Monday, 26 August 2013

260D returns!

A colour-ringed Black-headed Gull which I recorded at Glenarm back on New Year's Day, has returned to the County Antrim village.  On Saturday afternoon (24 August), roosting amongst the small mixed flock of gulls at the mouth of the Glenarm River, was 260D

This bird was originally ringed as a chick at a site in Lough Mask, Co. Mayo by Eoin McGreal in 2008.  It was then recorded at Larne Lough the following winter, back at Lough Mask in 2010 and then a number of times since at Glenarm.

Red - Lough Mask, Co. Mayo
Yellow - Larne Lough, Co. Antrim
Blue - Glenarm, Co. Antrim

This is the second bird from Eoin's project which I have recorded in NI this "winter", having seen 250B at Sprucefield back in July.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AKA

I have received word of another re-sighting of one of the young gulls we ringed this summer.  Neal Warnock sent me this photo of 2AKA, which he took at Sandy Bay in Larne on Sunday (11 August).

This bird was one of 35 colour-ringed on RSPB Blue Circle Island in Larne Lough on 18 June and this is the first time it has been seen since ringing.  

In total, we colour-ringed 93 pulli at three colonies this summer, and this is only the fourth to have been re-sighted so far.  The only other re-sighting of a bird from Blue Circle I have received so far, was 2BCD which was seen and photographed at Whitehead by Cameron Moore on 25 July.

Photo by Neal Warnock
Photo by Cameron Moore
Blue - RSPB Blue Circle Island
Red - 2BCD, Whitehead, 25.07.13
Green - 2AKA, Sandy Bay, 11.08.13

Thanks to Cameron and Neal for their sightings and photographs.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

More colour-ringed Common Gulls

A recent visit to Millisle in County Down was rewarded with seven colour-ringed Common Gulls, five of which I managed to also photograph (click on image for larger view):

These were all ringed on Big Copeland Island by Shane Wolsey.  If you see a colour-ringed Common Gull, please report it to Shane

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Common Gull - Blue 2ATX

Back at the end of June, Shane Wolsey and I spent a morning on Big Copeland colour-ringing Common Gulls as part of his study into their ecology (see here).

Well, it seems as though one of the birds we ringed, 2ATX, didn't quite make it off the island!  

Jim Wells, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group, got in touch earlier this week to say that during a recent outing to Big Copeland, he found these near the jetty in Chapel Bay.

We don't know what the predator was, but Jim says it did not have the characteristics of a peregrine kill, a species which he has been studying for 30 years, so he knows a thing or two about them!

Photo by Jim Wells

Photo by Jim Wells

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

T35J returns!

If you've been following the blog since last winter, you might remember I reported on T35J, a Polish colour-ringed bird, which had originally been ringed in Lithuania (see here).

Keith Stevens got in touch yesterday to say that the bird has returned to Antrim for the winter and Chris Smith sent through a photo which he got of the bird.  Assuming this bird is returning to the continent to breed, this supports the theory that the vast majority of "our" Black-headed Gulls which we see in winter, are actually only wintering here.

Photo by Chris Smith

Establishing where our wintering birds are coming from is one of the main objectives of this study, and we hope that this winter we will be able to increase the number of wintering birds caught and ringed to try and definitively show where our birds are coming from.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Quick visit to Lough Neagh (and chough!)

A quick stop-off at Lough Neagh by Antrim on Saturday morning produced a good return of eight colour-ringed birds, including 2AAB, 2AAD and 2ADJ pictured below. There was also metal-ringed juvenile present, and thankfully I was able to get some shots which allowed me to piece together the ring number...but more about it in a future posting.

Reassuringly, this is the first site this summer where I have seen relatively large numbers of juvenile birds, I was beginning to wonder where they all were!

Metal ringed juv BHG - more about this bird in future post

We were on our way to Donegal for the day and I thought I'd post this photo of a flock of chough we saw at Five Fingers Strand, Malin.  The photo shows 19 of the 24 birds in the flock, and although that has nothing to do with the BHG study, when else am I going to get an excuse to post it?!

Chough flock at Five Fingers Strand, Malin