.  The park's lake, often seems like a nursery for these young gulls.

Around 50 Black-headed Gulls, were present, during my visit on Friday the 1st September.  Luring these with bread, onto the pebble covered shore of the lake, I noticed a 'Black Darvic'.  Straight away, I thought to myself, that this was the youngster from last winter, though I could'nt mind it's ring number.

Zooming in with my camera, my suspicions were correct, it was   2AXV , sporting it's near adult plumage.  Ringed as a chick in June 2016, at Marsh Lane Nature Reserve, near Coventry, England, I first spotted   2AXV , at the People's Park, on the 23rd October 2016 (Read).  During the winter, I recorded   2AXV , on 10 occasions, with the last sighting being made on the 11th March 2017.  Great, to see it again, alive and well.  Hopefully, it will stay here until next spring.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AXV   -  The People's Park, Ballymena, Co. Antrim  (01 Sep 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 7th June 2016, at Marsh Lane NR, nr Coventry, England)

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