Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Big crows and a couple of firsts...

The blog has been a bit neglected recently as I've been distracted by much bigger birds. During March and April, we've been out locating territorial birds of prey for the Northern Ireland Raptor Study Group, primarily red kites, buzzards and ravens.

Eimear Rooney and I decided that we would ring some young ravens this year as a reccy with the thinking of beginning a colour-ringing project next year. We've ringed a total of 40 chicks so far, including the brood of five pictured below, and while there's still a chance of a couple of late broods, birds are starting to fledge so it's unlikely we'll get any more this season.

In terms of gulls, Paul McCullough got in touch last week to report to colour-ringed birds at Carrickfergus in County Antrim. One of them, 2AVX, was a bird I ringed as a chick on Blue Circle Island last summer and this is the first time it's been seen since. Wonder where it has spent the winter!!

Photo by Paul McCullough
Photo by Paul McCullough

The second bird was fitted with a blue ring and I knew by the code that it was one of Kane Brides' and Ciaran Hatsell's study birds from north-west England. Kane replied to let us know that the bird had been caught and ringed by Ciaran at Pine Lake near Carnforth in Lancashire in February. Paul's sighting of 2J03 was also the first re-sighting of this bird.

Photo by Paul McCullough
Photo by Paul McCullough
Many thanks to Paul for reporting his sightings and to Kane for the information.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Mediterranean Gull - White E742

Last week, during a short stop-off at Glynn to check the black-headed gull flock for colour-rings, I noticed four Mediterranean gulls preening and bathing at the edge of the tide.

Mediterranean & black-headed gulls

Med gulls aren't an unusual sight at Glynn, up to six pairs have bred on the nearby RSPB reserve at Blue Circle Island. While I was admiring their handsome summer plumage, however, I noticed that one of the birds was colour-ringed.

When I got home, I checked the cr-birding website, which told me the person to contact was Camille Duponcheel, so I sent an email off to Camille and eagerly awaited a reply. 

I didn't have to wait long to hear that White 742 had been ringed as a pullus by Frank Majoor on De Kreupel Island, Ijsselmeer, The Netherlands on 21 June 2012.

My sighting was the first of E742 since ringing, but it was closely followed by another sighting at Glynn by Cameron Moore.

Photo by Cameron Moore

It appeared to be paired up, so perhaps it will breed on Blue Circle Island this year. 

Thanks to Camille for the information and Cameron for the photo.