Sunday, 10 February 2019

February 2019

Still having Broadband issues so way behind on blog, apologies

24th February

Still a few Mediterranean Gulls about.  Recorded 2 at Sandycove.  PRN6 which is Polish.  Judging by previous departure dates, I expect it too will be gone by next week!

Ploish Mediterranean Gull, PRN6

23rd February - Wexford Wildfowl Reserve

I was hoping to add readings of Greenland white fronted geese from the wexford wildlife reserve, but although I saw 1,000's of them, any with neck collars were 3 fields away and with the slight mist they were just out of range
Greenland White-fronted Goose with neck collar

There were about 100 in range but none with neck collars - maybe next year!

The same the next day, so I spent a few hours watching and reading Brent Geese.  The Snow Goose hanging around the centre had a Slimbridge metal!  

Got very close to lots of Greylag, but many are feral and only semi-wild.  No rings recorded

22nd February

From my Hotel bedroom in Wexford, there is a manmade Island in view 200m away.  I was scanning the Gulls on this with my binoculars when I thought one might have a Red Ring! Not the best photo but 401:D.  It was in Howth 2 weeks ago 120Km north of here.  I had to go onto the Balcony to get this shot!

16th February

Now is the time of trying to get leaving dates for the Black-headed Gulls.  Numbers are dropping as adults are leaving.  2ACA has been present every day, but so far no sightings after the 16th.  has it left?

16th February

Passing Tallaght Community School, there was a Yellow ringed Black-headed Gull. This I assumed was the long awaited return of 217G, from Lough Mask.  First recored in TCS in 2012 and at the same location in  subsequent Winter, but usually only a couple of times until Sept 2015 and then nothing.  I stopped the car and out with the camera only to find it is a new ring!  Yellow [T7TT] is from Poland.  As I haven't  recorded it before, I assume it was ringed in 2018, but I will have the details in 2 days and update!

At my sons football match this morning I noted a Herring Gull on an Electricity Pole in Ballycragh Park.  One of our Club Project Gulls!  683:D is an Urban Gull and this was a first sighting since ringed!  Excellent!

14th February

At lunch time today, as well as the usual coloured ringed Gulls, the Black-headed Gull 2A88.  Ringed in Essex, UK this is my 4th sighting this winter. 

12th  February


Today at Sean Walsh Park at the Stadium I observed Black-headed Gull White NUT from Denmark.  This Gull is getting on.  Ringed as an adult in 2005 it is in at least it's 17th calendar year!  I first observed it in this park in 2012 when I started ring reading.

Only the usual suspects around at Sean Walsh Park, 27H0, 2ACA and the Swedish Juvenile who is always at my feet.  For me it has been a pleasure to watch its moult progression.

9th February

At Dublin Zoo again this morning with my boys.  The Zoo is actively discouraging the Herons which used to congregate around the food courts and Penguin enclosure.  I saw only 3 and only one with a coloured ring, K07 and it seems to have recently injured it's foot.

I read all the Ibis rings and some Flamingo rings....why, because they were there!

3rd February

Howth on a Sunday would normally be quiet, but I forgot my Swan ringing kit, so after I collected Tonya we went there to try our luck.  Not much about till we were just about to head.  A Trawler removed it's nets for repair and suddenly we had Gulls!

Only a few coloured so we concentrated on metal only rings  This one was interesting.  When I input the metal as a Herring Gull it said ringed in 1996, but challenged me on species?  GA01076 is a Herrring Gull ring size, I await the report with intrigue!  The 2nd 0 looked like an 8 in one of the photos!

Herring Gull GA01076

The other metal of interest was a Great Black-backed Gull with an Oscar Merne ring series.  Never took a photo of the whole bird before it flew off!

Great Black Backed Gull MA01505 - Ringed 2002

Herring Gull from Irelands Eye.  Only 3rd Sighting and all in last 3 months

Herring Gull 0LT - Only ever recorded at Howth.

Tonya had my camera for much of the morning so surprised by all the non Gull photos.  Nice Starling

2nd February

At Bray Harbour there was plenty of Gulls to scan but few with Coloured rings. The best was a Colour Ringed Mediterranean Gull.  White 3AAA is no stranger to Bray.  This individual from Denmark ringed in 2013 has been reported a dozen times at this location over the years.

Mediterranean Gull White 3AAA
The only Red ring was 791:D which seems to be a permanent fixture at this location.

791:D.  Ringed 2018 Irelands Eye

Monday, 14 January 2019

January 2019 - CR Shag!

January 26th

The end of the month has just been Swans, Swans and more Swans!  Mainly reading rings to validate my RAS Project.  This is an annual survival project which runs from April to September.  Basically I read 100's of Swan rings at wintering flocks to see which ones were not recorded last summer!  The only ringing I do is targeting ones that have lost their colour.  Without the colour ring they can go unrecorded for a couple of years.

January 19th - The afternoon

Quick stop at Bullock Harbour.  A Great Black-backed gull from 2009.  Blue 2LH.  This plastic ring ring is also cracked from top to bottom!

January 11th

Received the most amazing report of one of our Colour Ringed Shags.

In 2018 the Irish Midland Ringing Group Colour Ringed 34 Juvenile Shags (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) on the Islands off  Dublin to try and learn more about survival and dispersal of this sea bird.  How amazed was I when the first report was at a bird table in some ones garden in Wales!
My report regarding the recovery went like this!  Photos used by kind permission of Gethin Jones.

For those of you who do the Garden Bird Survey, it would be astounding if you got a Shag in your Garden. However, Gethin in Criccieth in North Wales certainly did on December 20th 2018! Photo of it perched beside his bird table. There had been a storm and it had landed in his Garden which is admittedly near the beach.

Shag at bird table!

He caught it and put it in his shed overnight. However, this Shag was Unique. It had a coded IMRG Coloured Ring - KAAV. Ringed on Irelands Eye on July 8th 2018 by GP. This was the first sighting. However, Gethin felt the bird was light. So what would you feed a Juvenile Shag?

The only fish he had available was defrosted. It seemed to enjoy his cod in parsley sauce but left Gethin with a few scars as he was quite keen on biting him too!

On the Morning of the 21st of December, the sea had calmed and Gethin released him back to the wild. A Happy ending. Please look out for our colour ringed Shags. They can't all be in Wales!


January 19th

We rejoined Dublin Zoo today!  When my boys were younger we went every 2nd week!  There are huge changes and it was enjoyable but we were very disappointed that the free flying Aviary of Roberts House is now Zoorasic World.  We used to spend a lot of time in there, trying to locate every species of bird.  With regard to colour rings I spotted a locally ringed Heron K07 and a Mute Swan.

January 13th

I-webs count today, one week late I know but I twisted my ankle last week so couldn't do the walk.

Apart from my Swans, the first colour ring spotted was a Grey Heron. Orange K21

Apart from CR Swans and the Heron, it wasn't till I got to Grand Canal Dock that I recorded my CR Gull of the day.....and there were 3 together!

Herring Gull 0LM.  Ringed as an Adult in 2016.  1st Sighting away from Colony

Great Black-backed Gull 1AV.  Ringed as Pullus in 2010.  8th Sighting

Herring Gull 699:D.  A permanent fixture at this location!  46th Sighting in 6 months!
Those of you who read my blog, know I do a annual "RAS" project for Adult Survival of Mute Swans.  Although the project dates for re-sightings are April to September, I use Winter sightings to validate my data.  At wintering flocks I read all the rings.  This year a number of "Missing Swans" have turned up minus their colour ring.  Re-capturing these and fitting a new colour is essential project maintenance.  Without the colour ring the chances of being recorded are practically 0!.  There were 97 Swans on this 5km stretch of Canal.

Swan Yellow CAID was ringed in December 2015 as a Juvenile.  It was recorded 9 times, the last recorded in January 2017 with a cracked Colour Ring which obviously fell off soon after.  No further sightings till January 2019 when it was recaptured, identified by the metal ring and it is now CBKA.  It had not been included in the last 2 years data.  This is typical of Swans without a colour ring.

Swan Metal rings are difficult to read

Swans CAZJ and CBSL proudly displaying their colour rings.  The metal rings are hardly visible.

January 8th

At Sean Walsh park, the Dutch Black-headed Gull made it's 2nd appearance.  Hopefully it will become a regular sight.

January 5th

Got out birding to Broadmeadows Estuary.  Read 27 of the Mute Swans present.  Although my project uses data gathered between April and September, during the winter many return to the Estuary.  This allows me to record some birds, particularly those that have lost their coloured rings.

However, I am also on the lookout for anything else with coloured rings.  The Common Gull from Norther Ireland was recorded.   I first recorded it here in 2013 and although I haven't recorded it every year it is my 5th sighting at this location

I also spotted a colour Ringed Oystercatcher.  My camera captured the Code CC.  A poor photo but the code can be read.  This is my 2nd sighting of this scottish ringed individual, the other being September 2017.  What is also interesting is that there are only 3 Irish sightings.  Jan Rod is the only other person to have recorded it in Dublin.

January 4th

On the way back from the Airport, I took the coast road.  I read a few Brent which I spotted on the Beach at Portmarnock. They were some distance away but managed to capture the codes.
Brent DNBB and BTBB - a pair.

I also stopped at Fr Collins Park.  I love seeing all the gulls line up on the bridge railings.  However no sign of the Norwegian Green[J18J] this year.  It has always been a regular at this location.

Lining up for inspection - but no coloured rings!

January 3rd

A trip to Bray Harbour, primary goal was to record what Mute Swans are present.  But as always on the look out for Colour Ringed Gulls.  The first was a Black-headed Gull from Denmark White[9MT]

The 2nd Gull recorded was one of our Colour Rings.  Ringed on Irelands Eye, It "Mother" is Blue[OLR]!

Herring Gull 706:D at Bray Harbour

Herring Gull 706:D with Parent Blue [0LR]

January 1st

Another new year of ring reading.  I didn't get out birding today, but took a detour on the way home and stopped at Ben Madigan Park in Drimnagh.  There was 036:D sitting on it's favorite Crossbar.
I have sighted this individual at this location 3 times, so you would think this is where it spends it days.  However it has also been sighted at Howth 17km away.  It seems they have areas that they favour but they do move around.

Herring Gull 036:D - A gull from an Urban Nest site.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

December 2018 - Great month for rings!

31st December

Last ringed bird of the year was in Tymon Park, Spawell, a repeat sighting of the metal ring from Flintshire in England. (Which is near Chester).   It was not a first sighting for EZ90582. I recorded it at the same location in August. 

30th December

Bird of the day was going to be a Norwegian Black-headed Gull JC38.  Ringed in 2014 as an adult, it was not seen back in Norway during the Summer, so the last previous sighting was also mine on 25/02/2018!

However bird of the day was a mute swan that was missing its coloured ring!

Metal ring W40464 used to be CASS and was ringed in 2016.  However in February 2017, the colour ring was reported as damaged and it hadn't been recorded since.  This now becomes a priority bird to re-catch and put a new colour on.  Without the colour ring the chances of it being recorded by someone (other than me) is extremely unlikely.
Read some Brent in Ben Madigan Park on the way home but the grass is very long which makes it difficult!

Brent B4BW - Took 30 photos to be sure of the code!
But my day was still not over!  Passing Sandyford in the afternoon, there is a building that Gulls favour.  A quick check and a Great Black-backed with a blue ring 1EJ.  This year all the sightings of 1EJ are north of Dublin - about 35Km north of this re-sighting location.  It shows what a wide area they can cover
Great Black-backed gull 1EJ in Sandyford Industrial Estate.

29th December

A Saturday morning trip to Howth is usually rewarded with lots of coloured rings.  But today was unseasonably warm 12 degrees and there were only 20 Gulls as opposed to the usual 100's.  There were 2 colour ringed Juvenile Great Black-backed Gulls, both from Irelands Eye.

With not many Gulls around I went off and read some Brent and Swans.

Brent 2KWB and 2SWB at Portmarnock

27th December

Back at work means another lunchtime trip to Sean Walsh Park.  The fountain is off and Black-headed Gull numbers are up again to seasonal norm.  No new coloured rings at the main lakes so I tried the Stadium Lake.  I spotted a juvenile with a yellow coloured ring.  I assumed it was 2A88 from the North Thames Group again, but it was EA10.  This is a Belguim code and I await the details of this new Gull.

Black-headed Gull.  Yellow[EA10] from Belguim

25th December 2018.  Christmas day

A walk on the Grand Canal at Portabello produced 8 Mute Swan Rings but no Colour Ringed Gulls among the 40 Juveniles and 12 adults.  Heading home I stopped at Ben Madigan Park.  There was a large flock of Brent Geese but the grass was also very long.  148:D was the only Colour Ringed Gulls!  I did manage to eventually read a pair of Brent, but gave up on the rest!

22nd December

I went to Sandycove to read Med Gulls, but 50 Scuba Divers in Santa Costumes meant not many birds around.  It looked like a fund day, but I cut my losses and headed for Bray Harbour.  The tide was quite high but there were over 100 gulls on the beach.  A scan revealed no colour rings.  But there were 33 Swans and some of them were out of the water so I started recording the rings.  Then I saw my first Colour Ringed Herring Gull, 677:D.  This is an Urban Herring Gull from a nest on a building in Dublin. Only the 3rd sighting and the 2nd at Bray Harbour.

I went back to waiting for Swans to come onto the beach when I spotted the 2nd gull ring of the day.  This was an Isle of Man Great Black-backed Gull.

More gulls arrived on the beach and the next one spotted bore only a metal ring.  60 photos later I had the full code!  The ring series I don't think belongs to our club so I can assume it is foreign. GV61797.  I have reported it through DEMON and I will know in a few days.

Shortly after this one the 4th Ring was noted!  039:D is another Urban Gull!  But this is a first sighting.

When I spotted a ring on a herring Gull sitting on a roof, I assumed it was probably one of the 2 I had already recorded, but a photo revealed it was yet another of our project Herring Gulls.  791:D was ringed on Irelands Eye last summer.  It is only the 2nd sighting having been recorded last week at Dun Laoghaire.

Not a bad hours ring reading.  5 Gulls, 2 Foreign, 2 Urban and 1 Island.  I also recorded 11 Mute Swan Rings.

18th December 2018

I did my weekly trip to Grangecastle Business Park.  The trips have been disappointing of late but today I got 1 red ring.  127:D was ringed 2017 year on Irelands Eye, an Island off Dublin, 26 Km from the re-sighting. It has been 363 days since it has been recorded and that too was at Grangecastle Business Park.

Herring Gull 127:D

16th December

I stopped by Blachardstown IT lake.  I note one of the pair of Swans has gone missing.  These are a residential Pair so I can only assume it is no more!  The other wouldn't come near the banks so I don't know if it is CAHK or CAJA that is "Missing".

Black-headed Gull White[J5TZ] I recored here last winter.  Ringed in Norway in 2013, mine was the first foreign sighting since 2014 when it was sighted once in England.  These Gulls are so habitual, I thought if I went to this pond I would record it again.  It took me 1 minute to locate it!  There have been 13 sightings back in Norway since I last recorded it.

15th December

Storm Deirdre and horrible weather, but as I didn't  do the I-WEBS count last week end, I had to do it this week end.  A 7 Km walk along the Grand Canal, for much of it, it rained heavily!  I didn't get much of a chance to read rings.  There are 88 Mute Swans on this stretch of the Grand Canal at the moment, with 75 being at Portobello Harbour.  I only read 13 Mute Swan rings as I was concentrating on counting Wildfowl and Gulls.  However I did take my camera out when a Heron in the Reeds had a colour Ring!  O[K21] was ringed in the Phoenix Park a couple of years ago.  I have recorded it using this stretch of the Canal before - but only once before

At Grand Canal Basin, after I had completed the count, I went to see Herring Gull 699:D - our most reported Herring Gull!  Despite only being ringed only this year it has separate 26 observations on the data base, mainly at this location.  Sure enough it was there!

However, it wasn't the only colour ring at this location!  Great Black-backed Gull 1AV was also present.  Ringed in 2010, it the the 7th sighting on the database.  The last sighting was by Jan in September at Skerries Beach 28Km north of this location.

14th December

This week in Sean Walsh Park, it has been a week of - "The Usual Suspects".  The usual  Black-headed Gulls with Colour Rings and the Metal ringed Swedish Juvenile all showing daily.  Black-headed Gull, Black[X25P] (See November 20th) appeared again, but is not a park regular.  Herring Gull 010:D appears occasionally on various building around the park.  Although I haven't been close for a good photo, the record shots are showing the appearance of Grey feathers!  It will be a 3rd year in 17 days time!  This is an Urban Gull from the roof of a hospital

9th December

I went to Booterstown Strand.  After scanning the high tide roosting Gulls and recording no rings, I concentrated on other species.  There were 50+ Brent but they were mainly in shallow water.  Eventually among those that ventured onto land there were 2 with rings. Brent XTBY may be a first sighting this Winter.  The Brent database is being "migrated" to a web based reporting system so for the moment there may be sightings not yet input. 9XBY was also recoreded.

I then concentrated on the Oystercatchers.  They were so tightly packed together and being careful not to disturb them it was a slow process reading what I could.

I recorded 9 from the Dublin Bay Project, but I could see foreign Colour schemes.  However most were standing on 1 leg and half a code is no good!  Photographing from 40m you could see rings.  Move a couple of feet to see if the other leg was visible and then being unable to relocate it!  Really frustrating.  Eventually a low flying Gull spread them out a bit, but still the same issue.

Yellow over red is visible with a white coded ring which I never got to read!  ZD and AA in the foreground.

Again a foreign ringed Oystercatcher, but again on one leg.  AAARRRRRGGGGHH!

I had to make do with recording locally ringed ones!

Oystercatcher ZS.

6th December

The Council drained the "Hippo" lake again.  This time not to clean but I think to mend the fountain again!  Lots of Black-headed Gulls but no new rings recorded.

2nd December

After a morning of ringing Passerines, I stopped at the Liffey where there were over 100 Gulls.  Despite so many Juveniles, there were none of our Red rings.  The only colour was the Great Black-backed Gull 1LL.  This was ringed on Irelands Eye in 2011.

1st December

Heading for Howth Harbout and stopped at Baldoyle.  About a dozen Brent Geese on the foreshore and first ring of the day!  Ringed in Iceland and although seen in Strangford lough recently, first sighting in Dublin.

Howth Harbour

Arriving at Howth Harbour it looked like it would be a good morning and it was!  Our red ringed gulls was the prime objective.  Great Black-backed Gulls 336:D, 353:D, 401:D, 412:D, 448:D and 452:D were recorded and photographed.  Also Herring Gull 753:D making 8 of our project birds.

Herring Gull 753:D.  The only ringed Herring Gull from Irelands Eye

GBBGU 448:D.  A first sighting since ringed

452:D Another from Ireland Eye.  I've recorded it at Broadmeadows but 1st time at Howth Harbour
 There were also Gulls present from other Projects.  This is one from the Isle of Man
This Great Black-backed Gull is from the Isle of Man!  S58:M
Great Black-backed Gull 1TN.

Bull Island

Brent Goose C9WW.  Over 100 sightings over the last 10 years, but this is the first sighting ever in Dublin!!!   This goose usually winters in Northern Ireland, will it go back to Dundrum Bay or Killough?

Brent Goose INRR, at least it is where it is expected to be at this time of year

Brent 6BWW.  Ringed this year in Iceland.  First recorded sighting since

Seagrange Park

Stopped at Seagrange Park on the way home.  The grass was too long to read the Oystercatchers and the Brent Geese, but there were a couple of hundred Godwits?  Should be able to read them, even if the grass hadn't been cut.

However first Colour ring I spotted was an Oystercatcher.  Trying to photograph it as it walked eventually proved successful.  4C  is a Dublin Bay Project Ring but I've not seen numbers used before on the codes.

Add caption
This Leucistic Oystercatcher should have it's own re-sighting page.  Nice to see it is back this year!

Black-tailed Godwit RO-OZ was my surprise of the day.  I have seen it a number of times over the years but not this far north.
RO//OZ ringed in Iceland in 2015  - Thank you Boddi