Thursday, 21 February 2019

Juveniles Grow Up...

After being grounded last weekend with a 'frozen' neck, I made the most of this weekend, getting out and about on Saturday and Sunday, therefore postponing my weekly visit to Antrim Marina, until Monday morning.  A good haul of rings were read over the three days, which included a few significant, special re-sightings.

      Antrim Marina - Monday 18th February 2019       
As my regular readers will know, my weekly visits to Antrim Marina over the last few weeks, have resulted in a poor number of re-sightings, concerning the Black-headed Gulls.  This has been an ongoing problem, mainly due to the disturbance caused by the continuing building of the new Gateway Centre, which will house the new cafe.

Today, saw a big change, as a strong westerly wind, obviously dissuaded the gulls not to land on the framework of the new building.  Throughout my two and a half hour visit, the gulls readily landed in the car park, making 'ring reading' far easier.

Arriving at 09.15, I remained until midday, after which, I covered the other three sites in the town of Antrim, before heading back home.  Having re-sighted 30 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls this winter, plus the 6, which I caught and ringed, I was on the lookout for 36 birds altogether.  At times, the number of Black-headed Gulls present, easily topped the 200 mark, and with birds coming and going, I suspected the overall number of visitors, was in excess of 250 gulls, which made this visit very satisfying.

At the time of my departure, 24 'colour-rings' out of the 36, were read.  No doubt, if I had the time to remain for a while longer, the total would have been higher still.  As the visit was going so well, I had hoped to record one or two other 'colour-ringed' BHGs, which should have returned by last November.  One of these, is   2AFD , which we know breeds in Latvia, but is an irregular visitor, when it does return for the winter.

Colour Ringed Black-headed Gulls, Recorded at Antrim Marina, on Monday 18th February 2019
 2ACV   2AAA   2CSR   2CSX   2CJT   2CSA   2AAB   2AAR 
 T35J   2BRA   2CSF   2CSB   2ABN   2ABS   2ADJ   2AAK 
 2AAN   2ABK   2CSL   2ABL   2CSJ   2CSK   2AAT   2CTB 

Today's Absentees
 2AAP   2ABF   2AAV   2ADV   2BRD   2ANS 
 2CSH   2CSS   2CSV   2CTA   2CTC   2CTD 

As well as the 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, I was kept 'on my toes', with the presence of a couple of birds which had 'metal-rings'.  One of these, was my fourth record of the juvenile Danish bird -   VA4235 .  I first recorded this youngster on the 7th January 2019.  It has become very 'people friendly', and is now approaching me with confidence.  I came within inches of catching it today.  

Throwing bread between the legs of the swans, the gull was tempted to run in and grab a bit.  I think it was more wary of the swans, than by my presence.  Had I caught it, I would have fitted a 'colour-ring'.  There's still a chance to catch this one, and hopefully if the gulls continue to approach like they did today, 'you never know'.

Black-headed Gull  (Juvenile)  -  Denmark    VA4235   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 28th May 2018, at Hirsholm, NE. Denmark)

During my previous visit, a 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gull appeared, but flew off as I tried to approach it with my camera.  I was suspicious, that this could have been   E*85673 , a bird that has appeared here on the 5th March 2017, and on the 5th February 2018.  This gull is obviously stopping by Antrim Marina en-route to it's breeding site wherever that may be.  I still need that missing letter to complete the number, so I can then report it to the BTO.

A problem that I had, was that   2ABL , was present.    2ABL , somehow managed to discard it's 'colour-ring' some time ago and every time a 'metal' was spotted, I had to keep re-checking the ring.  It was   2ABL , every time.

Early in the visit, I spotted a 'metal-rung' Black-headed Gull, with quite dark legs, which indicated to me, that this was quite an old gull.  Perched on the low wooden jetty, it flew off as I was getting out of my car with the camera.  I frantically tried to re-locate the bird, without initial success.

Around 10.15, I spotted the gull again, standing right in the middle of the car park.  Taking photos whilst in my car, I could see '  EG5 ', on an upside-down ring.  Immediately, I could feel my heart rate rising - was this   EG55380 ?  Being in the centre of the car park, I drove around the gull in a wide circle, taking lots of photos of the ring.  Enough taken, I checked to see what I had captured.

I was thoroughly delighted, as this was   EG55380 .  I first came across   EG55380 , during my first winter of 'Ring Watching at Antrim Marina, in 2013/2014.  Having initially spotted the gull on the 23rd February 2014, I reported it to the BTO, to discover, that it had been ringed as a Common Gull chick, on the 22nd June 2005, on Big Copeland Island, in County Down.  I then had to send several photos of   EG55380 , to show, that the ring belonged to a Black-headed Gull.

I went on to record   EG55380 , over the next two winters (2014/2015 and 2015/2016), and thereafter, I thought it had died, as it did not reappear during the last two winters (2016/2017 and 2017/2018).  The duration since being ringed, is now 13 years, 7 months and 27 days, which makes this gull, one of the oldest British-rung gulls on my records.  This to me was a superb re-sighting and I'll once again be watching out for this gull next year.

Black-headed Gull  -    EG55380   (Upside Down Ring)  -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 22nd June 2005, on Big Copeland Island, Co. Down)

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
When I arrived at the Marina today, the first thing that I noticed, was a winter high, of 11 adult Mute Swans, standing on the slipway.  I immediately got out of my car with my camera, and had a look at the legs.  Two birds were 'metal-rung', the first was easily identifiable, as being the regularly recorded   W34158 , as it is blind in the right eye.

The second, was a small female, which re-entered the river on my approach.  I returned to the car, to get a few slices of bread.  This did the trick, as I was able to entice the swan back onto the slipway.
I easily obtained the ring number, which read -   W32105 .  On returning home and checking my spreadsheet, I had previously recorded   W32105 , on the 12th May 2016.  This was now my second sighting at the Marina.

I entered it's ring number onto the BTO's new DemOn Ringing Database, to discover, that it has not been reported since I last recorded it here.    W32105 , was ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 17th November 2011, at Hogganfield Loch, in Glasgow, Scotland.  The distance to Antrim Marina, is 183 kms / 113 miles (SW), and the duration since ringing, is now 7 years, 3 months and 1 day.

Mute Swan  -    W32105   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 17th November 2011, at Hogganfield Lock, Glasgow, Scotland)

Mallard numbers, were pretty good, with around 60 to 70 birds, throughout my visit.  It's been pretty unusual to record so many ducks present from such an early time of the morning.  I thought that the numbers may have topped the 100 mark, but this never happened.  Again, most legs were checked for rings, but I'm still waiting on the first for this winter.

A juvenile Herring Gull, appeared around 9.30, but only remained for about 10 minutes.  A full adult, then arrived at 9.55, and was present throughout the remainder of my visit.  There was no sign of the sub-adult, which has spent most of the winter here.

The first Common Gulls appeared at 10.25, one was a juvenile, the other being a full adult.  A second adult, arrived at 11.04, followed by a third adult, and a second juvenile at 11.30.  All five birds remained at the Marina, no doubt helped by the number of Black-headed Gulls present.  I was hopeful that either or both of the 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls from Scotland and Finland would appear, but there was no sign of them.

Two Hooded Crows, 7 Jackdaws, 1 adult Moorhen and the pair of Pied Wagtails, were the only other birds present.  A member of the public, informed me that a pair of Kingfishers were seen just slightly upriver from the Marina.

On leaving Antrim Marina, I visited the other three sites around Antrim Town, before returning home and preparing for work.  At the Elim Church, a good 30 to 40 Black-headed Gulls were present, but no rings were spotted.  I was hoping to record   2AAV , as I haven't recorded this gull since the 10th December 2018.  I find this strange, as I would normally record it here or at the Marina, on a more regular basis.

At the nearby car park at Antrim's KFC outlet, I was delighted to record   2ADD .  I recorded this bird at Carrickfergus Harbour, two weeks ago, and stated that it was overdue to return to Antrim.  Having not recorded it here last Monday, I had high hopes of recording it today.    2ADD   winters at Carrickfergus, and then moves to Antrim's KFC outlet for a couple of weeks, before returning to Antrim Marina, where it breeds on the nearby torpedo platform.

Black-headed Gull  -    2ADD   -  Antrim KFC Car Park, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Male, on the 29th November 2013, at Carrickfergus Harbour, Co. Antrim)

My final stop was at Antrim's Baptist Church.  On arrival, at least 50 to 60 Black-headed Gulls, were already standing around the car park.  Keeping a wide berth, I scanned through the gulls with my binoculars, and spotted a 'metal-rung' bird.  Slowly driving round in a wide circle, I took plenty of photos of the ring.  I successfully completed the number, which read -   EW39319 .

I've seen a 'metal-rung' bird a couple of times this winter, but it always flew off the Church roof, before I could capture the ring number.  I suspected that   EW39319 , was the same gull which I first recorded here last winter.  On returning home and checking my spreadsheet, it was indeed the same gull.  As I've mentioned before, I like to re-record every ring possible each winter, so as to add continuity to my sightings, and to add to each birds longevity record.

  EW39319 , was ringed as a chick, on the 13th June 2009, at Black Rock, Crinan, in Scotland.  There had been no sightings of this gull until I came across it last winter.  The distance from Black Rock, to Antrim Baptist Church, is 157 kms / 97 miles (SSW), and the duration is now 9 years, 8 months and 5 days, since being ringed.

Black-headed Gull  -    EW39319   -  Antrim Baptist Church, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 13th June 2009, at Black Rock, Crinan, Argyll & Bute, Scotland)

With the 'metal-ring' sorted, I began throwing out bits of bread, which enticed another 20 to 30 Black-headed Gulls, to leave a nearby green grass area, to lure them into the car park.  Among these was the Polish (White) TY43.  I recorded it's return to the Baptist Church, for the second winter running, on the 5th August 2018.

TY43, was first recorded at Antrim Marina, by Adam McClure, on the 29th October 2013, which was the last sighting of the gull until I came across it at the Baptist Church, on the 16th October 2017.  Since then, I have established that it prefers to spend the winter around the Church and nearby housing estates.

Ringed in Olsztyn, in north-east Poland, the distance to Antrim Baptist Church, is 1,725 kms / 1,071 miles (W), and the duration since ringing is now 7 years and 9 days.

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  TY43  -  Antrim Baptist Church, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (18 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Calendar Year Bird, on the 9th February 2012, at Olsztyn, NE. Poland)


      Saturday 16th February 2019       
Catching an out-going tide, I decided to start off my day, with a visit to Glynn, moving northwards to Ballycastle and finishing off the afternoon at Portrush.

Arriving at the railway platform at Glynn station, overlooking Larne Lough, the tide had receded far enough that a good number of gulls were arriving.  Of note, was the higher than normal presence of Common Gulls.  I had high hopes of recording a 'colour-ring', but only spotted two 'metals'.

Spending a good hour or more, scoping the gulls and waders, just one 'colour-ring' was spotted on a Black-headed Gull.  Despite the distance from the station platform to the gull, my camera easily caught the code -   2XLK .  Returning home, I checked the code on the cr-birding site, to find that my gull was from Scotland.  I emailed Calum Campbell, of the Grampian Ringing Group, and also reported the gull to the BTO.

As I write, I'm still waiting on a reply from Calum, so I have no idea about the gull's re-sighting history.  However, I received the gull's ringing details from the BTO.    2XLK , was ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 15th June 2013, at the Ythan Estuary, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.  The distance to Glynn, was given as 363 kms / 225 miles (SW), and the duration since being ringed, is 5 years, 8 months and 1 day.

I entered it's 'metal' number onto the BTO's new DemOn Ringing Database, but it seems as if this is a first re-sighting.  I'll have to wait on a reply from Calum, as ringers are notoriously fickle, when it comes to submitting re-sightings to the BTO.

To record a new gull, was a good start for the day, but another couple of sightings later during the afternoon, made a good start even better.

Black-headed Gull  -    2XLK   -  Glynn, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim  (16 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 15th June 2013, on the Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

Leaving Glynn, I checked on gulls and waders along the coast, but no more rings were found until I reached Carnlough Bay, where I had another re-sighting of an Icelandic Oystercatcher.  Ringed, Orange over Orange - White(AA), this bird was ringed as an un-sexed breeding adult, on the 10th May 2016.

I first recorded it at Carnlough Bay, on the 10th August 2016, and it is a 'winter resident', returning in 2017 and again this winter for the third year running.  I recorded it's return, on the 22nd September 2018, and today's sighting, is my second of this winter.  The gap between the two sightings, is due to the lack of visits, rather than not being present.  A copy of the bird's PDF File, can be viewed (here).

The distance from Brautarholt, in Iceland, to Carnlough Bay, is 1,355 kms / 842 miles (SE), and the duration is now 2 years, 9 months and 6 days, since being ringed.

Oystercatcher  -  OO-W(AA)  -  Carnlough Bay, Carnlough, Co. Antrim  (16 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Breeding Adult, on the 10th May 2016, at Brautarholt, SW. Iceland)

Leaving Carnlough Bay, I drove through Carnlough and spotted a handful of Black-headed Gulls on a roof overlooking the harbour.  I swung into the car park there and began throwing out bits of bread.  Within seconds, the gulls 'bombed' down towards me, and one with a 'metal-ring', was spotted.

My camera, swung into action, taking pictures of the bird and it's ring.  I could tell, by the colour of it's legs, this wasn't a full adult, but soon had enough photos and the ring read -   EZ33164 .  I was well pleased, to record another 'metal', especially as the gull rarely stood still.  At the time, I thought this was a new sighting, but later on, back at home, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Having downloaded all of the day's photos, I began to select those I needed and labelled them.  With   EZ33164 , four photos were chosen - one of the gull itself, and three showing the ring.  Having edited the ring photos, I then went to enter the details onto my spreadsheet.  On typing the ring number, the predictive text, showed me that I had already recorded the number.  Checking on the entry concerned, I had recorded   EZ33164 , as a juvenile, in my home town of Ballymena, on the 6th November 2017.

Ringed as a chick, on the 20th June 2017, at Elvanfoot, in South Lanarkshire, Scotland, at the time of ringing, this young gull was too small to be fitted with a 'colour-ring'.  The Clyde Ringing Group, have been 'colour-ringing' chicks at the Elvanfoot colony for a few years now, and use 'Red Darvic's' with white characters.

The distance from Elvanfoot, to Ballymena, is 177 kms / 109 miles (WSW), and to Carnlough, 155 kms / 96 miles (WSW).  The duration, now stands at 1 year, 7 months and 27 days.  This gull will be a target for the future, especially as it is quite people friendly.

Black-headed Gull  -    EZ33164   -  Carnlough Harbour, Carnlough, Co. Antrim  (16 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 20th June 2017, at Elvanfoot, South Lanarkshire, Scotland)

Below, is a photo of   EZ33164 , as a juvenile.  It was taken on the 6th November 2017.  Although I recorded it just once that winter, I remember this young gull, very well.  As with all juveniles, you'll often encounter one that is a real 'squeeler', and   EZ33164 , was easily one of the most boisterous youngsters that I had ever come across.

Black-headed Gull  -    EZ33164   -  Ballymena KFC Car Park, Co. Antrim  (06 Nov 2017)

Leaving Carnlough, I checked for gulls at Waterfoot and Cushendall, but there were very few birds about.  My next stop was at Ballycastle, on the north coast of County Antrim.  Here, I attempted to locate an Icelandic-rung Black-headed Gull, which I first recorded at the town's harbour, on the 21st November 2015.

Firstly, I checked the beach adjacent to the harbour, and found a small flock of Black-headed Gulls, along with a couple of Herring Gulls.  Scoping these, I spotted the distinct tall 'metal-ring', which I reckoned belonged to the gull I was looking for.  Although a dog walker was fairly near to the gulls, a huge wave made them take to the air.  Watching my gull, it flew upriver, landing on a small gravel island just beyond the footbridge.

I returned to my car, to grab a loaf of bread, and returned to the river, where I found a small clearing, in which I would attempt to lure the gulls towards me.  This worked, a treat, as a number of Mallards, acted as decoys to bring the gulls onto the river bank.  After a few minutes, my target landed in front of me, and I began taking photos of the bird and it's ring.

Despite a number of people, stopping with me to look at the ducks being fed, I reckoned, I had taken enough photos to obtain the ring number and returned to my car.  Checking through these, I had recorded an Icelandic bird, the ring number reading -   585774 .  On returning home and checking the number on my spreadsheet, it was the same gull that I was after.

As mentioned above, I first recorded this gull here during the 2015/2016 winter, spotting it on three occasions.  During the 2016/2017 winter, I did see a Black-headed Gull, with a tall 'metal-ring', but was unable to get close enough, to read the number.  Last winter (2017/2018), I was only able to get a partial reading of the ring (  585*** ), on the 28th December 2017, therefore, I could not report my sighting.

I was well pleased with today's re-sighting, and now know how to record this bird in the future.    585774 , was ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 16th October 2011, the duration now being 7 years and 4 months, since being ringed.  The distance from Sandgerði, in south-west Iceland, to Ballycastle, is 1,341 kms / 833 miles (SE).

Black-headed Gull  -  Iceland    585774   -  Ballycastle, Co. Antrim  (16 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 16th October 2011, at Sandgerði, SW Iceland)

Spending a bit more time around Ballycastle Harbour, none of the other gulls were ringed, so I drove on to Ballintoy and then on to Portrush, where my afternoon finished.  Despite checking numerous gulls, not a single ring was to be found.  With one new ring found, and three re-sightings, it was still a satisfying day out.


      Sunday 17th February 2019       
My plan for today, was to catch the out-going tide, by visiting Kinnegar Beach, at Belfast Lough first, before moving on to Bangor, at then visiting as many other sites in County Down, as time allowed.

Kinnegar, once again produced the rings, with four re-sightings, plus one Black-headed Gull, which was a first ever sighting for me, but just happened to be no stranger to Belfast.

The first 'colour-ringed' bird, was another re-sighting of the Dutch Bar-tailed Godwit.  Having first recorded the bird on the 4th March 2018, I had a problem trying to confirm it's return to Kinnegar Beach this winter, until I finally 'nailed' the re-sighting on Christmas Day.  Since that re-sighting, I effortlessly fall in with this bird, and the rings, easily photographed. Today's, is my second record of the bird since Christmas Day, having also spotted it, on the 26th January 2019.

There should be a 'Red Flag', between the two yellow rings, but it has disintegrated, and fallen off completely.  WB-YRfY, was ringed as an adult male, on the 3rd September 2008, at Terschelling, in NW. Holland.  The distance to Kinnegar, is 742 kms / 461 miles (WNW), the duration now being 10 years, 5 months and 14 days.

Bar-tailed Godwit  -  WB-Y(Rf)Y  -  Kinnegar Pond, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Male, on the 3rd September 2008, at Terschelling, NW. Holland)

The next ring to be spotted, was the Polish -   TM45 .  I first came across this gull, on the 26th January 2019, at the Belfast Waste Transfer Station, on the Dargan Industrial Estate, which is fairly close to Kinnegar Beach.    TM45 , appears to be the first ever Polish Common Gull, ever to be recorded in Northern Ireland.  Today's re-sighting, helps to confirm that the gull is staying put, around the shores of Belfast Lough, and may be a good candidate for future winter re-sightings.

Ringed as a juvenile, on the 7th September 2017, the distance from Gdynia, in northern Poland, is 1,569 kms / 974 miles (W), and the duration since being ringed, is now 1 year, 5 months and 10 days.

Common Gull  -  Poland    TM45   -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Juvenile, on the 7th September 2017, at Gdynia, North Poland)

The third 'colour-ring', was on a Black-headed Gull, belonging to Adam McClure's Northern Ireland Study.    2AJF , was ringed as a chick, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, in County Down, on the 19th June 2014.  Today's sighting, was my third for   2AJF .  I first encountered the gull, on the 12th May 2018, breeding on one of the nest platforms, at the RSPB's Window on Wildlife Reserve, situated quite close to Kinnegar Beach.

My second sighting, was made on the 9th December 2018, where I located the gull roosting on the former landfill site, on the Dargan Industrial Estate, which is also fairly close to Kinnegar Beach.  No doubt,   2AJF , has chosen to breed and winter, around the shores of Belfast Lough.

The ringing site at Castle Espie, lies roughly 16 kms / 9 miles (SE), from Kinnegar, and the duration since ringing, is now 4 years, 7 months and 29 days.  My next sighting of this gull, will probably be at the RSPB Reserve, next month, as it 'gears up' for another breeding season.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AJF   -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2014, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)

A Brent Goose, was another re-sighting for me.  Ringed Red H - Red J, I recorded this bird here in the spring of last year - 4th March 2018.  During that sighting, Red H - Red J, appeared to be paired with another ringed Brent Goose, Red H - Red H.  There was just three Brent's present today, so Red H - Red H, may have died somewhere along it's journeys.  I believe that Brent's, normally pair for life.

Red H - Red J, was ringed on the 22nd November 2013, at Portmarnock, Co. Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland.  It's re-sighting history, is too lengthy to mention here, so I've added a copy of it's PDF File, which was sent to me by Graham McElwaine, of the Irish Brent Goose Research Group (read here).

Brent Goose  -  (Red)H (Red)J  -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 22nd November 2013, at Portmarnock, Co. Dublin, R. of Ireland)

Having remained on Kinnegar Beach, for far longer than I had planned, I was rewarded with the sighting of a Black-headed Gull, which was new to me.  Ringed -   2H31 , on returning home, I discovered that this gull was no stranger to the shores of Belfast Lough.

  2H31 , had been ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 11th March 2017, on the Pitsea Landfill site, at Essex, England.  It's only previous sighting before today, was made on the 13th December 2017, when Adam McClure spotted it on the former Dargan Landfill site, not far from Kinnegar Beach.  You can read about Adam's sighting, on his blog entry (here).

Is   2H31 , another regular winter visitor to the shores of Belfast Lough?, only time will tell.  The distance from Pitsea, to Kinnegar, is roughly 550 kms / 341 miles (NW), the duration since being ringed, is now 1 year, 11 months and 6 days.

Black-headed Gull  -    2H31   -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 11th March 2017, at Pitsea Landfill Site, Essex, England)

After leaving Kinnegar Beach, my next stop was at Ward Park, in Bangor, where I was hoping to re-sight another one of Adam McClure's Study birds -   2ALH .  This Black-headed Gull, turned up at Antrim Marina, during the breeding season of 2016, but has not been recorded there since.  As Antrim Marina, is my main Study site, I've been keen to follow the progress of   2ALH   since.

My last sighting of   2ALH , was just prior to the 2018 breeding season, when I recorded it at Ward Park, on the 11th March.  When I got to Ward Park today, not a single Black-headed Gull was present, which is hugely surprising.

I moved on to Ballyholme Beach, Ballyholme and Bangor, are situated together, forming one large town.  On the beach, three 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls, were spotted, and all belonged to Adam's Study.

First up, was   2ALH , who I had been looking for, just a short time earlier at Bangor's Ward Park.  It was good to record it again.    2ALH , was ringed as a chick, on Mew Island (Copeland Islands, Co. Down), in June 2013, the duration now being 5 years, 7 months and 29 days.  The Copeland Islands, are quite close to Ballyholme Beach.

Black-headed Gull  -    2ALH   -  Ballyholme Beach, Ballyholme, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2013, on Mew Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

The second Black-headed Gull -   2CNB , did not ring a bell with me, so I thought that this might have been a new sighting.  Returning home, I discovered, that I had recorded   2CNB , as a juvenile, on the 23rd November 2017, at Sandy Bay, Larne, Co. Antrim (photo)  2CNB , had been ringed as a chick, on the 16th June 2017, on Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim.

Since my first sighting of   2CNB , I have one other re-sighting record on my spreadsheet.  Suzanne Belshaw, spotted   2CNB , on Ballyholme Beach, on the 19th May 2018.

  2CNB , was my second re-sighting of gulls, this weekend, of juveniles recorded in the past.  Yesterday, I recorded   EZ33164 , in Carnlough.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CNB   -  Ballyholme Beach, Ballyholme, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 16th June 2017, at Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)

The third Black-headed Gull -   2AFF , was a bird known to me, but today's sighting was a first for me.    2AFF , like   2ALH , was also ringed as a chick, on Mew Island, on the 19th June 2013.

I had three previous re-sightings listed on my spreadsheet.  The first, was at Whitehouse Lagoon, Belfast, on the 5th May 2014, by an unknown observer.  Adam McClure, recorded the gull at Whitehouse Lagoon, on the 14th September 2015.  The final, more recent record of this gull occurred at the start of this winter, when   2AFF , was spotted at Whitehead, Co. Antrim, on the 10th November, by Cameron Moore.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AFF   -  Ballyholme Beach, Ballyholme, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2013, on Mew Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

My final ring sighting of the day, was at the County Down village of Millisle.  Herring Gull -   4M:W , was no stranger to me, as this was my 5th record of the gull, since it was ringed on the 6th May 2015.  Ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the nearby Copeland Islands, all of my sightings have been made here at Millisle.

I first recorded the gull, on the 3rd January 2016, and I last spotted the gull just over a year ago, on the 11th February 2018.

Herring Gull  -    4M:W   -  Millisle, Outer Ards, Co. Down  (17 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Breeding Adult, on the 6th May 2015, on Big Copeland Island, Co. Down)


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