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.


      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.

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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