Saturday, 8 October 2016

October 2016 - Gull ID quiz!

The Swans are on the move in big numbers all over the greater Dublin area.  Sightings of our coloured rings can be sent to mute.swan.ring"at"  Our project Swans rings are yellow, 4 letters and begin with a C

23rd October

This afternoon I went to Booterstown Marsh to see if I could read some Redshanks.  I saw a few with coded coloured rings last week but too far away to read.  No luck with the Redshanks but I did see a CR Godwit! 

BLTGO-RL:O//Bm-LL:ON//   = Right Leg Orange above knee Below Knee Blue Metal.  Left leg Orange over black and nothing below the knee.  I have seen this Godwit before but never on the south side of the Liffey.  It has been coming to Dublin since it was ringed in Scotland in 2012.
Black Tailed Godwit with Coloured Rings

This morning when reading Swans on The Grand Canal I spotted the Norwegian Black Headed Gull J134.  This is the 3rd time I have recorded it at the same location.  I don't understand why I didn't record it last year.  These birds are usually so habitual.
Norwegian Black Headed Gull

21st October

Today in Sean Walsh Park I recorded 3 Black Headed Gulls.  27H0 from England - as always and 6430814 from Sweden.  But the 3rd took my interest.  Thick stainless steel with overlap could only be Lithuanian.  Camera out and code recorded.  The only issue was I never took a photo of the whole bird!  HA36.804 was a regular last year as a Juvenile.  Nice to see it back as an adult

Received an answer to the aluminium ringed bird on October 10th. I have added it as a post script on that day.

20th October - ID Issue!

Too dark for Herring Gull, too light for lesser Black backed Gull.  No red eye ring for yellow legged gull.  It is in moult, so white secondaries are visible in flight which is what drew my attention.  It's yellow legs does not rule our Herring Gull, but its bill seems too slender and it appears too clean.  The wing tips appear to show too much white for a light Lesser Black backed.  So what about other species?  P10 has not shed yet  the mirror is still visible.  I haven't worked out the answer yet....

15th of October

Torrential rain this morning and my boys football matches were cancelled.  So I went to Howth gull watching and recording. A very successful morning.  0MA was ringed by me July 2013.  I had not seen it since April 2014 in Tallaght.  Delighted it has survived.

The next one recorded was 0LV.  The code suggests that it was only ringed this year.
0MC is yet another new Herring Gull for me.  It looks like it is still growing P9 and P10
OAP was also present, making 4 CR Ringed Herring Gulls.

There were plenty of Great Black Backed Gulls around.  3CA was ringed in 2013.

There were 9 CR GBBGU in total.  All ringed on Irelands Eye, which is a small Island visible from Howth.  They ranged in age from 2AM which was ringed in 2009 up to 3JL which was ringed in 2015.

However, I spotted a "metal only" Great Black backed Gull and successfully photographed it's code. MA01504 is not from a series I have recorded before.  I have entered it on IPMR and will receive details in due course.  Hopefully it will be an interesting recovery!

The weather picked up and I did my I-WEBS count on the Grand canal.  I recorded 15 of my Coloured Ringed Swans during my count.  I also photographed the Norwegian Black Headed Gull Green (J134) .

I thought last month it was just passing through, but it looks like it is staying. It was recorded on the same building as last month!

Great day and I also recorded a "new to me" Swan. Metal X3804. This is from a string owned by Richard Collins. I am stunned I haven't seen it before! 30+ rings read and 4 species

10th of October

Today in Sean Walsh Park, I quickly spotted a foreign Metal on a Black-Headed Gull.  6430816 I first recorded in January 2012.  I wasn't expecting it back for at least another week!  Then I spotted another metal on an adult and this one poised a real challenge.  Unable to read anything with Bins, I took my camera out.  The ring is so worn, the address is illegible, it is also upside down.  Before I got the full code it flew.  It looks like one of the old Latvian Rings, 30239 is all I got.  I will try tomorrow, however it is not in my database so it may be just passing through!

I received a definitive answer to this ring today from Mr Black Headed Gull Frank Majoor.  My thanks for his prompt reply as always.  It is Dutch from near The Hague

This is aluminium Arnhem ring series 3.X02.XXX
I think the first X must be a 6. Then ringed as nestling 2003 Reeuwijkse Plassen.
All the best,


That would make the code still incomplete 3.602.39X - 1 digit short.  13 years old.  I hope it turns up again

8th October - New Black Headed Gull

My lack of posting photographs of Coloured Ringed birds in Dublin has not been due to my lack of field work.  The Mute Swans have been taking up all my "birding time".  Today while recording the Swans arriving onto the Grand Canal I did spot yet another new Black Headed Gull and remarkably it is another of the Brewood Ringers Project in the English Midland.  I have only sent the report.
Juvenile Blackheaded Gull 2BXT
Once again my camera is full of photos of just legs and rings.  All of Swans!  Our coloured rings can be read while under water

Mute Swan CACC was ringed last year as a Cygnet in Tymon Park.  It's first movement was to the Lime Kiln Lake in Tymon Park (0.5Km) before moving on to Broadmeadows Estuary for the Summer (21Km).  It is now back on the Grand Canal 4Km from where it hatched.

5th October

In my local Park, Sean Walsh Park there is still only one regular Coloured Ringed Black Headed Gull.  The metal ringed Juvenile EL65898 is still present.  Unfortunately I have to submit my sightings to the BTO by IPMR.  I do a submission to my Club Secretary evey 4 - 8 weeks.  He does a club submission every 4-8 weeks and then the BTO does it's research which takes another 4-8weeks.  I will be lucky to know the origin of a metal ring in 4 months time.

2nd October

Colour Ringing Mute Swans.  

As a club we have been busy Colour Ringing Mute Swans.  At this time of year it is a rush to get them ringed at their natal sites.  We will ring the ones we miss on the Canals etc, but it is far more interesting if we know who the Pair and the siblings are.  We exceeded the 30 in the Project criteria but we were hoping to get to 50 cygnets.  We are at 48 Cygnets this year and another try tomorrow in Kildare to make the 50.  However the earliest Cygnets are already on the move.  Those hatched at the Stadium in Sean Walsh Park are already causing havoc by moving into another territory in the same park.  Two un-ringed Cygnets are already on the Canal.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

September - CR House Sparrows!

September 27th

Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght is my lunchtime patch.  It has been 50 trips since 27H0 returned and until today apart from 1 metal ring there have been no other rings sighted.  However perseverance is the name of the game so yet again at lunch time I went. 

The numbers of Black Headed Gulls has continued to grow and there was a new darvic!  It is also from a project I am not familiar with.  Metal EZ64044 I think.  Didn't try very hard to read the metal as it had a coloured ring! I emailed the project coordinator and waited the reply 2 hours later I received an enthusiastic reply from the Brewood Ringing Group with a "Wow what a sighting for our first year of this project." it was ringed in England at the Marsh Lane Nature Reserve between Birmingham and Coventry.  A distance of 330km.

September 17th

While doing my I-Webs count on the Grand Canal I am always on the look out for my Coloured Ringed Swans as well as any other Colour Ringed birds.  Today on the Davitt Road I spotted a Green Ring on  Black Headed Gull.  It took me some time to photograph it as its ring was partially hidden by a gutter.  Eventually I got the full code.  J134.  Not only is it one I have not seen before, but it is a first sighting of the bird in Ireland!  As these birds are habitual and neither myself or Sean has seen it before, it is probably just passing through. I t will be interesting if Sean or I record it in Dublin again.

September 11th

I was out again in the morning trying to close more locations in the Swan nesting Census.  This year there was a large spread in hatching dates so many locations are not yet at 12 weeks!  At other locations I am having difficulty locating where they have moved to!
However in the afternoon I went to Sandycove to see what Mediterranean Gull were around.

PRN6 is a Polish Med Gull adult but only ringed last year.
 2X2A is a 2nd Calender year.
 RS96 is a 3rd Calender year.

September 10th

The deficit of Coloured Ringed Black Headed Gulls this month is not unusual.  I know they have arrived as some of them have been sighted roosting on Sandymount Starnd, but they haven't ventured inland yet.  Today while checking Swan families I saw 1000's of Black Headed Gulls mainly at coastal Estuaries, but only spotted 1 metal ring in the parks.  Poppintree Park is in Ballymun and the Gull was 3675.873. It is from Arnhem, Holland. Once again I had recorded it before on August 1st 2015!    August 2015 .
It was ringed in 2009 by Eelke Haagsma at Friesland in The Neatherlands.

I did stop at Broadmeadows, Swords and of the 83 adults present I recorded 31 coloured rings.  They were not all ringed there and they were ringed on the canals, Bray Harbour and in the Parks of Dublin and  Kildare.

September 5th

In Sean Walsh Park, still only the one Black Headed Gull with coloured ring, the ever present 27H0. The Juvenile EL65898 was there again today.  It is so distinctive that I spotted it on the lake and got it out on to land to verify the code!

September 4th

I went down to Tipperary to photograph CR House Sparrows. Sean Kingston has been conducting a RAS for some time and asked if I could photograph a few.  I was taken to different locations, rural and urban and saw plenty of Yellow rings, in fact there were plenty of House Sparrows with flocks of 100+.  Photographing them wasn't easy, I don't usually take photos of birds on feeders, but I certainly did today and I got enough photographs to keep him going. A small selection of photographs I took today are below.

House Sparrow + Yellow Ring.

House Sparrow with Yellow darvic ring. Templemore

Pest Control - House Sparrow BHK - eating Horse Flies

September 3rd

All the advanced planning of ringing activity always ends up at the mercy of the weather and today we met at 7:45 in torrential rain.  We decided to ring what Swans we could regardless of the rain.  At Sean Walsh Park the cygnets couldn't be tempted out but we did ring the remaining adult.  We carried on and ringed another adult in Tymon Park and 2 cygnets at the Spa Well lakes and 5 Cygnets in Tymon North.  2 Adult Mute Swans and 7 Cygnets coloured ringed was the total for the morning.  For a morning that was a wash out - very successful.  Many thanks to Alan, Sean, Nicola and Sandra.  Catching and ringing Swans really is a team effort.  

CATI and 4 un-ringed Cygnets in Sean Walsh Park

September 1st

There has been a complete lack of Coloured Ringed Gulls in the Parks of Tallaght.  Hopefully this has been caused by the fine weather and the gulls being over fed by children.  Today I spotted two  Metal rings on Black Headed Gulls.  I concentrated on the Juvenile as it was so distinctive.  It is about 5 weeks behind the other Juveniles in moult and looks like it fledged very late.

A lot of photos of the ring and the full code obtained.  Now the waiting game to find out there it was ringed.  It is a BTO ring so if it's your ring - let me know.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

August Coloured Rings

August 22nd

The answer to yesterdays question "Why hadn't I seen this bird before?" was option A. It was ringed only 66 days ago.  Just received verification from Poland.

August 21st

During this summer I am down on the number of Coloured Ringed Black Headed Gulls recorded and not for the lack of effort.  Sean has already recorded 6 individuals at the Sandymount Roost where as I had only recorded 1 - in Sean Walsh Park.  However, when following up on the Mute Swan Nesting Census I was in Bushy Park.  There were only 16 Black Headed Gulls present and I wasn't surprised to see a white Darvic as J1N4 from Norway uses this park.  I was however surprised when I realised there were 2 Black Headed Gulls with coloured rings present!  

J1N4 is from Sweden and has been coming to Ireland since it was Colour ringed 5 years ago.

TUUA is a Polish ring.  As the birds are habitual there are a number of possibilities.

A. It was recently ringed
B. It is just passing through and I will not see it again.
C. It has changed it behavior

Having been observing them for a few years I am opting for A - Recently ringed.  I have inputted the data into the Polish Web site and I will know in a few days.

August 20th Naas Ponds. National Heritage Week - Kildare.

I gave a free walk and talk on the Mute Swans of Kildare for National Heritage Week.  The weather was awful on Saturday but it picked up at 3pm.  After I had talked about the Swans and what we are learning from using coloured rings, with 6 other ringers we hand caught and ringed 11 cygnets and the remaining adult that we missed last year.
Then came the torrential rain again and we retreated for Coffee at (where else would we go) "Swans on the Green"

August 20th Bray Harbour

I was back at Bray Harbour to check on the recently Colour Ringed Swans.  They were again gathering to be fed by passers as usual.  I recorded 24 rings only 12 of which were ringed last week. There are still 30+ without coloured rings at this location and another ringing session is required.

In the photo below is CACD which was ringed in Tymon Park as a Cygnet last year and CABN which was ringed in Ballymount Park, both locations are about 20Km from Bray

August 14th

This morning we had a very successful Mute Swan Ringing session at Bray this morning with 18 more Swans added to the Coloured ring project.  

Please keep the sightings coming in mute.swan.ring"at"

On the way home at Sandyford Industrial Estate I stopped to check for CR Mediterranean Gulls. There was only 1, 2XA5, but I also spotted a Herring Gull from The Isle of Man.  

August 13th

Sandycove yet again.  This time I was inspired by the fact that CR Sandwich Terns have been recently recorded there - no joy today.  However 61 med Gulls and 6 Coloured rings.
The photos may not be great today but the birds were 30m away.

Plenty of Sandwich Terns, Juveniles and adults but no Coloured ringed ones today.  Quite a few metal but impossible to read metals

I have included this German Mediterranean Gull AKAJ as I have seen it many times over the previous 4 years but more often 1km down the coast at Bullock Harbour

August 7th

Sandycove again on the way home from a Swan Recce.  You can never be sure what Med Gulls will be around.  Some are just passing through and only sighted once or twice a year.  Today among my new ring readings for the season was this white ring.  The ring is well over 12 years old and from Belguim.

August 6th pm

Sandycove.  Only 31 Mediterranean Gulls present.  It is great to watch the moult of individuals progress. See July 9th for another photo of RJN5!

However my bird of the afternoon was yet another new Med Gull 2XA8.  

Add caption

August 6th am

A trip to Howth Harbour to see what large Gulls are still around.  Only read 4 Coloured Rings, but great.

Great also to read a metal ring on a Great Black Backed Gull.  I hadn't seen HT85390 before but HT85358 was ringed in 2002, so it is probably a 15 year old.  I will have to wait and see what comes back from BTO.

August 3rd

In the Parks of Tallaght there is still only the one CR Black Headed Gull so far.  His dark hood has faded quickly.

August 1st

Trip to Broadmeadows to count and read Swans.  Only counted 141 which is 8 less than last time.  However I did read 32 of our coloured rings.  I need to start ringing Swans again.