Friday, 26 January 2018

Running Late...

I'm well behind, trying to get this post published this week.  With, the death of a friend and trying to get my new car fully legal, the days quickly passed by.  I collected the car on Tuesday, but found that I couldn't get Road Tax online, as the car had previously been registered to a disabled person.  Two visits to the Main Post Office in Ballymena yesterday (Thursday), finally saw me 100% legal. 

During the week, I was able to reply, to several emails.  I prioritise them, as I do not like to delay those seeking a reply.  My cold/flu, is still a slight problem.  After four weeks, my condition is finally improving.  I found it very uncomfortable at work, but daren't take time off, having returned at the beginning of the year, having been off for ten weeks, recuperating from an operation.

      Antrim Marina - Sunday 21st January 2018       
My visit to Antrim Marina today, was conducted in atrocious weather.  It rained throughout the four hours I was there, which was very heavy, sometimes alternating to a heavy drizzle.  I remained in the car for nearly the whole time, trying to read whatever rings I could see.  No matter, what position I placed my car, the rain still came through the opened window and I became quite wet.  The light was so poor, I found it hard to read distant rings with the telescope.

A good number of absentees are listed this week, but, it was more than likely, that some of these gulls did appear, but were missed.  With the appearance of  2BRC , last Sunday, I was on the lookout for 38 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls today, though only 25 were recorded.

Due to the weather conditions, no attempt was made at catching any new gulls for ringing.  I noticed, that one of the juveniles,   2CSD , that was ringed a few weeks ago, has been in the 'wars'.  Although, it sustained a leg injury, a couple of weeks after being ringed, this appears to have worsened and it's tail seems to be bent to it's right.

I wondered, if this could be due, to an attack by a Sparrowhawk.  The gulls, were spooked on several occasions today, as a male Sparrowhawk was noted hunting, probably taking advantage of the poor light.

Colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls at Antrim Marina on Sunday 21st January 2018
 2ABF   2CSA   2AAA   2CJT   2AAP   2ABK   2CSB   2CSC   2CSD 
 2CSJ   2ABN   2ABL   2BRA   2AAN   2ADJ   T35J   2AAT   2CSR 
 2ACV   2AAK   2CSL   2AAR   2AAC   2AAB   2ANS       

Today's Absentees
 2AAF   2AAV   2ABA   2ABS   2ADV   2AFD   2BRC 
 2BRD   2CSF   2CSH   2CSK   2CSS   2CST    

Black-headed Gull  -    2CSD   -  Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim  (21 Jan 2018)
(Ringed as a 1st winter bird, on the 26th November 2017, at Antrim Marina)
(Note, injury to leg and tail)

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
It was not a good day for Common Gull sightings.  Only two adults and a 1st winter bird, showed up today.  There was no sign of either of the metal-ringed birds from Scotland or Finland.  Both adults, were already present on my arrival and remained throughout my visit.  The juvenile, appeared at 11.40.

A sub-adult Herring Gull (11.08), was joined by an adult at 11.32.  These are most likely to be the same birds, seen here each week.

12 adult Mute Swans and two cygnets, which were on the slipway, when I arrived, included the regularly spotted  W34158 .  No other swans appeared by the time of my departure, just after 1pm.

20 Jackdaws, were present at one point, which I think is the highest total so far this winter.  5 Hooded Crows, 2 Magpies, a single Pied Wagtail and two juvenile/1st winter Moorhens, were among other species present today.

Antrim's Elim Church, KFC Car Park and Baptist Church
As  2AAV , was not seen at the Marina today, I stopped by Antrim's Elim Church, a favoured haunt away from the Marina.  On parking beside the Church, a couple of BHGs, flew straight towards me, as I lowered my window.  Obviously, some of the gulls, now know the routine.  One of them, was  2AAV , which landed beside me on the grass verge.   2AAV , is not so forthcoming, when it appears at Antrim Marina.

A quick check, on the other 25 to 30 gulls, revealed no more rings.    2ARH , that was spotted here a couple of weeks ago, may have been passing through at the time, or possibly wintering somewhere nearby.

Moving on to the car park at the nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet, only six Black-headed Gulls, were present.  Although, none of them were ringed, I still threw out a couple of slices of bread.

Finishing off at Antrim's Baptist Church, the rain had finally stopped.  Around 50 Black-headed Gulls, were in the area.  Parking behind the Church, the gulls, soon flew towards me, with an offering of bread.  Those, that landed on the ground beside my car, included the metal-ringed -  EW39319 .  This was my second confirmed record of this gull, this winter.  I now have the ringing details on the gull, which was ringed as a chick in 2009.  I'll report on this on in my next post.

Some of the gulls, were not interested in my offering of bread and landed on the roof of the Church.  They included the Polish-rung (White) TY43.  It was my fifth sighting of the gull this winter and the first for 2018.  I initially spotted it here, on the 16th October 2017.

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  TY43  -  Antrim Baptist Church, Antrim, Co. Antrim  (21 Jan 2018)
(Ringed as a 2nd Calendar Year bird, on the 9th February 2012, at Olsztyn, Poland)


      Ringing Details Received       
The ringing details for two of the four, Black-headed Gulls, that I've been waiting on, have arrived from the BTO.  I don't have time to add these on today's post.  They will be added onto next my post, by which time, the other two ringing recoveries will have hopefully arrived.


      Colour Rings       
I received an email from Jez Blackburn, concerning the Blue 'colour-rings', that I presently hold.  They are registered for use on Common Gulls, but Jez, has authorised the use of the Blue 2F** series, to be used on Black-headed Gulls.  My reason for applying in the first place, was due to the fact, that Adam had disappeared from the ringing scene for several months and I wanted to add new recruits at Antrim Marina.

Now that Adam, is back with us, I have been using his Orange rings at Antrim Marina.  With, clearance having been received by Jez, I now plan to use the Blue 2F**, rings on Black-headed Gulls, at my local park.  I'm aiming to begin an Antrim Marina, type Study next winter, pending an endorsement being added to my ringing permit and permissions from my local Council.

The Peoples Park, in Ballymena, has no resident BHGs.  With the gulls there, being ringed with my own colour-rings, weekly sightings at the park, can be dealt with by me and would take a lot of pressure off Adam, who already has his hands full, recording my weekly sightings at Antrim Marina.

My rings, would only be used at the park, with Adams rings being used at all other NI sites.  The Peoples Park Study, would still be used, as part of Adam's Northern Ireland project.


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