Tuesday, 6 December 2016

First new bird of the winter caught and ringed

After a fairly quiet winter last year catching wise, we are hoping to add some wintering birds to our study in an effort to establish where our wintering birds have originated.

On Sunday morning, a couple of us met up at a site where we have had some success catching birds in the past. Generally these sites need to be places where the birds are used to be being fed by people and have lost some of their fear. As such, sites tend to be duck ponds or fast-food car parks!

Unfortunately, birds appeared wary and we only managed to catch and ring one new bird, a first-winter bird. While we at least know the age of this bird, who knows where it has come from. 

In addition to this new study bird, there were 20 re-sightings of colour-ringed birds, including the Latvian BHG with a Polish colour-ring that we first recorded at Antrim in October 2012 (see here).

2CJT shortly after being ringed

Perhaps it was the fact it has been slightly milder recently, but we will keep trying and hopefully add a few more individuals in coming months.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Another Norwegian bird returns

I've heard of an influx of white-winged gulls but never "white-ringed" gulls, however, this is what appears to have happened recently, with another white colour-ringed bird reported! This time at Lurgan Park in Co. Armagh.


Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

Another returning bird, first recorded here by Stephen Hewitt back in 2013, J4P4 was ringed as a chick at Stanga, Råde, Østfold in 2006. It wasn't recorded again until it was recaptured in 2011 and the colour-ring added.

The addition of the colour-ring has generated multiple sightings and it has subsequently been recorded at Oslo (2012); Solgård avfallsplass, Moss, Østfold (2013); Lurgan, Co. Armagh (winter 2013-14 and 2014-15); and back in Norway during the breeding season in 2015 and 2016.


J4P4 at Lurgan, March 2015
Photo by Kev Kirkham-Brown

Suzanne photographed the bird back at Lurgan a couple of days ago where it probably also spent last winter, but went undetected. 

Frustratingly for Suzanne, there was another ringed bird present but unfortunately it wasn't colour-ringed and she was unable to read the number on the metal ring.


Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

Thanks to the colour-ring, and the fantastic Norwegian colour-ringed birds website; we know where this bird was born (blue below), where it now breeds (red below) and where it winters (Lurgan Park!). 


Blue (Stanga, Råde, Østfold) - colony where born
Red (Sondre Langara) 
- colony where now breeds

Many thanks to Suzanne for the report and her photos.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Black-headed Gull - White J5P9 (back in Belfast!)

Back in December 2013, I recorded a Norwegian colour-ringed Black-headed Gull at Dargan, Belfast Lough (see here).

It had orignally been ringed in Oslo in April 2011 before being recorded in Cumbria (August 2011), Stranraer (November 2013) and Belfast (December 2013).  It had subsequently been seen back in Norway during the breeding season in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

There had been no further sightings during the winter, until Gary photographed it last week. It was back at Dargan, where I had seen it three years ago.



Photos by Gary Platt

While this is a great result to get, it's frustrating for me as I regularly check the flock of gulls here and haven't managed to see it since my record in 2013! Must get back there soon....

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Black-headed Gull - White 5HA

A colour-ringed adult has been photographed a couple of times recently at Whitehead, Co. Antrim. The first, from Cameron Moore, was taken on 26th November and this was quickly followed up by a sighting from Gary two days later.

Photo by Cameron Moore

Photo by Cameron Moore

Photo by Gary Platt

Cameron reported his sighting via Graham McElwaine, the re-sightings co-ordinator for the Irish Brent Goose Research Group, who passed it onto Kjeld Tommy Pedersen in Denmark and was kind enough to copy us into the email.

Kjeld responded with the life-history which told us this bird had been ringed as an adult male in March 2015 at Gentofte, eastern Denmark.

Green - Gentofte (ringing location)
Orange - Whitehead (re-sighting location)

This is the second Danish colour-ringed Black-headed Gull we have recorded here in recent years (see here).

Cameron's sighting was the first report of this bird since ringing. Many thanks to Graham for keeping us "in the loop", to Cameron and Gary for their photos and to Kjeld for the quick response and information.