|Latest At Antrim Marina - Sunday 30th July 2017|
My main plan today, was to go back to County Down and hopefully read some more 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls. On route, I visited Antrim Marina briefly to record any of Adam's 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls.
The overall numbers of BHG's present were still quite small, though there is a large increase in the number of this summers fledged youngsters. I spent a while, enticing these youngsters with brown bread. My plan is to gain their confidence, which should help towards their capture for ringing at a later date.
During my visit, I recorded five 'colour-ringed' BHG's, all of which are residents in the area of the Marina. Next Sunday, I will be beginning my 5th winter of weekly visits, where I will be watching out for gulls returning for another winter. Hopefully, there will be a few new sightings here as well.
Black-headed Gulls sighted on Sunday 30th July 2017
A few Herring Gulls and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, were also present, again in larger numbers than normal. I kept an eye out for the 'colour-ringed' LBB Gull from Norway - J638Z , but had no luck. On Monday (31st July), I received an email from a John Parkinson. He was at Antrim Marina on Saturday 29th July and took photos of J638Z . At least we now know, that it is still 'hanging out' in the vicinity. My thanks to John for the sighting and photos.
Lesser Black-backed Gull - Norway J368Z - Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim (29 Jul 2017)
(Photo Courtesy of John Parkinson)
|Another Visit to County Down - Sunday 30th July 2017|
An hour long visit to the harbour at Groomsport, produced no ring sightings. Using bread to lure the gulls towards me, I had a larger than normal number of gulls around me, which included two Common Gulls, that readily took bread from my hand at the car window. This was a first, as I've never previously experienced this from Common Gulls.
Parking in the large car park by the Community Centre, fewer gulls appeared for the offering of bread. A single 'ringed' gull arrived, which was 2ACJ , a Common Gull that I spotted here on my last visit.
As usual, a few Rooks and Jackdaws arrived for a share of the bread. These included a shy Jackdaw bearing a 'metal-ring'. It stood well away from the car, but the camera just managed to capture the details on the ring. Checking the photos, I had clearly caught - EX99*66 , but the middle number was not that clear, though it looked like a ' 4 '.
Before reporting the Jackdaw to the British Trust for Ornithology, I sent an email to fellow 'Ring Reader' Graham Prole in Dublin. He agreed the number was a ' 4 ', so I have now reported the bird to the BTO. My thanks go to Graham - it's good to have a second opinion, when dubious numbers are encountered.
Jackdaw - EX99466 - Donaghadee, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Waiting on Ringing Details)
Around the area of the beach at Millisle, the number of gulls was greatly reduced from that of my previous visit. The Common Gulls here, which was my main target for rings, only numbered around 30 birds. One 'colour-ringed' Common Gull, was quickly sorted, being 2BBC . Four other gulls had 'metal-rings' and I picked out one of these and concentrated on it, successfully capturing the number - ET03580 .
Returning home and checking my sightings spreadsheet, this was my fourth sighting of the gull, which is the oldest British-rung Common Gull on my records. ET03580 , was ringed as a chick, on the 17th June 2000, on the nearby Copeland Islands. It is now 17 years, 1 month and 13 days, since it was ringed.
Common Gull - ET03580 - Millisle, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 17th June 2000, on the Copeland Islands, Co. Down)
There was too much movement with the three other 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls, so I had to be content with the one I had got. A 'metal-ringed' Herring Gull, was another sighting of the ever present - GA00153 , also recorded on my last visit.
Moving on to the southern car park on the Millisle seafront, around 30 Black-headed and 4 Common Gulls, were standing about. Looking through these with my binoculars, I spotted 1 Common and then 1 Black-headed Gull, with 'metal-rings'. My interest swung towards the Black-headed Gull, as it is rare to find 'ringed' birds of this species here.
Again, using bread to lure the gulls towards me, I soon had enough photos to piece the ring number of the BHG together. Reading - EG55708 , this was a new sighting for me and could well be an oldish gull. I reported it to the BTO and await it's ringing details.
Black-headed Gull - EG55708 - Millisle, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Waiting on Ringing Details)
With one gull sorted, my attention now focused on the Common Gull. Bearing an 'Upside-down' ring, it did not take long to obtain it's ring number - EW51730 . Returning home and checking my spreadsheet, this was another new sighting. As I now have a copy of all Shane Wolsey's, Common Gull ringing records, I soon established that EW51730 , was ringed as a chick, on the 23rd June 2009.
Again, ringed on the nearby Copeland Islands, I feel that it is important, to read as many 'metals' as possible in the Millisle area. Despite such birds being fairly local and of no great significance where movements are concerned, it is still important to confirm that these 'metal-rung' birds are still alive.
The duration for EW51730 , is 8 years, 1 month and 7 days and the Copelands are situated 8 kms / 5 miles, to the north from Millisle.
Common Gull - EW51730 - Millisle, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 23rd June 2009, on the Copeland Islands, Co. Down)
When I arrived at the harbour in Ballywalter, a fair number of Black-headed Gulls, along with a few Herring Gulls, could be seen standing around a parked car. They were obviously enjoying a few 'tit-bits', being threw out by the occupants.
Taking advantage, I parked close by and scanned the gulls with my binoculars, spotting a BHG with a 'metal-ring'. I thought to myself, that this would likely be ET02500 , and a number of photos later, the number was confirmed.
ET02500 , is the oldest Black-headed Gull on my records, having been ringed as a chick, on the 15th June 1998. It is now 19 years, 1 month and 15 days, since ET02500 was ringed on the Copeland Islands. Today's, was my fourth record for the gull and I'm well pleased to record both my oldest BHG and Common Gull on the same outing. It's great to see that both are going strong.
Black-headed Gull - ET02500 - Ballywalter Harbour, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 15th June 1998, on the Copeland Islands, Co. Down)
While I was checking my photos, a wild commotion broke out further along the harbour. A large number of Great Black-backed and Herring Gulls had gathered and were fighting for something lying on the roadway.
When I arrived at Ballywalter, most of these large gulls were resting on rocky islets well offshore, due to the high tide. Driving slowly past the gulls, I parked and could see what was causing such a fuss. Someone, had left a full 'uncut' loaf of bread lying and the 'battle was on', to see who could grab a piece.
I was now in a great position to view legs for rings and then spotted a Great Black-backed Gull with a 'Blue Darvic'. After taking a few photos, this turned out to be my second sighting of 3cv. I first spotted 3CV , on the beach at Ballywalter Harbour on the 12th March 2016 (Blog). David Nixon, then sighted 3CV on the 26th September 2016, on the Strangford Narrows, not too far away from Ballywalter.
Checking with Graham Prole, these are the only three records of 3CV , which was ringed as a chick, on the 6th July 2013, at Ireland's Eye, an island just off the coast from Howth in the Republic of Ireland.
Great Black-backed Gull - 3CV - Ballywalter Harbour, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 6th July 2013, on Ireland's Eye, Co. Dublin, R. of Ireland)
My final stop of the afternoon, was at the fishing village of Portavogie. The harbour here, fairly attracts the gulls and seals, in their wait for offal to be discarded from the fishing boats.
The first 'ring' spotted was 'metal', on a Herring Gull, perched on the rooftop of a warehouse. It soon flew off and I could not re-locate it. Driving around the harbour, I then spotted a Great Black-backed Gull with a 'Black Darvic'. This one turned out to be my third sighting of T7VZ , a bird that was ringed as a chick, on the 17th July 2013, on the Isle of Man.
My previous two sightings of T7VZ , were made in early 2016, when I recorded it, on the 13th and 27th February, here at Portavogie Harbour. As far as I know, the only other sighting of T7VZ , was at Ardglass Harbour, on the 3rd March 2014.
I did not expect to re-sight two 'colour-ringed' Great Black-backed Gulls in a row, but with 'Ring Reading', you never know what will crop up next.
Great Black-backed Gull - T7VZ - Portavogie Harbour, Co. Down (30 Jul 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 17th July 2013, on the Isle of Man)