Saturday, 26 January 2019

Russian Invader...

As my car had failed it's MOT Test, I was off the road for a while.  I had to wait for a week, after the failure, before my mechanic could take the car to begin the four minor problems, the main one, being power steering fluid leaking, in the steering rack.  I collected the car, on Tuesday the 22nd, and was lucky enough to book a retest, for 1.35pm, on Wednesday the 23rd.  This time, the car passed with flying colours.

Having not been able to get out and about, I've nothing new to report, but David Nixon and Suzanne Belshaw, have saved the day, by reporting a couple of their ring sightings.  Suzanne, also graciously covered for my absence at Antrim Marina, by visiting the Marina on Monday 21st January, which meant, the continuation of weekly visits, continues to be 100 per cent.

      Antrim Marina - Monday 21st January 2019       
As mentioned in my introduction, I was not able to visit Antrim Marina, so Suzanne Belshaw, took up this weekly challenge.  Arriving at 11.30am, Suzanne departed at 1.15pm.  With 36 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls recorded this winter at the Marina, Suzanne recorded 25 of these during her visit.

At their maximum, around 100 BHGs, were present, but with birds coming and going, I'd suggest, at least 150 individuals were visiting.  Usually, when Suzanne covers for me, she'd often fall in with something interesting, but no luck there today.  Suzanne, also kept an eye out for birds with 'metals' only, but none turned up, which included the Danish juvenile, recorded here during my two previous visits.  The ringing details of this youngster, have now arrived with me (read below).

Colour-Ringed Black-headed Gulls at Antrim Marina, on Monday 21st January 2019
 T35J   2AAA   2AAB   2AAK   2AAN   2AAP   2AAR   2AAT   2ABK 
 2ABN   2ABS   2ACV   2ADJ   2BRA   2CJT   2CSA   2CSB   2CSF 
 2CSJ   2CSK   2CSL   2CSR   2CSV   2CTB   2CTC     

Today's Absentees
 2ABL   2ABF   2AAV   2ADV   2BRD   2ANS 
 2CSH   2CSS   2CSX   2CTA   2CTD   

While at the Marina, Suzanne photographed 16 of the 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, but submitted three along with her email.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CSK   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (21 Jan 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 17th December 2017, at Antrim Marina)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Black-headed Gull  -    2CTC   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (21 Jan 2019)
(Ringed as a 1st Winter Bird, on the 24th December 2018, at Antrim Marina)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Black-headed Gull  -  White T35J  -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (21 Jan 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 3rd June 2006, at Lake Kretuonas, Lithuania)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
No mention was made, about the number of Mute Swans present, but the 'metal-ringed'   W34158 , did not escape Suzanne's attention.  A special watch was made concerning the Common Gulls, as Suzanne knew, I was looking for a 'metal-rung' Finnish bird.  Four, possibly five individuals, were visiting the Marina, but none were carrying rings.


      Ringing Details Received       
I have now received the ringing details for the young Danish Black-headed Gull, which I recently spotted at Antrim Marina.  Bearing, one of the new style 'metals',   VA4235 , was ringed as a chick, on the 28th May 2018, on Hirsholm, an island just off the north-east coast of Denmark.  The distance to Antrim Marina, was given as 1,088 kms / 676 miles (WSW), the duration to my first sighting - 7 months and 10 days.  Check on my two previous posts, about this young gull at Antrim Marina.


      From Suzanne Belshaw       
Returning home from work, in the early hours of the 18th January, I checked my emails, to find one from Suzanne Belshaw, which to say the least, was quite extraordinary.

Visiting the lake, at Lurgan Park, on the 17th January, Suzanne managed to capture the 'metal ring' number -   PS23287 , on a juvenile Black-headed Gull.  Reading the inscription 'MOSKVA', on the ring, this youngster was from Russia.  Now, I've been involved with Adam McClure's Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull Study, long enough, to know, a Russian BHG, had not as yet been recorded.  Even more, the 'alarm bells' were ringing in my head, was this a first for Northern Ireland?

Later, I logged on to the British Trust for Ornithology's 'Online Ringing Report', to discover, that not only was this a first for Northern Ireland, but, it was a first, for the whole island of Ireland.  I deliberately held off from publishing this post, in hope that the ringing details would arrive back to Suzanne.

Personally, as a 'Ring Reader', I'm a 'tad' envious of Suzanne's sighting.  As I've said before, reading rings is quite rewarding, and from time to time, a 'gem', will turn up.  My congratulations, goes out to Suzanne, and I'm so glad that she caught all the details.  I'll post the ringing results, as soon as they arrive.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull  -  Russia    PS23287   -  Lurgan Park Lake, Lurgan, Co. Armagh  (17 Jan 2019)
(Waiting on the Ringing Details)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Also, in Suzanne's email, was a Mallard sighting.  Again, Suzanne managed to capture the whole 'metal-number', this bird having been ringed in County Monaghan, in the Irish Republic.  I contacted Dan Curly, who is the Secretary of the 16 Gun Clubs in the County.  Dan was quick to reply, to say that   1MN 3272 , had been ringed before release, at Doohat Lough, around mid June 2012.  Suzanne's sighting was a first, since the bird had been released.  The distance from Doohat, to Wallace Park in Lisburn, Co. Antrim, is 82 kms / 51 miles (NE), and the duration, was now 6 years, 6 months and 30 days.

Each year, the gun clubs in County Monaghan, purchase a number of Mallard chicks, bred on a duck farm.  Before they are given their freedom, they are ringed with special 'metals', belonging to the gun clubs.  The idea, is to replace birds shot in the wild, but also the whereabouts of their ducks, can be reported after being shot, or spotted by birdwatchers.

I've personally recorded a few of these at Antrim Marina, but funny enough, none this winter.  My thanks to Dan, for his speedy reply, but also to Suzanne, for sharing her two sightings.

Mallard (Drake)  -    1MN 3272   -  Wallace Park, Lisburn, Co. Antrim  (14 Jan 2019)
(Ringed as a Juvenile, on the 15th June 2012, at Doohat Lough, Co. Monaghan, R. of Ireland)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)


      From David Nixon       
On the 15th January, I received an email from David Nixon, reporting a 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gull, which he spotted at Ballydugan Lake, just south of Downpatrick, in County Down.  Rung   T1XL , David asked me, if I could track down the relevant project.

Knowing by the letter 'T', this was a Polish bird, I entered David's sighting onto the live 'Polish Ringing Database'.  The following day, I received an email, confirming the record, which then allowed me access to the ringing and re-sighting history of the gull.

  T1XL , was caught and ringed as a breeding adult, on the 28th May 2018, at Lubczyna, in north-west Poland.  David's sighting, was the first report since the gull was ringed.  The distance was given as 1,336 kms / 830 (WNW), and the duration - 7 months and 18 days.

Unfortunately, David was not able to supply a photo, but at least we have another Polish bird on record.  My thanks to David, for sharing his sighting.


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