Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Special Chicks...

Very little has been done since my previous post.  One of the reasons for this, is due to a prolonged bout of a cold or flu.  As I write, I'm now into my fourth week and the now lessening bouts of coughing, can last as long as ten to fifteen minutes.  As can be imagined, my stomache muscles are often aching, especially in the area of my Hernia operation last autumn.  I have had it suggested to me, my symptoms are not unlike those of the Whooping Cough.  I loath to use medication of any sort and prefer to let symptoms sort themselves out.

I'm still having problems with my left foot, which I damaged at work on March 17th, when a heavy wooden pallet fell on it.  I'm trying to take it easy, as I'll have a lot of walking to do in two weeks time, when I start to visit Rathlin Island, to 'colour-ring' this year's Common Gull chicks.

Talking of Common Gull chicks, my Mediterranean x Common Gull pair, now have chicks of their own - read Sunday's account below.


      Saturday 2nd June 2018       
It was quite late in the afternoon, before I was free to take a run out.  I therefore decided to undertake a short trip out, starting at Carnlough, and working my way southwards to the village of Glynn.

As I approached the highest point of the hills, on the road from Ballymena to Carnlough, I ran into fog.  On reaching Carnlough, there was a very heavy sea fog, and the gulls and waders on the shore were barely visible.  I could just scope, a few Oystercatchers, Dunlins and five young Black-headed Gulls, from last summers breeding season.

Just how lucky, can one be?  Amongst the five, was a bird with an 'Orange Darvic' - one of Adam's Study birds.  Zooming through the fog with my camera, I just about managed to capture it and the code on the ring -   2CNC .  I sent an email to Adam, but as yet, he has not replied.  I'm still waiting for him to send me the files for the gulls that I spotted at the RSPB's WoW Reserve in Belfast and at Castle Espie, these spotted on the 26th & 27th May.  He was supposed to send these on Monday 28th May.

Entering   2CNC , onto my spreadsheet and then pressing 'sort', the young gulls code fell in between those of   2CNB   and   2CPN , two other 2017 youngsters that I have spotted.  All these birds were ringed as chicks, on the 16th June 2017, at Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough.  Until I receive a reply from Adam, I'm presuming my sighting of   2CNC , is the first record since being ringed.  Carnlough Beach lies 22 kms / 14 miles (NW), from Blue Circle Island.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CNC   -  Carnlough Bay, Co. Antrim  (02 Jun 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 16th June 2017, at Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)

With the presence of the heavy sea fog, I decided that it would most likely to be a waste of fuel going anywhere else, so I returned home to watch the friendly football match between England and Nigeria.


      Sunday 3rd June 2018       
Today, I just decided to visit Antrim, stopping by the Tesco Warehouse at the Kilbegs Industrial Estate and then on to Antrim Marina.

Arriving at the Warehouse, there was no birds sitting on the nest, which belonged to a special pair of gulls.  This pair of Mediterranean x Common Gulls, have this year nested on the exact same spot as they did in 2016 and 2017.  However, three chicks were spotted in the company of a Common Gull, on the roof ridge of the warehouse.

Around ten minutes later, the male (Med Gull), arrived, and he did not seem too pleased, at seeing his family away from the nest.  He promply set about, leading the three chicks back to the nest, and I managed to capture a few photos, despite the distance from where I was sitting, (on a fence overlooking the warehouse).

These are the first chicks, that this pair, have managed to hatch out, after three attempts.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be doing my best to keep track of these youngsters and see what developes.  It would be fantastic, to obtain photos of any surviving chicks, once they are fully feathered.

The Male leading his Family back to the Nest  (03 Jun 2018)

Back on the Nest  (03 Jun 2018)

In Digital Zoom  -  The Pair and Their Chicks  (03 Jun 2018)

Finishing at Antrim Marina, the Black-headed Gulls, were once again in short supply.  Very few arrived and landed anywhere, except for a few on lamposts - most of which, I could not see their legs.  I'm wanting to record the resident birds, especially any of those that were ringed here last winter, as I'm trying to record their status as residents or visitors.

So far, I have only recorded   2ADJ ,   2BRA   2AAA  and   2AAV .  Out on the 'Torpedo Platform', there surely has to be chicks, which should lead to adults visiting the Marina on a more regular basis.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed, that there will be an increase of birds to the Marina over the next few weeks.

29 Mute Swans were present, with all birds, preferring to remain on the river.  Not surprising really, as it was such a hot day, that the tarmac on the slipway, would have been roasting.


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