Friday, 8 March 2019

Nesting Season Approaches...

As the breeding season approaches, the gulls are now on the move towards their nesting sites.  At the Window on Wildlife Reserve in Belfast, the Black-headed Gulls are now arriving to claim their spots on the nest platforms.  Among these are birds from Adam McClure's Study.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be directing my efforts on these easily viewed breeding sites, which will include Castle Espie.

As the gulls here are preparing for another season, news has arrived with me about a juvenile Mediterranean Gull, which was spotted last autumn in Northern Ireland, but has now turned up in the warmer weather of Morocco.  More about that, will be published in my next post.

Suzanne Belshaw, has contacted me, concerning her 'ring sightings' over the past few weeks, which includes a couple of foreign birds.  I'm already at work, preparing these for my next post.

      Antrim Marina - Monday 4th March 2019       
Once again, I decided on a Monday visit to Antrim Marina, but this time, I planned to arrive at some point in the afternoon.  I had booked today and tomorrow off from work, as my working area was completely being overhauled with new machinery, which will eventually see much of the production becoming mechanised.  This will be bad news for many of the agency workforce.

With the tide due to start receding shortly after midday, I decided to go to Larne Lough first.  Scoping the birds from the railway station platform at Glynn, Common Gulls especially, were present in good numbers.  By the time of 1.30 in the afternoon, I found it hard to believe, not a single 'colour-ring' was spotted, or a 'metal' for that matter.  I had to make a move for Antrim Marina, as I had to get that visit done, to return home by 5pm, for other reasons.

Monday, was a windy day and quite chilly.  Arriving at the Marina at 2.05, many Black-headed Gulls were standing around the car park, close to the slipway.  At all times, around 100+ gulls were present.  If they took off, they returned minutes later.  I had a fairly good 'Ring Reading' session, and out of 36 'colour-ringed' Black-headed Gulls recorded this winter, 21 were re-sighted during this visit.

As regular readers of my blog will be well aware, my attempts at 'Reading Rings' here over the last couple of months, has been disastrous, largely due to disturbance, in one form or another.  This has undoubtedly produced an unclear picture, on the comings and goings of many of the study birds.  All 'colour-ring' sightings at the Marina, are entered onto a spreadsheet, dedicated for this site.  I've noticed that two of the gulls that I consider as residents, have not been recorded since last December.  These are   2ABF , and   2AAV  .  In the case of   2AAV , if it is not recorded at the Marina, it can often be found at the Elim Church, further up the town of Antrim.

In the last couple of weeks, I've kept a special 'eye out' looking for 'metal-rung' Black-headed Gull.  In March 2017, and February 2018, I had recorded a 'partial' number on a Black-headed Gull, which bore an 'upside-down' ring -   E*85673 .  As yet, I have not seen it this spring.  One thing I did notice during today's visit, was an increase in adult Black-headed Gulls, which are quite old - their legs being a very dark brown.

Whilst keeping an 'eye out' for 'metal-rings', it was not long before the young Danish Black-headed Gull -   VA4235 , appeared.  Today's sighting, is my sixth record of it, since I discovered it here on the 7th January 2019.  No doubt, it is happy at the Marina, and seems to be going nowhere at any time soon.  It is no longer shy at approaching people for bread handouts.

The next 'metal', observed several times, belonged to   2ABL , who managed to loose it's 'colour-ring' some time ago.  Every time   2ABL   appeared I had to scope it's ring, just to be sure it was not a different gull.    2ABL , also has a raised middle toe on it's left foot, but sometimes it cannot be seen.

At 3.40, a Black-headed Gull, with a 'metal-ring', landed quite close to my car.  This time using my binoculars, I could see an 'upside-down' ring and the digits -   EG55 .  I knew this was   EG55380 , so did not attempt to photograph the whole ring number.  I was well pleased to see it for the second time of late.  On February 18th past,   EG55380   was recorded for the first time since the 28th February 2016.

Having not recorded it over the previous two winters, I thought it may have died.  My first ever sighting of   EG55380 , was made on the 23rd February 2014, the only record of it that winter.  In the following season of 2014/2015,   EG55380 , was recorded twice - on the 1st and 15th March 2015.  What makes   EG55380 , so special to me - not only is it one of the oldest Black-headed Gulls on my records (13 years, 8 months and 10 days), it was erroneously ringed as a Common Gull chick, on the 22nd June 2005.

Talking of deaths, the scattered feathers of an adult Black-headed Gull, were seen on the green, beside the buildings belonging to the Lough Neagh Rescue Team.  No doubting this gull was likely to have been killed by a Sparrowhawk.  The gulls would use the green to feed on, and a Sparrowhawk could easily use the cover of the building or trees, in which to mount an attack.

Below, I've added a photograph of the Lithuanian bred (White) T35J.  Ringed as a chick in 2006, it was caught and re-ringed by the Polish, in 2011.  T35J, has been recorded every winter at Antrim Marina, since October 2012 and at present is due to depart for home, hence the latest photo. 

Colour Ringed Black-headed Gulls Recorded at Antrim Marina, Monday 4th March 2019
 2AAA   2CSX   2AAR   2ABK   2CSJ   2CJT   2AAB 
 2CTC   2CSV   2AAT   2ABS   2CSR   2ABL   2ADJ 
 T35J   2AAN   2CSK   2CTB   2CSF   2CSB   2BRA 

Today's Absentees
 2AAP   2AAK   2ABN   2ABF   2AAV   2ACV   2ADV   2BRD 
 2ANS   2CSA   2CSH   2CSL   2CSS   2CTA   2CTD   

Juvenile Black-headed Gull  -    VA4235   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (04 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 28th May 2018, at  Hirsholm, NE Denmark)

Black-headed Gull  -  (White)  T35J  -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (04 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 3rd June 2006, on Lake Kretuonas, NE Lithuania)

Black-headed Gull  -    EG55380   -  Antrim Marina, Antrim Town, Co. Antrim  (04 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 22nd June 2005, on Big Copeland Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

Other Birds at Antrim Marina
The Mute Swans caught my attention as I arrived, as 12 birds were feeding on the grass directly in front of the cafe, and a further three were on the slipway.  Checking all for 'metal-rings', two were spotted -   W34158 , who is an ever present, and   W32105 , who was present here two weeks ago, on the 18th February.    W32105 , first appeared at the Marina, on the 12th May 2016, which was my only record of it until recently.  This small female, had been ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 17th November 2011, at Hogganfield Loch, in Glasgow, Scotland.  No sightings of this swan, had been reported anywhere, until it's arrival at Antrim Marina.

Mallard numbers continue to be on the low side, with just 34 birds counted.  Still waiting for my first ring on any of these this winter.

One adult, and two juvenile Common Gulls were present on my arrival.  A second adult, arrived at 3.47pm, followed by a third juvenile, at 4.10.  None of these were ringed, and I'm slowly giving up hope on re-sighting the 'metal-rung' birds from Scotland and Finland.  There is no doubting, that all of the disturbance around the Marina, had made an impact on the number of Common Gulls recorded this winter.  Although numbers are never high, in most winters, at least a dozen plus adults, along with a few juveniles, would normally visit.

The adult Herring Gull, which has appeared of late, was present on my arrival, and the Lesser Black-backed Gull pair, which appeared last week, would come and go.

Other species recorded during my visit, were a single Hooded Crow, and seven Jackdaws.


      Saturday 2nd March 2019       
The weather today was terrible, with almost constant showers of heavy rain, and quite a strong wind.  I was going to stay at home, but as the strength of the showers diminished, I decided to get out of the house for a while.  I headed off to Belfast, to have another go at reading the 'metals' on two Mediterranean Gulls at the RSPB's Window on Wildlife Reserve.  At least here, I could sit in hide one, and remain dry.

Having had one of the two rings recorded last Saturday (23rd February), being confirmed by Frank Majoor, as being  3.735.920 , I was attempting to complete the other ring number, for which I only had a partial number -   3.739.*** .  Initially, I thought this second Med Gull, was ringed with a BTO ring, but on checking all of the photos that I took, I swayed towards thinking that this gull was also Dutch.

After Frank, had confirmed   3.735.920 , I sent another email to him, about the gulls presence over the previous two summers.  Although I could not read the ring, I knew this gull reared chicks in both years.  I also included a photo, of the second ringed Med Gull -   3.739.*** .  This evening, I received a reply from Frank, to state that   3.739.*** , belonged to the ring series used to ring chicks on De Kreupel Island, during the summer of 2016.

The only Mediterranean Gull, to be seen on nesting platform two today, was the gull with the partial number.  Having taken several photos, the details on the ring were very poor, due to the bad light and the falling rain.  Although not clear, just one photo appeared to capture some of the digits.

I was looking for the last three missing digits of   3.739.*** .  Here, I had a photo showing what appears to be   .59* , but interestingly, the number before the dot looks like an   8 , whereas it should be a   9 .

This now makes things a little confusing, but only further photos will solve the problem.  Looking at the head plumage of today's Med Gull, as compared to the photo taken last Saturday, there is no doubting that they belong to the same gull.  Later in the afternoon, the showers ceased and blue sky appeared.  At this point, my Med Gull decided to take off.

Metal-rung Mediterranean Gull  -  RSPB Window on Wildlife Reserve Belfast  (02 Mar 2019)

Another Photo Zoomed into the Leg

As well as checking for Med Gulls, I constantly scanned the nesting platform, for Black-headed Gulls belonging to Adam McClure's Northern Ireland Study.  Last Saturday, I noted the first of the returning gulls prior to this summer's breeding season.  Among them, was my first ever sighting of   2BLK , a BHG that I was aware of.

Another Black-headed Gull -   2AJF , was spotted on the platform during my visit today.  My first ever sighting of the gull, was made on the 12th May 2018, on this same platform, which according to Adam, was the first record of the gull since being ringed as a chick, in June 2014, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre.  During the past winter, I spotted   2AJF , on the 9th December 2018, on the former landfill site at Dargan, and more recently, on the 17th February 2019, on Kinnegar Beach.  The Window on Wildlife Reserve, is situated between those two sites.

Black-headed Gull  -    2AJF   -  RSPB Window on Wildlife Reserve, Belfast  (02 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2014, at The Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)

As my Mediterranean Gull, had flown away, and with the sun now shining, I left the reserve, to visit nearby Kinnegar Beach.  The tide was well out, and despite scoping loads of gulls and waders, the only three 'colour-rings' spotted were on Brent Geese.  One of them was Red H / Red J, spotted here last Saturday.

The other two were new sightings to me - Black H / White P, and what appeared to be Yellow I / Yellow 3.  The photos I took of the three geese were not great, due to the distance involved, but I've added the one for Yellow I / Yellow 3, as when I returned to Kinnegar Beach the following day, there was no sign of this goose.

I reported all three sightings to Graham McElwaine, of the Irish Brent Goose Research Group.  Graham replied to my email, to say he was in Hong Kong, en-route to Australia, so I'll have to wait for details on these new sightings.  As Yellow I / Yellow 3, also has a 'metal-ring', I know this bird would have been caught and ringed in Iceland.  Any Brent Geese, caught and 'colour-ringed', either in Northern Ireland, or in the Republic of Ireland, are not fitted with 'metals'.

Brent Goose  -  Yellow I / Yellow 3  -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (02 Mar 2019)
(Waiting on the Ringing Details)

I remained at Kinnegar Beach, until after sunset.  With the fading light, the tide was well on it's way in again.  With many birds departing, Dunlins became the bird of interest.  As many as 200, were still busy feeding along the shoreline, and were easily viewed with my binoculars.  Sadly, not even a 'metal', was spotted on any of them.  Time to call it a day, but I'd be back tomorrow for a quick visit, en-route to other County Down sites.


      Sunday 3rd March 2019       
My plan for today, was to start at the RSPB's Window on Wildlife Reserve, on Belfast's Harbour Estate, then visit nearby Kinnegar Beach, in time to catch the outgoing tide, and finishing off the afternoon with visits to other sites in County Down, hopefully reaching Ballywalter before dark.

I managed to get as far as Millisle, then the skies darkened and heavy rain began to fall.  I decided not to go any further, as at Millisle, my camera had trouble trying to focus in the low light conditions.  Had I got to Ballywalter, I was hoping to re-sight my oldest BTO rung Black-headed Gull, before it departs for it's breeding site.  What's the point, when the camera has trouble focusing.

Arriving at the Window on Wildlife Reserve, I went straight to hide one, which overlooks nesting platform two.  The weather conditions were good, as it was dry and bright.  I wanted to have another go, at completing the ring number of the Mediterranean Gull, seen yesterday and last Saturday - 23rd February.  I still need to confirm the final three digits, having already captured -   3.739.*** .  There was no sign of this gull, so I called back again, after finishing my visit to Kinnegar Beach.

An un-ringed Med Gull, did appear during my second visit, but only remained for about ten minutes.  Other than that, no other Med Gulls were seen.

Whilst scoping through the Black-headed Gulls, during my first visit of the day, to the WoW Reserve, I spotted a Black-headed Gull, which to me, became the sighting of the day.  It was not until I returned home, that I discovered, that   2BPX , was an old Christmas Day sighting.  My only previous record for this gull, was made on the 25th December 2015.  On that occasion, I spotted it on railings beside the berth at the gas terminal, just down the road from the RSPB Reserve.

  2BPX , was ringed as a chick, on the 1st July 2013, on Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough, Co. Antrim.  The only other record I have, was a sighting on the 26th May 2014, when   2BPX , was spotted by Paul McCullough, at the Mill Ponds, at Carrickfergus Leisure Centre.  As Adam McClure, has not responded to emails for a year now, it seems as if he has abandoned his Northern Ireland Study.  I have no way of knowing if   2BPX , has been reported to him, at any time since 2015.

I even checked   BPX 's 'metal' number -   EY66760 , on the BTO's new DemOn Ringing Database, to discover that no re-sighting data had been submitted.  I then tried random 'metal' numbers for a few more of Adam's Study birds, to discover the same result.  As with many other 'colour-ringing' projects, the coordinators often fail to submit the re-sighting data to the BTO.  Surely, this must impact on the likes of longevity studies, due to lack of data being submitted.

I came across this same problem, after taking over Shane Wolsey's former Common Gull Project.  Since, I discovered, that re-sightings had not been reported to the BTO, I have when time allows, submitted this historical data.  I'm beginning to think, that Adam has given up on his project, as he cannot keep up with the amount of re-sightings being reported, and he would be faced with a mammoth task, adding those to the DemOn Database.

Black-headed Gull  -    2BPX   -  RSPB Window on Wildlife Reserve, Belfast  (03 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 1st July 2013, on Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)

As no more ringed gulls were to be seen, I moved on to the nearby Kinnegar Beach, but would return to the RSPB Reserve, after a short period of time.  I was in place, just in time, as the tide was beginning to recede.  Far less gulls and waders appeared than yesterday, but 'metals' were spotted on a couple of Common and Black-headed Gulls.  One of the Black-headed Gull's bore a tall ring, which meant it was likely to have been ringed in Finland.

With the tide well out, Brent Geese began to arrive, and included two of the three 'colour-ringed' birds spotted yesterday.  One was Red H / Red J, spotted last Saturday and last winter, here at Kinnegar.  The other was yesterday's new sighting Black H / White P.  I managed to get a good photo of this bird today, but will have to wait for it's ringing details, as Graham McElwaine, has gone to Australia.  One thing I do know, due to the lack of a 'metal-ring', it was caught either in Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland.

Brent Goose  -  Black H / White P  -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Waiting for the Ringing Details)

I was about to leave Kinnegar Beach, when I finally spotted a 'colour-ringed' gull.  It was my third sighting of a Scottish-rung Common Gull -   2H70 .  Ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the Ythan Estuary, in Aberdeenshire, on the 26th August 2016, my two previous sightings occurred on the 12th February 2017 and on the 18th March 2018.  This is the third winter running, where I have recorded   2H70 , on at least one occasion.

The duration since being ringed, is now 2 years, 6 months and 5 days.  The distance from the Ythan Estuary to Kinnegar, is 383 kms / 237 miles (SW).

Common Gull  -    2H70   -  Kinnegar Beach, Belfast Lough, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 26th August 2016, on the Ythan Estuary, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)

I returned for a second visit the RSPB's Window on Wildlife Reserve, to check for ringed Med Gulls.  One un-ringed bird did appear briefly, but I had no luck with the two 'metal-rung' birds.  I will persist with more visits, as reading their numbers is a must do.

On Scoping the nesting platform, the Black-headed Gulls present were quite boisterous.  A further three of Adam's Study Gulls were spotted.  One of them, was situated in the far right corner of the platform, and it's 'colour-ring' was obscured by a large piece of timber.

I easily captured the codes on the other two gull's, the first being   2ASF .  This is the fourth year in a row, that I have recorded   2ASF   on this nest platform.    2ASF , had been ringed as a chick, on the 18th June 2013, at Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough.

The first re-sighting of   2ASF , was made on the 4th August 2015, when Suzanne Belshaw recorded it at the nearby Whitehouse Lagoon, where Adam himself also recorded the gull, on the 19th October 2015.  The next sighting, was made by me, on the 13th March 2016, when   2ASF , made it's first appearance on this nesting platform.

After the breeding season, I recorded   2ASF , on three occasions back at Whitehouse Lagoon - 25th September 2016, 15th October 2016, and on the 24th December 2016.  My next sighting, was on the 22nd April 2017, when I recorded the gull on the nesting platform for the second year running.

There were no further sightings until 20th March 2018, when I again recorded   2ASF , back here for a third year.  After the 2018 breeding season had finished, I once again spotted the gull back at Whitehouse Lagoon (19th August 2018), which was the last sighting until today.  

Black-headed Gull  -    2ASF   -  RSPB Window on Wildlife Reserve, Belfast  (03 Mar 2018)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2013, on Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim)

The second Black-headed Gull, was   2BLK , a bird that I hadn't personally seen, until a couple of weeks ago, when I spotted it on the nest platform (23rd February 2019).  I was aware of   2BLK , as Derek Polley, had spotted the gull here last year, on the 15th March 2018, which had been the last record of it until my latest sightings.

  2BLK , was ringed as a chick, on the 19th June 2014, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, in County Down.  David Nixon, made the first two re-sightings, when he recorded   2BLK , slightly to the south of Castle Espie, having spotted the gull on the 8th & 9th October 2015, at Millquarter Bay, in County Down.

Black-headed Gull  -    2BLK   -  RSPB Window on Wildlife Reserve, Belfast  (03 Mar 2019)
Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2014, at The Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)

Next, I went into the RSPB's visitor centre, to view the gulls on nesting platform one.  I spent the best part of an hour, checking out the Black-headed Gulls for 'colour-rings', without any luck.  I have yet to record my first ring on this platform.

With time pushing on, I then drove straight to Millisle in County Down.  The seafront here, has been known to be a 'hotspot' for recording ringed Common Gulls.  I have experienced this in the past, but more recent visits here, have resulted in a 'poor showing'.

Very few Common Gulls were present, but two 'metals' and one 'colour-ringed' bird were spotted.  One of the two 'metal-ringed' gulls, was not interested in the bread offering, and decided to fly out onto the beach.  I quickly sorted out the 'colour-ringed' bird which was   2BBC .

  2BBC , was ringed as a chick, on the nearby Copeland Islands, on the 23rd June 2009.  All re-sightings of this gull, have been made here, along the Millisle seafront.  The bird has a re-sighting history as long as your arm, so it's pointless going into detail.  All I can say, is that it has never been recorded here in the months of April or May.  No doubt, it's too busy on it's nest, which is most likely to be on Big Copeland Island.

I went to the Copeland Islands for a weekend last summer.  I stayed at the Bird Observatory on Lighthouse Island, but very few Common Gulls actually nest on that island.  I really need time to spend on Big Copeland Island, which has the largest population of breeding Common Gulls.  I have no contacts, for access to the island, but it would be great to scope the gulls whilst they are at their nests, to record 'colour-ringed' birds.  If anyone reading this, know of any contacts, please email me.

Anyway, since   2BBC   was ringed as a chick, the duration is now 9 years, 8 months and 8 days. 

Common Gull  -    2BBC   -  Millisle Seafront, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 23rd June 2009, on Big Copeland Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

The second 'metal-ringed' Common Gull, was easily recognisable, and I didn't really need to take the trouble of photographing it's ring number.  Having a severely crippled left leg, my sighting of this gull today, is my sixth record of it here.  Ringed -   EX38230 , as a chick on the 2nd June 2010, my first sighting of this bird, was made on the 5th March 2016.  The duration since being ringed, is now 8 years, 9 months and 1 day.  Despite it's crippled leg, it's good to see that this Copeland bred gull, is still going strong.

Common Gull  -     EX38230   -  Millisle Seafront Car Park, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 2nd June 2010, on Big Copeland Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

The next 'ringed' gull to be spotted, was another ever present at Millisle's seafront car park, which I knew would be   GA00153 , and has an 'upside-down' ring.  This Herring Gull, had been misidentified, when being ringed as a chick, on the 22nd June 2005.  My first ever sighting of   GA00153 , was made on the 24th December 2015, and having reported it to the BTO, I received the ringing details, to say it was ringed as a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

I had to send photos to the BTO, to show it was actually a Herring Gull.  With my latest sighting today, the duration since ringing, is now 13 years, 8 months and 9 days.    GA00153 , is another gull from the nearby Copeland Islands.

Herring Gull  -    GA00153   -  Millisle Seafront Car Park, Co. Down  (03 Feb 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 22nd June 2005, on Big Copeland Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

A 'metal-ringed' Black-headed Gull, made a late appearance to the car park.  Having caught it's attention with bits of bread, my camera swung into action.  With a number of photos taken, I checked to see what I'd caught of the ring number, to find that it was complete -   EW48510 .

On returning home, I checked the number on my spreadsheet, to find that I had recorded this gull here on the 23rd December 2017.  This was now my second sighting of the gull.    EW48510 , had been ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 14th August 2017, at the Castle Espie Wetland Centre, also in County Down.  Oddly, this one was ringed by the Belfast & Down Ringing Group, whereas, Adam McClure normally rings the Black-headed Gulls at Castle Espie.

It was good to record this bird again, as I try my best to re-sight every 'ringed' bird that I record, at least once a year.  Every sighting helps in establishing longevity records.

Black-headed Gull  -    EW48510   -  Millisle Seafront Car Park, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 14th August 2017, at The Castle Espie Wetland Centre, Co. Down)

At the far end of the car park, I noticed a commotion going on with the gulls there surrounding a car.  I knew the folk there must have been feeding the birds with something, so I drove over.  On my way, I noticed a group of Brent Geese, but they'll have to wait for a minute or two.

On reaching the car, a 'colour-ringed' Herring Gull was present, this one being   4M:W , a gull I recorded here a couple of weeks ago, on the 17th February 2019.  Ringed as an un-sexed adult, on the 6th May 2015, today's sighting is my 8th record of   4M:W , on the Millisle seafront.  The first re-sighting of the gull, was made by me on the 3rd January 2016.

David Nixon, has made two of the eight re-sightings, having recorded   4M:W   here, on the 10th February 2016, and on the 23rd November 2017.    4M:W , was ringed as part of a relatively new project, that began on the Copeland Islands in 2014.

Herring Gull  -    4M:W   -  Millisle Seafront Car Park, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2018)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Adult, on the 6th May 2015, on Big Copeland Island, The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)

Having checked out the gulls, I returned to the Brent Geese, where 9 individuals were feeding beside the small play park.  One of these was ringed - White V / White J.  As Graham McElwaine, is in Australia, I'll have to wait for the ringing details for this bird, which was a new sighting for me.  As it does not have a 'metal ring', I know it was ringed somewhere on the Irish mainland.

Brent Goose  -  White V / White J  -  Millisle Seafront Car Park, Co. Down  (03 Mar 2019)
(Waiting on the Ringing Details)

By now the skies, were really dark, and the rain was falling quite heavily.  My camera, was having problems trying to focus in the poor light, so I decided to call it a day.  I had hoped to get to Ballywalter, to see if I could re-sight my oldest BTO ringed Black-headed Gull, but I must try again soon.


      Tuesday 5th March 2019       
As I was booked off from work yesterday and today, I decided to make another attempt at 'Ring Reading', at Larne Lough.  Having been here yesterday, I felt a bit 'peeved' at not spotting any ringed gulls, especially as there were quite a high number of Common Gulls present.

When I arrived at the railway station at Glynn, it was raining quite heavily, but the shelter kept me dry, as I waited for the tide to recede, and the gulls to appear.  Sadly, far fewer Common Gulls arrived today, but two 'colour-rings' were spotted - both being re-sightings of birds recorded here recently.

Among the gulls, an Oystercatcher, was spotted standing on one leg, which had a 'White Darvic', with the letters - EA.  Although it's other leg, was tucked into it's body, I knew this was LW-W(EA).  With Lime over White, on the hidden leg, I first recorded this bird here on the 31st December 2018, and again on the 13th January 2019.

Ringed as an un-sexed breeding adult, on the 19th May 2017, at Auðsholt, in south-west Iceland, it's only other Northern Ireland re-sighting, was made by Neal Warnock, here at Glynn, on the 27th January 2018.

Oystercatcher  -  LW-W(EA)  -  Glynn, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim  (05 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as an Un-Sexed Breeding Adult, on the 19th May 2017, at Auðsholt, SW Iceland)

Eventually, with the tide well out, I finally spotted a Common Gull, with a 'Yellow Darvic'.  Zooming well into digital mode with my camera, I captured the code -   2H22 .  This was the third sighting of   2H22 , here on Larne Lough this winter.  Cameron Moore, spotted it, on the 15th October 2018, and I recorded it on the 18th November 2018.

  2H22 , was first recorded in Northern Ireland, on the 14th September 2016, in his home town of Whitehead, just a few kilometres south of Larne Lough.  I first came across   2H22 , on the 16th December 2016, at Sandy Bay, in Larne, just north of Glynn.  The only other sightings, were made by me in 2017, when I recorded   2H22 , on the 10th & 12th July, at Carnlough Bay, several kilometres up the County Antrim coast.

  2H22 , was ringed as a chick, on the 26th June 2016, on the Isle of Arran, in Scotland.  It has yet to be recorded back home, but is certainly gaining quite a re-sighting history in Northern Ireland.

Common Gull  -    2H22   -  Glynn, Larne Lough, Co. Antrim  (05 Mar 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 26th June 2016, at Glenscorrodale, on the Isle of Arran, Scotland)


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