Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Old 'Oyk'...

I'm on holiday this week, but little has been done birding wise, suffice my weekly visit to Antrim Marina.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, the visit to the Marina, was made on Monday, and not on Sunday, as planned.

I'll have no car for a few days, as I've left it in with the mechanics, so a couple of minor problems, can be sorted, and the underside treated, to help prevent corrosion.  With winter coming, and add in some of the unusual spots, where I take the car, every little bit helps to prolong it's life on the road.

Later this week, I'll publish the post, about Cameron Moore's & Ian Enlander's, Sandwich Tern sightings at Whitehead, in County Antrim.  Just yesterday, Cameron, reported another three birds, two of which, I should hear details of, later this evening, from Chris Redfern.  The details for the third bird, reported to the BTO, should arrive in the next day or two.

A long awaited email, arrived from Chris Acheson, concerning an Oystercatcher, which I spotted on the Copeland Islands, on the 1st July 2018 -  read below.

      Antrim Marina - Monday 17th September 2018       
I was supposed to visit Antrim Marina yesterday, but had to make a fairly hasty trip on Monday the 17th instead.  The visit lasted just two and a half hours, instead of the usual four.

With the sighting of   2BRD , last Sunday, my 'winter list' of 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, rose to 25 individuals.  19 of those birds, were recorded today, and no sign of   2BRD .

A fairly routine visit, I just concentrated on the BHGs today, and disregarded other species.  BHG numbers, varied from around 60 to 120 birds.

Over the last couple of visits, I stated my concern about   2AAC  (resident) and 2ABA (non resident).  Taking another more detailed look at my spreadsheet, I'm convinced   2ABA , is dead, and I very much doubt if   2AAC , is alive.

  2ABA , was an early returnee after each summers breeding season, usually arriving back by mid July.  Normally,   2ABA , would remain at the Marina, until March, before moving on.  This year, the last sighting of it, was on the 14th January, and thereafter, I'm now sure, it has met it's fate.  Below, I've listed the first and last sightings of   2ABA , each autumn/ winter season.

I first began 'Ring Reading at Antrim Marina', during September 2013, and   2ABA , was first recorded by me, on the 25th.

2013/2014 - Last sighted on the 9th March 2014.
2014/2015 - Returned by 11th July 2014, departed after the 1st March 2015.
2015/2016 - Returned by 2nd August 2015, departed after the 6th March 2016.
2016/2017 - Returned by the 15th July 2016, departed after the 19th February 2017.
2017/2018 - Returned by the 16th July 2017, absent since the 14th January 2018.  

Colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls at Antrim Marina, on Monday 17th September 2018
 2AAT   2CJT   2CSB   2ACV   2ABL   2ABS   2AAK   2ADJ   2BRA   2CSA 
 2CSR   2CSK   2ABK   2AAP   T35J   2CSJ   2CSL   2AAA   2ABN    

Today's Absentees
 2AAB   2AAN   2ABF   2AAV   2BRD   2CSS 


      Ringing Details Received       
During the week, I received an email from Chris Acheson, offering his apologies, for personal reasons.  Chris, is the ringing secretary, for the Copeland Bird Observatory, and sent me information, concerning a 'metal-rung' Oystercatcher, which I spotted on the 1st July 2018.

Initially, I thought that the Oystercatcher, was poorly rung, as there was a large gap, between the 'butts', of a clearly worn 'metal ring'.  After re-checking my photos several times, I realised, the gap had been caused, by a piece of the ring, actually breaking off.  I ended up with a partial ring number, missing the last digit -    FC7612* .

As it turns out,  FC7612* , was ringed on the Copeland Islands, in 1998, which makes it 20 years old.  The missing digit, would have been used on one of 5 Oystercatchers, ringed on the island that summer.  FC76120 , was used on a chick, from a single brood.   FC76121/22/23 , were used on a brood of 3 chicks, and  FC76129 , was used on a juvenile, in September 2018.  The four chicks, were ringed on the 27th June 1998.  The other five rings -  FC76124/25/26/27 & 28 , were used on other species.

It's a shame, that we could 'nail', the individual bird, but at 20 years, it's the oldest Oystercatcher, that I've recorded to date.

My thanks, goes to Chris Acheson, for searching through the Copeland ringing records.

Oystercatcher  -    FC7612*   -  Lighthouse Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down  (01 Jul 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick or a Juvenile, in 1998)


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