Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Struck Down...

I did absolutely nothing over the weekend past, as I was struck down by a kidney infection.  Not feeling great on Saturday, and with the tides not in my favour, I had decided to remain at home, and to visit Antrim Marina on Sunday morning.  I even purchased three loaves of bread, leaving them in the car ready for that visit.

With my alarm going off at 7am on Sunday morning, I reached out to experience great pain and could hardly get dressed.  The stabbing pain was just sheer agony, and every step taken was a nightmare.  I had to stay at home, with nothing to contribute towards this weeks post.  By Sunday evening a few emails arrived, which supplied me with some content, which has saved the day.

After seeing the doctor on Monday, I returned home with an anti-biotic and a sick line for the week, hence an earlier than normal post.

      Antrim Marina       
As mentioned above, I had to cancel my weekly visit to Antrim Marina, but on Sunday evening an email arrived from Ian Enlander.  Ian visited the Marina at 12:45, and spotted six of the colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls from my study there.  Unfortunately, none of the expectant returnees were recorded, but six sightings to add to my spreadsheet, was still better than none.

Among Ian's sightings, were   2AAR , which we know goes to Poland to breed, and   2ACV , which has been recorded at Leighton Moss in Lancashire, England.    2ABS , I consider as possibly being a  non-resident, which re-appears here in late May to early June, so might nest elsewhere in Northern Ireland, but not at the 'Torpedo Platform' which is quite close to the Marina.

  2AAK  is definitely a non-resident, but as yet has never been spotted away from Antrim, and usually arrives back in late July, to early August.  There are no doubts about   2ABK   and   2CJT , as they are present here all year round.

My thanks to Ian for his sightings, and it's just a pity that I couldn't go today, as I've never met Ian, though we have corresponded many times.  I reported Ian's birds to the BTO, via my DemOn account.

Colour Ringed Black-headed Gulls Recorded by Ian Enlander on Sunday 1st December 2019
 2AAK   2AAR   2ABK   2ABS   2ACV   2CJT 


      From Suzanne Belshaw       
Several emails, one after another, arrived from Suzanne on Sunday evening, updating me on her latest ring sightings.  Working in date order, there was another re-sighting of Herring Gull -   T3UH , at Tyrella Beach in County Down.  Having been ringed as a chick on the 30th June 2012, on the Isle of Man,   T3UH   had gone un-recorded until Suzanne first spotted it on Tyrella Beach, on the 11th September 2019.  Suzanne's latest sighting, is the third month in a row, here at Tyrella.  The duration has risen to 7 years, 4 months and 28 days, with Tyrella situated 64 kms / 39 miles (WNW), from the Calf of Man.

Herring Gull  -    T3UH   -  Tyrella Beach, Co. Down  (27 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 30th June 2012, on the Calf of Man, Isle of Man)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

On the 29th November Suzanne visited Kinnego Marina and Lurgan Park, which are situated fairly close to each other in County Armagh.  At Kinnego, Suzanne re-sighted three Black-headed Gulls belonging to Adam McClure's former Northern Ireland Project.  All three have never been recorded away from the Marina.  Not enough summer visits have been carried out as far as I know, to try and establish whether these three gulls are residents or winter visitors.  I have one record for   2BPN , having been recorded in May 2015, but this alone is not enough to establish whether or not, that this bird is an all year resident.

Black-headed Gull  -    2BPN   -  Kinnego Marina, Lough Neagh, Co. Armagh  (29 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Female, on the 29th October 2014, at Kinnego Marina)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Black-headed Gull  -    2BPS   -  Kinnego Marina, Lough Neagh, Co. Armagh  (29 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Female, on the 31st October 2014, at Kinnego Marina)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Black-headed Gull  -    2BPT   -  Kinnego Marina, Lough Neagh, Co. Armagh  (29 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as an Adult Female, on the 31st October 2014, at Kinnego Marina)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

At Lurgan Park, Suzanne recorded another welcomed re-sighting.  This was a metal-rung Black-headed Gull -   EW57424 .  Having not been seen at Lurgan Park, since the 10th January 2018 (S. Belshaw), this gull may have slipped by un-noticed last winter.  I first came across   EW57424 , on the 26th November 2015, and during the following two winters, it was recorded by Suzanne and myself.

What really makes this re-sighting of interest, is that   EW57424 , is from England, having been ringed as a chick, on the 21st May 2008, at Kingsbury Waterpark in Warwickshire.  The duration for this gull has now risen to 11 years, 6 months and 8 days, and the distance from the ringing site is 372 kms / 231 miles (NW).

Black-headed Gull  -    EW57424   -  Lurgan Park Lake, Lurgan, Co. Armagh  (29 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 21st May 2008, at Kingsbury Waterpark, Warwickshire, England)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

On the 30th November 2019, Suzanne recorded a colour-ringed Oystercatcher, at Castle Park in Newcastle, Co. Down.  Sadly, the ring is in poor condition, with the black digits appearing to be leaking through the white background.  Suzanne, thinks the code reads as (White) T12, but is not 100% sure.  The Oystercatcher has been reported by Suzanne, to the Grampian Ringing Group in Scotland, but as yet there has been no reply.

I checked the BTO's Online Ringing Report for County Down, covering the years 2015 to 2018, to see if a colour-ringed Oystercatcher with a British metal had ever been recorded at Newcastle, but came up blank with this effort.  Had there been a record, I could have contacted the BTO, to request the colour-code.  No harm in trying though.  My thanks to Suzanne for her latest contribution, along with the photos.

Oystercatcher  -  (White) T12  -  Castle Park, Newcastle, Co. Down  (30 Nov 2019)
(Waiting for the Ringing Details)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)


      From Brian Power       
My favourite email, which arrived on Sunday evening came from Brian Power, who I assume lives in the City of Cork, in the Republic of Ireland.  Whilst out on Sunday afternoon, Brian spotted one of my Black-headed Gull youngsters, which I had ringed on the 19th June 2019, at Inch Island in County Donegal, which is also in the Republic.

Colour-ringed -   2FCV , the young gull was recorded at Andersons Quay, which overlooks the River Lee, that runs through the city.  I reported Brian's sighting to the BTO, through my DemOn account, and on Monday afternoon, received the official recovery details.    2FCV , had flown 357 kms / 221 miles (SSW), to reach Cork, and the duration since ringing, was 5 months and 12 days.

I was delighted with the sighting, as this was the first recovery of around fifty chicks colour-ringed back in June.    2FCV , was also spotted again by Brian on Monday, at Albert Quay, just a stones throw away from where he had first spotted the bird the day before.  My thanks to Brian for reporting   2FCV , and allowing me to use his photo for this article - very much appreciated.

Juvenile Black-headed Gull  -    2FCV   -  Andersons Quay, Cork City, Co. Cork, R. of Ireland  (01 Dec 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 19th June 2019, at Inch Island Lake, Co. Donegal, R. of Ireland)
(Photo Courtesy of Brian Power)

Map Showing the Ringing and Finding Sites for Black-headed Gull  -    2FCV  


      From David Nixon       
Just by chance, I recently caught up with an email from David Nixon, who as it transpired, had been sending emails to my now unused 'Hotmail' address.  David was reporting on two colour-ringed gulls which had spotted recently, and made mention of another gull which had been spotted a while back at Groomsport in County Down.  Another couple of emails, went backwards and forwards and I then had what I needed to report on these birds.

Again in date order, the first of these three gulls was a young Herring Gull with the code   957:D , which belonged to a project based around Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.  I contacted my fellow 'Ring Reading' counterpart in Dublin, who also happens to be the ringing coordinator for the Irish Midlands Ringing Group.

At our end, we had a slight problem, as we were not sure whether the code began with the number '0' or number '9', but the bird was reported as   057:D .  Graham on his part, was able to check through his records, by code number and age, to confirm our bird as being   957:D , which was ringed as a chick, on the 22nd June 2019, on Lambay Island in County Dublin.

David recorded  957:D , on the 12th September 2019, at Groomsport Harbour, the duration since ringing being just 2 months and 21 days.  The distance from Lambay to Groomsport, was 136 kms / 84 miles (NNE).  My thanks to Graham Prole for supplying the ringing details.

Herring Gull  -    957:D   -  Groomsport Harbour, Groomsport, Co. Down  (12 Sep 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 22nd June 2019, on Lambay Island, Co. Dublin, R. of Ireland)
(Photo Courtesy of David Nixon)

Without realising he had recorded the next Herring Gull in the past,   A:E87 , was spotted by David, on the Inner Bay at Dundrum in County Down, on the 27th November 2019.    A:E87 , was first spotted by David, at the exact same site, on the 18th November 2017, where I found the record on my spreadsheet.

  A:E87 , had been ringed as a chick, on the 5th July 2017, at Lady Isle, which is an island close to the town of Troon, in Ayrshire, Scotland.  I copied in Dave Grant into a reply to David, and Dave replied to state that the two sightings by David Nixon, are the only ones that he has on record.  The duration since ringing, was now 2 years, 4 months and 22 days, and the distance from Lady Isle, is 158 kms / 98 miles (SW). 

Herring Gull  -    A:E87   -  Dundrum Inner Bay, Dundrum, Co. Down  (27 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 5th Jult 2017, at Lady Isle, Troon, Ayrshire, Scotland)
(Photo Courtesy of David Nixon)

The third of David's gull sightings was that of a Common Gull -   2ADX , which is an all year round resident, at Millisle in County Down, where there has been a long list of re-sightings.  David himself recorded this same gull back in February and March 2013.  The last record for   2ADX , was made by myself, on the 30th June 2019, also at Millisle.

  2ADX , was ringed as a chick, on the 1st June 2010, on the nearby Copeland Islands, and belonged to Shane Wolsey's former project, which ran from 2009 to 2014.  I took over control of the project in April 2017.  The duration for   2ADX , now stands at 9 years, 5 months and 28 days.  As can be seen, the ring is in poor condition, but the code and the imprint of the code can be read at close quarters.  My thanks goes to David for reporting his latest sightings, especially of the two latter records which further enhances the durations for these two gulls.

Common Gull  -    2ADX   -  Millisle, Drumfad Bay, Co. Down  (29 Nov 2019)
(Ringed as a Chick, on the 1st June 2010, on The Copeland Islands, Co. Down)
(Photo Courtesy of David Nixon)


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