Thursday, 14 March 2019

Me - The Detective...

This is another very long post, in most part due to the amount of re-sightings, not only be myself personally, but includes the results of several emails that I have received.  These highlights the extraordinary distances that some young gulls travel.  New sightings, include recently ringed birds, which will be worth looking for over future winters.

As this winter of 'Ring Reading', comes to an end, many of our foreign birds will soon be returning home.  Although not finished yet, I'm already looking forwards to next winter.  I personally have recorded lots of new sightings, as well as a few birds, from a few years back, whom obviously have slipped underneath the 'radar'.

However, the 'Ring Reading' does not stop, as our summer breeding birds will be returning into their localities for another season, and it will be good to increase their longevity records.

      Antrim Marina - Monday 11th March 2019       
Today saw another Monday visit to Antrim Marina, and to be frank, I often dread the thought of it.  After a number of disastrous weekly visits, I never know what to expect, due mostly to the amount of disturbance, in one way or another.

Driving to the Marina today, I was 'bouyed' up, having spotted the Latvian   2AFD   2AFD , should have returned to the Marina, by early November, and I had even predicted the week of it's return.  By the end of my previous weekly visit, I still hadn't recorded   2AFD   at the Marina.

By chance, I fell in with   2AFD   yesterday, as an inspirational thought, took me through the centre of Antrim Town, on my way to County Down.  Having spotted a group of 20 to 30 Black-headed Gulls, on the rooftop of a shop, I swung my car into a vacant car park, where I was able to lure most of the birds down, with bread.  The only ringed bird to land, turned out to be   2AFD .

I have little doubt, that   2AFD , has visited the Marina in my absence, but has avoided the site, as with many other birds, because of the disturbance.  At least I now know, this bird did safely return to Antrim for another winter.

  2AFD , was ringed as an adult male, at Antrim Marina, on the 12th February 2014.  On the 4th, 5th & 11th April 2015,   2AFD  was spotted at the Getlini Eko Landfill Site, in the Latvian Capital of Riga.  In all probability   2AFD , breeds somewhere close to Riga.  This is the first winter since 2014, that I have not recorded   2AFD , at the Marina.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AFD   -  Castle Way Car Park, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (10 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Male, on the 12th February 2014, at Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim)

I arrived at the Marina this morning around 9.20, and many gulls were already perched on the ground around the car park.  The temperature read 4°C, plenty of blue sky, and a slight westerly breeze.  A quick count of the gulls before I began looking for rings, saw 103 birds present.

I departed at midday, and had a fairly successful session of ring 'Ring Reading'.  Of the 36 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls recorded so far this winter, 25 birds were re-sighted during today's visit.  As mentioned recently, a couple of birds such as   2AAV   and   2ABF , have not been seen for a while now, and I could include   2ADV , which visits on an irregular basis.  I cannot be sure, whether something has happened to these gulls, or it could be a case, that they are avoiding the Marina.

One gull, which is definitely not avoiding Antrim Marina, is the young Danish BHG -   VA4235 .  This was my seventh sighting of this bird, since I discovered it here on the 7th January 2019.

At all times during today's visit, the gulls numbered 100+, and may have just touched on the 200 mark, by the time of my departure.  If these totals keep up, over my final couple of weeks here, I will definitely be, well pleased. 

Black-headed Gull  -    2CTB   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (11 Mar 2019)
(Ringed at Antrim Marina, on the 24th December 2018)

Colour-Ringed Black-headed Gulls Spotted at Antrim Marina, on Monday 11th March 2012
 2ADJ   2AAT   2CJT   2ABK   2ABS   2CSF   2AAR   T35J   2CSJ 
 2BRA   2CTB   2CSX   2AAN   2AAA   2CSR   2CTC   2ABN   2CSK 
 2ACV   2AAP   2AAB   2CSH   2CSB   2ABL   2CSL     

Today's Absentees
 2AAK   2ABF   2AAV   2ADV   2BRD   2ANS 
 2CSA   2CSS   2CSV   2CTA   2CTD   

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
The most noticeable of the other birds recorded at the Marina today, were a pair of Red-breasted Mergander's.  I've often seen this species, out on Lough Neagh, just beyond the Marina, but this is the first time where I've actually seen them here.  Spending a while on the river, I didn't think they'd come ashore, but they eventually did so.  This was a first, in six winters of visiting the Marina.

The Pair of Red-breasted Mergander's on the Slipway, at Antrim Marina  (11 Mar 2019)

I'm still having no luck at recording the 'metal-ringed' Common Gulls from Scotland and Finland.  Just two adult Common Gulls were present throughout today's visit, with two juveniles appearing at 10.05 and 10.24.

The adult Herring Gull, was already on site when I arrived, but would come and go throughout the morning, as did the pair of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which arrived at 10.00.

Just 10 Mute Swans were present on my arrival, which included the regularly recorded   W34158 .  The small female Mute Swan -   W32105 , which had been here over the last couple of weeks, was not present.  This bird, was ringed on Hogganfield Loch, in Glasgow, Scotland.  The only addition to the total, was at 11.45, when a pair, along with a cygnet from last summer arrived.  None of these other swans were ringed.

Mallard number are still very much on the low side.  A count just before I departed, revealed a total of 23 birds.  This is very low for this time of the year, and I've still not recorded any rings on this winter.

Other species recorded during my visit, were 2 Hooded Crows, 8 Jackdaws, a pair of Pied Wagtails, and a single Grey Wagtail.

Leaving the Marina, I checked out the other three sites around the town of Antrim.  At the Elim Church, despite a good number of Black-headed Gulls, there is still no sign of   2AAV .  Last recorded in December, it is very unusual not record   2AAV   here, or at Antrim Marina.

Moving on to the nearby car park, of Antrim's KFC outlet, there was no sign of   2ADD , which I recorded here two weeks ago.  I did not visit these three other Antrim sites last week.    2ADD , spends the winter at Carrickfergus, and stops by the KFC outlet for a couple of weeks, before moving on to Antrim Marina.    2ADD , undoubtedly breeds on the 'Torpedo Platform', situated near the Marina.

My final stop of the day, was at Antrim's Baptist Church.  Unusual for this site, the gulls were already standing around the car park, instead of the surrounding green or the Church roof.  Driving in carefully, so as not to disturb them, the only ring spotted, was that of the Polish-rung Black-headed Gull - (White) TY43.

Having established last winter, that TY43, is a winter resident in the locality of the Church, it is now due to return to Poland.  It would not surprise me, if this is my last sighting of TY43, this winter.  My final sighting of TY43, last winter, occurred on the 25th February 2018.  On the 30th March 2018, it was spotted back in Olsztyn.

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  TY43  -  Antrim Baptist Church, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (11 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Calendar Year Bird, on the 9th February 2012, at Olsztyn, Poland)


      Mediterranean Gull in Morocco       
On the 7th March, I received an email from Andreas Zours, who is a ringing coordinator, for Mediterranean Gulls, ringed in Germany.  Andreas, has kindly kept me in the loop, concerning the gulls from their project which have been recorded in Northern Ireland.

The email, was about the latest sighting of the young bird -   AY.KA   AY.KA , was ringed as a chick, on the 8th June 2018, at the Rehbach Gravel Pits, near Leipzig, in Germany.  

Just Ringed  -  Mediterranean Gull  -    AY.KA   -  Rehbach Gravel Pits  (08 Jun 2018)
(Photo Courtesy of the Leipzig Ringing Team)

After fledging,   AY.KA , was spotted on numerous occasions, in June and early July, around the Gravel Pits, then it turned up at Whitehead, in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.  It was spotted on the seafront at Whitehead, by Cameron Moore, a keen birdwatcher in the small town, on the 17th July 2018 - just 1 month and 9 days, after being ringed.  The distance, was a whopping 1,263 kms / 784 miles (WNW), for such a young bird.

Mediterranean Gull  -    AY.KA   -  Whitehead, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland  (17 Jul 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 8th June 2018, at the Rehbach Gravel Pits, near Leipzig, Germany)
(Photo Courtesy of Cameron Moore)

The next three sightings of   AY.KA , came from the Republic of Ireland.  Brian Burke, recorded the gull, on the 1st, 2nd and 6th September 2018, on the seafront at Bray, in County Dublin.  The duration as of the 6th September 2018, was now 2 months and 29 days, and the distance to Bray from Leipzig, was 1,269 kms / 788 miles (W).

North West Spain, was the scene, of the next reported sighting.  On the 10th November 2018,   AY.KA , was spotted on the seafront at O Grove, near Pontevedra, by Antonio Fontoira.  By now, it was 5 months and 2 days, since   AY.KA , was ringed, and the distance from Leipzig, was 1,876 kms / 1,165 miles (S).

The overall distance covered, is quite astonishing, considering this young bird had initially flown WNW, before beginning it's southerly route.  The best was yet to come though, as on the 1st & 5th of March 2019, the latest sightings of   AY.KA , came from Morocco.  Ruth Garcia Gorria, reported   AY.KA , on both dates, on the seafront at El Jadida, in the north east of the country.  The duration, by the 5th March, was 8 months and 25 days, and the distance from Leipzig, 2,621 kms / 1,628 miles (S).

This young Mediterranean Gull, is not even a year old yet, but clearly demonstrates the use of 'colour-rings'.  My sincere thanks goes to Andreas Zours, for keeping me informed.  It is fantastic, to follow the travels of 'ringed birds' that have been previously spotted in Northern Ireland.  My thanks also goes to Cameron, Brian, Antonio and last of all, Ruth, for allowing me to include their sightings.  No doubt, we are going to hear more of this bird in the future - (PDF).

Ringing & Sighting Locations of Mediterranean Gull  -    AY.KA


      Mediterranean Gull in Portugal       
The latest sighting of the German bred   AY.KA , prompted me to check out the 'live' Polish Ringing Database.  I have reported a small number of Polish ringed Mediterranean Gulls, which have been spotted in Northern Ireland, not only by me personally, but on the behalf of a couple of other observers.

I found one update, and this was for a bird that I recorded on two occasions, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, in County Down.    PYU8 , was ringed as a chick, on the 6th June 2018, on an island, on Lake Ryńskie, Rybical, in north east Poland.  My first sighting of this young gull, was on the tidal lagoon, at Castle Espie, on the 29th July 2018.  A first re-sighting since being ringed, my sighting was made 1 month and 23 days later, the young gull having travelled 1, 757 kms / 1,091 miles (WNW), from Rybical.

Mediterranean Gull  -    PYU8   -  Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down  (29 Jul 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick on the 6th June 2018, on Lake Ryńskie, Rybical, NE Poland)

I recorded   PYU8 , for a second time, at Castle Espie, on the 2nd September 2018.  It was resting on the mudflats, a short distance from the Centre's 'Brent Hide', which overlooks both the tidal lagoon and the mudflats of Strangford Lough.  By now, it was 2 months and 27 days, since   PYU8 , had been ringed.

Mediterranean Gull  -    PYU8   -  Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down  (02 Sep 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 6th June 2018, on Lake Ryńskie, Rybical, NE Poland)

Having checked the 'live' Polish Ringing Database,   PYU8 , was reported on the 6th February 2019, at Vilafranca de Xira, in west Portugal, by Jacob Jan de Vries & Bob Loos.  The distance from Rybical to Vilafranca de Xira, is 2,831 kms / 1,759 miles (WSW), and the duration by the 6th February, was 8 months exactly, since being ringed.  This is another example, at just how far these young Mediterranean Gulls travel.

Ringing & Sighting Locations of Mediterranean Gull  -     PYU8  


      From Suzanne Belshaw       
Over recent weeks, Suzanne Belshaw, has been in contact, regarding a few 'colour-ringed' gulls that she has recorded.  Time had prevented me from reporting on these, but I hope Suzanne, does not mind, and I wish to thank her for submitting her sightings.

On the 4th February 2019, Suzanne checked out a number of sites around Belfast, and came across three 'ringed' gulls at the former Waterworks, and a further two 'ringed' gulls on the mudflats at the Dargan Industrial Estate.

The first of the three 'ringed' gulls at the former Belfast Waterworks, was a bird that I also recorded this winter.  On the 9th December 2018, I came across the Dutch-ringed (White) E6HA, on the old landfill site, at Belfast's Dargan Industrial Estate.  After reporting E6HA, to Frank Majoor, I discovered that the gull was no stranger to Belfast.  On the 17th September 2014, Adam McClure, also spotted E6HA, on the old landfill site (blog), this being the first ever sighting in Northern Ireland.

Suzanne's sighting on the 4th February, is now the third record of the gull here, and I've wondered if this bird has been overlooked each winter since 2014.  E6HA, was ringed as an adult male, on the 1st July 2010, at Harlingen, in NW Holland.  The distance, from Harlingen to the Waterworks, is roughly 760 kms / 472 miles (NW), and the duration since ringing, is now 8 years, 7 months and 3 days.

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  E6HA  -  Belfast Waterworks, Belfast  (04 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Male, on the 1st July 2010, at Harlingen, Friesland, NW Holland)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Suzanne, also came across a 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gull, but no matter how hard she tried, she could only capture a 'partial' number.  The gull was frequently disturbed by dog walkers, whilst Suzanne was taking photos of the ring and missed out on the last two digits, having captured -   EW518** .

I then did a search on my spreadsheet for   EW518 , to discover, that I had one record of a Common Gull, with the number   EW51832 , which had been ringed on the Copeland Islands, as a chick in 2009.  This prompted me to check the ringing data, which I received from Shane Wolsey, having taken over his former ringing project on Common Gulls.

Shane, had used the ring series   EW51801-50 , on Common Gulls, but seemingly did not use the series   EW51851-900 , on this species.  I then checked through the   EW51801-50   series to find that eight Black-headed Gull chicks had been ringed with the numbers   EW51806-13 .

At this point, while writing this, I thought I'd log into the BTO's new DemOn Ringing Database, and check out every ring number used in the series   EW51851-900 .  Having painstakingly entered every number, I discovered that all 50 rings had been used on Manx Shearwater chicks in September of 2017.  Although DemOn, at present, does not show the ringing locations, there is no doubt in my mind, that this series was also used on the Copeland Islands.

Having checked all 100 rings in the   EW518   series, Suzanne's Black-headed Gull, had to be one of those ringed   EW51806-13 , in which case   EW518** , had been ringed as a chick, on the 23rd June 2009.  This makes the duration, since being ringed, as 9 years, 7 months and 12 days.  The distance from Big Copeland Island to the former Belfast Waterworks, is 27 kms / 16 miles (WSW).

Suzanne, does not know about this little bit of detective work I've just carried out, but there's no doubting, that when she reads this, she will be pleased about the outcome.  I carried out a further check, on the DemOn Database, and none of the Black-headed Gulls, which were ringed   EW51806   to   EW51813 , have ever been reported since being ringed.

Black-headed Gull  -    EW518**   -  Belfast Waterworks, Belfast  (04 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 23rd June 2009, on the Copeland Islands, Co. Down)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

The third of Suzanne's ring sightings at the former Belfast Waterworks, was the first sighting outside of Norway, of a Black-headed Gull, 'colour-ringed' -   JLU3 .

I do not have the full ringing details for this bird, except to say, that it was ringed on the 25th April 2018, at Frognerparken, in Oslo.  It had been re-sighted once in Norway, before it was discovered at the Waterworks by Suzanne.

Perhaps one to watch for in the future,   JLU3 , had flown 1,158 kms / 719 miles (SW), to reach Belfast.  The duration since ringing, was 9 months and 10 days.

Black-headed Gull  -    JLU3   -  Belfast Waterworks, Belfast  (04 Feb 2019)
(Ringed on the 25th April 2018, at Frognerparken, Oslo, Norway)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

On the mudflats at Dargan, Suzanne spotted one of Adam McClure's Black-headed Gulls -   2BKD , though the ring was difficult to read.  I too, recorded   2BKD , here on the mudflats the day before Suzanne's sighting.

  2BKD , had been ringed as a chick, on the 19th June 2014, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, in County Down.    2BKD , was one of a number of chicks that were ringed at Castle Espie, which had gone un-recorded until I began a series of visits to the colony last summer.  On the 27th May 2018, nearly four years after being ringed, I discovered that   2BKD , was breeding at it's natal colony.

I recorded   2BKD , on two other occasions at Castle Espie - 10th & 24th June 2018, which were the only records of the gull, until it was spotted by Suzanne and myself, wintering at Dargan.

Castle Espie, is situated just 17 kms / 10 miles (SE), from Dargan.  The distance may be short as the crow flies, but try driving between the two sites, it seems to take forever.  The duration by the time of Suzanne's sighting, was now 4 years, 7 months and 16 days.

Black-headed Gull  -    2BKD   -  Dargan Mudflats, Belfast Lough  (04 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2014, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

The Polish-rung Common Gull -   TM45 , was Suzanne's second ring sighting on the Dargan Mudflats.  Unknown to me at the time, Suzanne's sighting on the 4th February, fell in between my two sightings on the 26th January 2019, at Dargan, and on the 17th February 2019, on the nearby Kinnegar Beach.

As far as I can tell, this is the first ever Polish-rung Common Gull, ever to be recorded in Northern Ireland.    TM45 , was ringed as juvenile, on the 7th September 2017, at Gdynia, in northern Poland.  The distance to Belfast is roughly 1,569 kms / 974 miles (W), and the duration by the 17th February 2019, was 1 year, 5 months and 10 days.

Common Gull -    TM45   -  Dargan Mudflats, Belfast Lough  (04 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Juvenile, on the 7th September 2017, at Gdynia, N. Poland)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

On the 27th February 2019, Suzanne was on the seafront at Ballyholme, in County Down, when she came across Black-headed Gull -   2CLV .  Another bird from Adam McClure's Study, this is possibly the second sighting of   2CLV , since it had been ringed as a chick, on the 16th June 2017.  Cameron Moore, spotted   2CLV , on the 28th August 2017, at Whitehead, in County Antrim.  It was ringed on Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough, Co. Antrim.

The distance from Blue Circle Island to Ballyholme, is 18 kms / 11 miles (SE), the duration is now 1 year, 8 months and 11 days, since being ringed.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CLV   -  Ballyholme, Co. Down  (27 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 16th June 2017, on Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)


      From Jan Rod       
On Saturday evening - 9th March, I received an email from Jan Rod, in Dublin.  Whilst out and about earlier in the day, Jan spotted one of Adam's Black-headed Gulls -   2CNH .  As Jan is a regular reader of my blog, he has read that Adam has not been responding to emails for quite a while now, and even his own blog, has seen no activity for a year.

Jan was trying his luck, as to whether or not, I had any record of this gull, and his luck was in.  My only sighting of   2CNH , occurred on the 14th July 2018, at Whitehouse Lagoon, situated to the north of Belfast.  The gull was ringed as a chick, on the 16th June 2017, on Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough, County Antrim, which lies 20 kms / 12 miles (NNE), from the lagoon.

Jan's latest sighting of   2CNH , was on the Tolka Estuary, in the Clontarf district, in the City of Dublin.  The distance from Blue Circle Island, is 164 kms / 101 miles (S), and the duration since ringing, was now 1 year, 8 months and 21 days.  My thanks goes to Jan, for getting in touch, and I've added the photo which I took of   2CNH , on the 14th July 2018.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CNH   -  Whitehouse Lagoon, Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim  (14 Jul 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 16th June 2017), on Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)


      Saturday 9th March 2019       
Today was another poor day weatherwise.  With frequent showers, and a strong wind, I made a late decision to visit the RSPB's Window on Wildlife Reserve in Belfast, as well as the nearby Kinnegar Beach.

At the WoW Reserve, I was hoping to have another go at reading 'metal' rings on the two Mediterranean Gulls, which I believe are of Dutch origin.  One of the rings, has been confirmed by Frank Majoor, the other ring, although I only have a partial number, was also from a ring series, used on De Kreupel Island, in 2016.

Not a single Med Gull appeared, but I noticed on the noticeboard in hide one, that 9 Med Gulls were spotted on the nesting platform on the 2nd March.  It will be interesting to see, if the total number of nesting pairs, exceeds the five pairs, that nested here last summer.

Scoping through the Black-headed Gulls on the nest platform, I re-sighted   2BLK   and   2AJF , both of which were recorded here recently.  I also spotted a Black-headed Gull, with a 'metal' ring.  I tried to follow this bird with my camera, but other gulls constantly blocked out my view of this bird.

On the nearby Kinnegar Beach, no 'colour-rings' were found, but 'metals' were noted on 2 Common Gulls, 1 Black-headed Gull and an Oystercatcher.


      Sunday 10th March 2019       
The weather today, was even worse than yesterday, as we experienced a mixture of rain, sleet and snow, coupled with gale force winds.  At times, I could feel my car 'rocking', as the wind was so strong.  However, on Saturday night, I had decided to make the long trip south to Kilkeel, in County Down, to coincide with the high tide, and then make my way back along the County Down coast.

Except for the harbour at Ardglass, I was very surprised at just how few gulls, waders and geese, were to be seen.  By the time I reached the village of Strangford, the afternoon really fell apart, as the sky darkened so much, it seemed as if it was night-time, though it was actually only 4.30.  At this point, I decided to call it a day and headed home, encountering a super heavy shower of hail stones on the way.

My original planned route to Kilkeel, was to go straight through Belfast, but nearing the town of Antrim, I changed my mind.  I decided to visit Corbet Lough and Castlewellan Forest Park, which meant I had to go through Antrim, Moira and Banbridge, on my way south.  

This change of plan, reaped it's reward.  Whilst driving through the centre of Antrim town, I noticed a group of 20 to 30 Black-headed Gulls, on the roof of a shop.  I drove around the block to a nearby vacant car park, and began throwing out bits of bread.  In no-time, most of those gulls, flew down for a feed.

A short distance away, a gull landed with an 'Orange Darvic', this being one of Adam's Study birds.  Grabbing my camera, and taking a couple of picture's, I nearly 'fell' through the ground, as I had just spotted   2AFD   2AFD , is from my own study at Antrim Marina, which was due to arrive back last November, but I havn't seen it there as yet.  The story of   2AFD , can be read about, at the top of this post.

Anyway, as mentioned, my Sunday afternoon had ended, but I did record four new ring sightings.  The first of these was a Brent Goose, rung Blue C / Blue C, on the beach at Rossglass.  As Graham McElwaine, from the Irish Brent Goose Research Group, is currently in Austrailia, I'll have to wait for the ringing details.

Brent Goose  -  Blue C / Blue C  -  Rossglass Beach, Co. Down  (10 Mar 2019)
(Waiting for the Ringing Details)

The next two rings, were both spotted at Ardglass Harbour, in County Down.  A gull with an 'Orange Darvic', had me thinking I'd just spotted another Isle of Man, Herring Gull.  The bird, was standing on a small rock outcrop, along with two Brent Geese, but on zooming out with my camera, I could see that it was a Common Gull, and it's ring read -   2AXB .

I automatically thought, this bird was from the project in Aberdeenshire, in Scotland, so emailed Calum Campbell about my sighting.  Although they do use 'colour-rings', starting with a two, followed by three letters, the   2A**   series did not belong to them.  I then looked up the cr-birding site, and discovered that Jez Blackburn from the BTO, was the named contact.

I then sent an email to Jez, and also reported the gull through the BTO's DemOn Ringing Database.  On Tuesday afternoon, the ringing details arrived back from the BTO.

As it is now Wednesday afternoon, and as I sit here on the laptop writing about   2AXB , an email has just arrived from Jim Lennon, and Jez was copied in.

  2AXB , was ringed as a chick, on the 5th July 2016, on the Shiant Islands, in the Western Isles, of Scotland.  Jim in his email, went on to say, that around 40 Common Gull chicks have been 'colour-ringed' in recent years on the islands, and this was by far their best sighting, reported to date, and a first for this bird.  The distance from the Shiant Islands, to Ardglass harbour, is 407 kms / 252 miles (S), and the duration from ringing, was 2 years, 8 months and 5 days.  My thanks goes to Jim for supplying the additional information. 

Common Gull  -    2AXB   -  Ardglass Harbour, Co. Down  (10 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 5th July 2016, on the Shiant Island, Western Islands, Scotland)

Several small groups of Brent Geese, were feeding around the shore of Ardglass harbour.  One was spotted, rung Red D / Red N.  As mentioned above, Graham McElwaine, is in Austrailia, so I'll have to wait on the details for this bird.

Brent Goose  -  Red D / Red N  -  Ardglass Harbour, Co. Down  (10 Mar 2019)
(Waiting for the Ringing Details)

Parking on the pier, at the village of Strangford, I positioned overlooking Swan Island, which hosts nesting Black-headed, Common Gulls and Sandwich Terns.  On throwing out bits of bread, I soon had a number of Black-headed Gulls, landing beside my car.  One of these, was a first sighting for me, of another one of Adam McClure's Study birds -   2CAV .

As Adam, is not responding to emails, I reported   2CAV , through the BTO's DemOn Ringing Database.  Again, on Tuesday afternoon, the ringing details arrived back with me.    2CAV , was ringed as a chick, on the 24th June 2016, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, situated just 21 kms / 13 miles (NNW), of Strangford.  I've know way of knowing whether this is a first re-sighting, but it seems that   2CAV , may perhaps nest on the island this summer.

Black-headed Gull  -    2CAV   -  Strangford Village, Strangford Lough, Co. Down  (10 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 24th June 2016, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)


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