Wednesday, 4 October 2017

All Present...

      Black-headed Gulls At Antrim Marina - Monday 2nd October 2017       
I arrived at the Marina to carry out my weekly Sunday visit, only to discover I had left the key-fob for the car park barrier, at home.  The key-fob, is a must, as this allows me to park close to the gulls, with the car being used as a hide and also protects me from the weather.  This is especially useful, in periods of stormy, icy or wet conditions.  I therefore, decided to return this morning - (Monday 2nd October).

Actually, this played right into my hands, as the gale force conditions, meant all the gulls present, stood on the ground, all around my car.  Around 11am, with most gulls settled, I counted 179 birds altogether.  Another small number of gulls, could be seen at the distant breakwater, among these were Common Gulls.  I reckon that the overall total of gulls, coming and going, would have easily exceeded 250 birds altogether.

On my previous visit here,   2ABA , increased the 'winter list', to 19 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, recorded to date.  Today, saw   2AAV , being added to the list, as well as all 19, of the other BHGs.
  2AAV , is an all year resident, breeding out on the 'Torpedo Platform' during the summer and spending most of the winter at the Elim Church, in Antrim's Parkhall Housing Estate.

Today, also saw the greatest number of both adult and juvenile Black-headed Gulls, being hand fed from the car window.  I have been enticing the gulls over previous weeks and some are now extremely confident, coming to me.  Even, one of the Hooded Crow's, easily comes to my hand.

As Adam, has still not responded to emails, I decided to contact the BTO, asking whether I could use my 'Blue Colour-rings', on the Black-headed Gulls as well.  These were meant solely to be used on Common Gulls and at present, I holding the following series of rings -   2A** ,   2B** ,   2C** ,   2D** ,
  2F**   and   2H** .  So far, the   2A** ,   2B**  and the   2H** , series of rings are in use, on Common Gulls.

If I was allowed to use the   2C**   series, on Black-headed Gulls, this would give me 196 rings for them.  I could then ask my 'Ringing Trainer', to supervise the capture and ringing of BHGs.  I am very keen, to see more gulls ringed here, especially as there are birds from several nations, known to winter here.  Fingers crossed now, to see what the outcome is from the BTO.

As mentioned above, all the 'colour-ringed' BHGs, were recorded today - so no absentees.    2AAD  and   2AAH , still have not appeared and under normal circumstances, would have been present today.  This continues to fuel my belief, that we've lost them.  Another gull, which I have pondered about, is   2ANS .

Ringed, as a juvenile, during the winter of 2015/2016,   2ANS , was resident throughout 2016/2017, last being recorded here, on the 25th June 2017.  I am now wondering, if we've lost this one as well.  Now that we are into October, the next two arrivals, should be   2AAR , from Poland and   2ADV .  Where   2ADV , breeds at, is still unknown, but both gulls are expected to return around the 15th October.

Black-headed Gulls Recorded on Monday 2nd October 2017
 2ABK   2AAN   2AAA   2AAT   2ABF   2ABN   2ACV   2AAC   2ADJ   2AAF 
 2AAB   2AAK   2AAV   2BRA   T35J   2ABS   2ABA   2ABL   2CJT   2AAP 

Other Species at Antrim Marina
The family party of Mute Swans - 2 adults and 5 cygnets, were the only swans at the Marina today.  Mallard numbers, had increased slightly this week, with around 70 to 80 birds present - still no rings.

No, Lesser Black-backed Gulls present again this week, but a juvenile Herring Gull and a near adult arrived later in the morning.  Three adult Common Gulls and a juvenile, spent most of their time, standing on the long jetty, but no sign of the Scottish-rung bird.  A couple of Common Gulls, rested by the breakwater at the Lough entrance, but were too distant to check for rings.

Other species recorded during my visit were, 3 Hooded Crows, 9 Jackdaws, 1 Magpie, 1 Grey Wagtail and a single Pied Wagtail.


      Sunday 1st October 2017       
As mentioned above, I forgot to bring my key-fob, allowing me access to the car park at Antrim Marina.  I decided therefore, to check out other sites, where Black-headed Gulls could be found.

Elim Church, Parkhall Housing Estate, Antrim
Only 11 Black-headed Gulls present, but no sign of   2AAV .

Antrim's Baptist Church
I have checked this Church on numerous occasions, as it does attract a number of Black-headed Gulls.  I've never spotted a ring here until today.  This one turned out to be one of the gulls I often record at the Marina -   2AAB .  Around 80 gulls were present at the Church and it would be worth keeping an eye out, as other ringed gulls might turn up here.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AAB   -  Antrim Baptist Church, Co. Antrim  (01 Oct 2017)
(Ringed as an un-sexed Adult, on the 11th December 2012, at Antrim Marina)

Antrim KFC Outlet
Around 30 Black-headed Gulls, included the Norwegian   JK35 .  This was my third sighting of   JK35 , this autumn/winter, having arrived back from Norway, on the 6th August 2017.

Black-headed Gull  -  Norway    JK35   -  Antrim KFC, Co. Antrim  (01 Oct 2017)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2014, Stavanger, Norway)

Kinnego Marina
Around 50 Black-headed Gulls, included   2BPV  and   2BPT , which were ringed at Kinnego Marina, on the 31st October 2014.  I am especially keen to re-sight   2BPP , which has a Latvian 'metal-ring', and was caught by Adam, on the 29th October 2014 and 'colour-ringed'.  It's earliest return date, so far recorded, was on the 23rd October, last year.

Suzanne Belshaw, visited Kinnego Marina, on the 23rd September.  During her visit, she also recorded   2BPV  and   2BPT , as well as,   2BPN  and   2BPS .  These four, along with   2BPP , are the only Black-headed Gulls, that I know of, which were 'colour-ringed', at this site.

A couple of 'metal-rung' Black-headed Gulls, are quite often spotted here as well, but no sign of any of them today.

Black-headed Gull  -    2BPV   -  Kinnego Marina, Co. Armagh  (01 Oct 2017)
(Ringed as an un-sexed Adult, on the 31st October 2014, at Kinnego Marina)

Lurgan Park Lake
A 'colour-ringed' BHG, from Norway, usually winters at Lurgan Park and last winter, saw a newly 'colour-ringed' BHG from Poland, also spending the winter here.  No sign of these two yet, but a change in wind direction, would help.  Recently, most of our wind, has been quite strong, blowing in from the west.  A few days of easterlies, should aid the return of a number of gulls that winter in Northern Ireland.

Lurgan Park Lake, has also been the wintering site, of a couple of 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, but none of them have arrived back as yet.

Whitehouse Lagoon and Whiteabbey Shoreline
Finishing off at the two sites, no rings were spotted.  An un-ringed adult Mediterranen Gull, 3 Ruff and a Greenshank, were nice sightings at Whitehouse Lagoon.


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