Saturday, 21 September 2019

September 2019 - You learn something new! Swans eat Sausages!

20th September

The Swans are back on the Canal and the numbers are starting to build.  However some one dropped a pack of raw sausages and the Swans fought off the Gulls which had ripped open the packet and took them to a deep spot in the middle of the canal out of depth range of the gulls.  They then, at a leisurely pace ate them all!  Diving down bringing them up and biting off a piece at a time.  I have seen them eat Frog Spawn and small fish.  I never thought they would eat raw sausages with such gusto!!!!



I spotted a CR Gull on the Crumlin Road while heading for the Canal to do a count.  It was 217:D.  This is a regular at Bullock Harbour, but that is 14km away.  It just shows the range these gulls have when foraging!


14th September

On Booterstown Strand only 1 CR Blackheaded Gull recorded!  Polish Yellow T9PC.  Unable to enter it on the Polish website due to "New Server"

Black-headed Gull T9PC from Poland

5th September

Nice to see 6456000 back in Sean Walsh Park, looking very much the adult Bird.  Still running around my feet like a Juvenile!


6456000 on September 5th.  Adult Winter Plumage

6456000 in September last year.  1st Winter Plumage

3rd September

A short stop as I was out near Howth and there were Gulls every where.  In 30 minutes in recorded 10 colour rings. Red 932:D from Lambay Island was the among the best!

548:D FRom Irelands Eye.  There is always one or two that stay local!  544:D is already in Wexford




1st September


A early evening trip to Sandymount Strand.  But the tide was dropping too fast and dogs were ensuring that the birds were moving out just as fast.  There were some Black Tailed Godwits about and my old friend RO-OZ was among them!  First sighting of the season by anyone.  Ringed in Iceland in 2015 as an adult I spot it regularly.  However, Iceland does not record observers initial on the sighting reports, so I don't know of the 16 Dublin sightings how many are mine!

Black-tailed Godwit RO-OZ (Red / Orange - Orange / Z )


I moved on to Seapoint where the Mediterranean Gulls roost in the evening and sure enough there were a few.  Two with Coloured Rings including this French individual RU94.  Ringed in 2014 and a regular in Dublin, but it appears I haven't seen it before.



Sunday, 11 August 2019

August 2019 - Tern Season updated

August 30th

Quick trip to Sandycove, but the spring tide was too high.  Just the occasional CR Med Gull, this one is Polish and a regular.


August 28th

A brief stop at Sandycove only produced 1 CR Tern sighting.  They all count!

Common Tern Yellow[4P2]

August 27th

A short trip to Bray turned out to be quite sociable as well as productive!  Met Marcia and Bob who were observing a Swan to see if it required the assistance of a vet.  When I got home I forwarded photos from the past year to showing the wing droop.

However, there were Gulls and I was lucky enough to read 4 of our Red rings.


HERGU B25:D - 2019 Irelands Eye


HERGU B30:D - 2019 Irelands Eye


HERGU B50:D - 2019 Irelands Eye

HERGU 277:D - 2019 Dlakey Island.  (Hurray, some where new).

Just to put the geography of the project into prospective for those who are not familiar with Dublin.
St Patricks Island is the most northerly of the Dublin Islands which we ring project gulls on and Dalkey is the most Southerly.  Bray Harbour is 7Km south of Dalkey Island.  


August 24th

Dun Laoghaire was closed for an Iron Man Event in the morning but by 4pm the roads were still not open!  I ended up on Booterstown Strand and the timing was good regarding the incoming tide.  Hardly any terns, so Coloured Ringed Black-headed Gulls was my target species.  However, it is difficult to walk past a few hundred Oystercatchers with out recording a few!

Oystercatcher UC was new to me 
Eventually read my first Black-headed Gull J41M from Norway.
Eventually got my first Black-headed 

Med Gull 3EJV 

Juvenile 2B99 is from the North Thames Group 
In the end I recorded 10 Oystercatchers, 2 Meds and 2 Black-headed Gulls.  Lovely evening!

August 22nd


At the Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire no CR Terns recorded.  I was just leaving when I got cajoled into going into the Martello Tower Museum and up to the roof to take in the view.  Unlike many tourist attraction, it is free!  I availed of the offer. When I was leaving I noted a couple more Terns have arrived on the rocks and I quickly recorded my first with an Orange Flag!  I have emailed Stephen Dodd in Wales and await his reply 
Sandwich Tern Orange Flag ALM


I moved onto Sea Point.  Tara Adcock had asked in an email if I had read any Common Terns this year.  I hadn't and the tide was high enough to try.  As the species of bird gets smaller so does the ring size and you need to get reasonably near to read them.  At High Tide at Sea Point there are usually a couple of dozen roosting on the rocks 20m from the road!

Who has a PET Artic Tern?  BWI

Juvenile Common Tern Yellow 8P7.  

Tern Yellow PHJ

Juvenile Common Tern Blue 80P

August 18th

A quick trip to the coast and started at the Forty Foot area of Dun Laoghaire.  It was High Tide so went looking at where birds roost.  As expected there were a few Mediterranean Gulls and Terns roosting.  The photos are poor and heavily cropped but the all important codes are visible!

The first recorded is Orange [KSS]  this is another of this years Juveniles from Lady's Island in Wexford.  Isn't it fascinating that they head north before they head south for winter.


 The 2nd was Red [KFT] from a Welsh Project.  I haven't got the history of this one yet.

I moved on to a place called Sea Point, usually the alternative high tide roost for Med Gulls.  I recorded 2 coloured rings of the 34 present.  The first was Yellow [2XK0].  Ringed in 2015, but I don't appear to have seen it for a couple of years.  I do know it was sighted in Portugal in 2017.

Med Gull White[3416] is an adult that is new to me.  The code is quite recent so it could have been coming to Dublin for years before it was colour ringed.


Then scanning the Terns out on the far rocks I noticed more coloured rings!  Again the photos are heavily cropped but the codes and colours were obtainable.

Terns Roosting at Sea Point, Dun Laoghaire.


Tern Orange KCH 

Sandwich Tern Red over Lime is Scottish.  Awaiting a reply regarding history.

August 17th

Bird of the day was at Sandycove was a Herring Gull among the Mediterranean Gulls.  Ringed at an Urban nest at a Bus Garage in Dublin.  First sighting since fledged.

Urban Gull A53:D



This afternoon at Sandycove 53 Mediterranean Glls but only 4 Coloured Rings.  Green [RS96], Red [PRN6] Yellow 2X6J and my Med of the day was new to me White [3KR5]

Mediterranean Gull White [3KR5]


Bullock Harbour and the day just got even better!  There were 4 newly fledged Great Black-backed Gulls from Dalkey Island.  505:D, 506:D, 518:D and 543:D.  Hopefully more will show in the coming weeks!

Great Black-backed Gull 505:D

Great Black-backed Gull 543:D

Great Black-backed Gull 518:D

Great Black-backed Gull 506:D


August 13th

Following sightings from David I went to Sean Walsh Park and sure enough 2ACA and 27H0 are back.


August 11th

At Sandycove, Med Gull White 3761 was another new one!  I recorded the French one Green RS96 I am very familiar with.  The interesting sighting was AYKL, as with my Nikon P900, it is very rare that I record anything in flight!  It is German.  Many ringing groups are still submitting and collating data so I will update when the sighting reports come in.



At Bray Harbour, no Red rings recorded, but Black-headed Gull 9MT from Denmark, ringed as an adult last year, is back.  I was delighted to record 2 metal ringed Swans for the first time this year
This brings my total number of individual Swans recorded this season to 180.  This is really poor, but the data is the data.  1,500+ sightings and very few new individuals are being noted.


August 6th.  

At Howth this morning there were only a few colour ringed gulls.  This is the frustrating bit.  We have colour ringed over 1,000 with red rings over the past 3 years.  I still find it very hard to locate any!  Eventually I spotted 448:D on a roof!  I do get in sightings from others, but I am still surprised how few are in Dublin still!


There were a few adults with the old Blue rings.  1MC has been a regular at the Harbour for the past month.  Judging by previous years it will soon depart to Broadmeadows and North Dublin which it appears to favour for winter.



I left Howth to go meet a friend for lunch and stopped at Bull Island.  No rings on any gulls recorded. and there were a lot of Gulls.  But I did spot an Oystercatcher from the Dublin Bay Project.  Very far away but the code captured on this record shot.


The Blue above the metal signifies that it was ringed on the North Side of Dublin.

August 4th


An evening Walk at Sandycove produced 3 CR Mediterranean Gulls.  White 3HN3 is another new one, probably ringed as an adult.  No reply yet from the ringers.


Mediterranean Gull 2X0E I am familiar with.  Ringed in Dublin.  Colour ringed in 2012 as an adult in Dublin, it is an annual visitor.

Mediterranean Gull, White 3785 is the first colour ringed Juvenile I have recorded this year.  Hopefully it will continue to return for many years to come.

August 2nd


A trip to Dublin Zoo.  I was checking out how the measures to discourage Herons begging at the Restaurants is continuing.  Pretty good with only 2 individuals observed.  This would have been around 20 Herons 5 years ago.  Only one Ringed individual observed K07


Monday, 22 July 2019

July 2019 - First Black-headed gull of the season

31 July 

Usually by the end of July I have recorded some colour ringed black-headed Gulls, but so far this year I had drawn a blank!  However, today I recorded my first on a lunchtime walk around Sean Walsh Park.


22nd July 2019

The end of June and beginning of July are such busy months.  From June 14th, for a single month all the large Gull chicks get big enough to catch and colour ring.  Other Seabirds such as Shag chicks also are ready for ringing.  This along side the Constant Effort Site (CES) which take 6 hours every week end takes up all my time with ringing and inputting.  It also gives me the opportunity for more learning and Razorbill and Guillemot ringing were high on my list.  This on top of all the re-sightings, my Swan RAS, Mute Swan Nesting Census and nest records means I haven't done my blog for a while.... so here goes.

21st July


Birds start returning to Dublin to "Winter" from June onwards.  But we also have a short post breeding assemblage in Dublin.  Sandwich Terns which I don't think nest anywhere in Dublin arrive in large numbers.  Again I am on the look out for coloured rings.  I expect any I read to be mainly from Scotland, but they come from all over Europe so you never know what you might see and learn.
Sandwich Tern Orange [KAF] from Ladys Island, Wexford
You may think that getting an Irish Sandwich Tern in Dublin shouldn't be interesting, but I get a few each year and they always are interesting.  They go 120km North to Dublin Bay to fatten up before they go South to Africa to winter.

The Mediterranean Gull numbers are growing but the number of coloured rings this year is not at the 10% I was getting a few years ago.  However, Green RS96 has been coming to Dublin since it was ringed in France in 2014.  However it seems to also spend every Christmas in France and the early part of the new year in Spain.

Med Gull Green [RS96]
 The other Colour Ringed Med Gull was White [3AN5].  I haven't recorded it before in Dublin.  I am waiting for the report but it is either a newly ringed adult or just had it's colour ring replaced.  It is rare that they change their habits!


July 13th - 20th

I was down on Valentia Island, co Kerry.  A wonderful place to visit.  I recorded no coloured rings, but I could watch Chough all day!  In fact I did little or no birding.  Didn't even go to the Skelligs this year.

6th July

Sandymount Strand / Booterstown Strand.  A short walk to look at roosting gulls.  Unable to count as dogs running through the flocks all the time.  I challenged yet another owner as it is against the law to disturb the roosting birds.  Her excuse was that she was aware of it and she wouldn't let her own dog chase birds but she was just minding that dog for a friend!  She again said she was aware of the law but what difference does one more dog chasing the birds make!  The Garda and council do nothing to enforce the law.  Until they start catching the dogs and fining the owners it will not stop.  The council have 3 tiny signs the length of the whole beach but no one pays any attention to them!  Rant over!


Med Gull 3FJV on Sandymount strand.  There were others but dog ran through the flock repeatedly.  You are trying to read the gulls from 40 - 50 meters so the photos are never good, but they are legible!