Monday, 13 March 2017

March 2017 - BTO Cormorant

March 18th

Brent Geese appear more common in North Dublin.  I was out at my boys football match and stopped briefly.  Photographed 14 sets of rings (from the car) in only a few minutes before I had to carry on.

View from the car where I photographed the rings on the Brent!

In the afternoon I had half an hour at Bullock Harbour.  Two colour ringed Great Black Backed Gulls.  1JK was at Howth in February.
Great Black Backed Gull 1JK
 However, 2KV is bird of the day.  This Great Black backed Gull was ringed in 2009 on Irelands eye.  I only saw it once last year, so great to see it alive and well.
Great Black Backed Gull 2KV

March 17th - St Patricks Day

Swan ringing again this morning!

March 13th

It has been very quiet on the ring reading front, partly due to my own ringing activities and time spent trying to locate Mute Swan nests.  Today there were Cormorants, as usual, at Grange Castle Business Park. One was metal ringed and although it was standing on the weir in the center of the lake I have a new camera, a Nikon P900.  This gives me more Zoom (x84).  So I went about walking around the lake photographing it from every angle.  Bingo - Full code read.  With this new ability to read Cormorant rings at 30m I will be able to see if the same Cormorants use this lake annually or are they just passing through.
Cormorant with BTO ring 5225726

Saturday, 18 February 2017

February 2017 - Early Swan Nesting

27th February

Herring Gull LBBW[0LP] is in Tallaght.  What is interesting is that this is a Pelagic nesting Herring Gull as opposed to an Urban nesting Herring Gull. This is another sighting of an Irelands Eye Herring Gull at this location and it is 10km to the coast and 22km from Irelands Eye.  

26th February

It is only February and already the first Swan egg has been laid!

First Mute Swan nest of the Season, already with 1 egg!

Mute Swan CABA is first Swan recorded nesting in 2017
Mute Swan LBYN[CABA] : A Brief History

CABA nested in Tymon Park in 2015 and with CAAT and successfully raised cygnets.
In 2015 CAAT was killed (in a territorial dispute). 
In 2016, CABA nested with an un-ringed female at a different location in Tymon Park, and although cygnets hatched they were all gone the following week.  CABA and an un-ringed female (could be the same one) are in a new location 6km away.  Nest Record Card already started!

Black Headed Gulls
The increase of my sightings of Norwegian Black Headed Gulls, I believe, is down to the increase of Coloured Ringing in Norway.  Their reporting system, which gives the reporter instant access to life histories, but does not require individual replies, allows the ringers to colour ring in large numbers without being inundated with sightings to reply to.  However, I am still the first person to see J5TZ in Ireland.  

With the Great Black Backed Gulls there have been two interesting sightings.  1PH is a code that would have been used in 2012.  I didn't know the code had been used until an adult was photographed at Howth

Great Black Backed Gull 1PH

The Great Black Backed Gull 1JK was not reported at all last year but has turned up this year.
Nice to know it is still alive.  

18th February

I am not ring watching at the moment due to small injury but I am so lucky that other fantastic observers are sending me in reports of their sightings.  I also got this superb photo from Michael Linehan today of our project Swan CAPX taking off at Broadmeadows, Swords.
Mute Swan CAPX - Photo rights Michael Linehan

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January 2017 - E5VA returns

January 29th

Today I started in Bullock Harbour, no rings.  Sandycove - no rings.  Dun Laoghaire - No rings. So I went to Booterstown Strand to read some oystercatchers.  I also read a med gull I haven't seen before.
Dublin Bay Oystercatcher Coloured Ring VP

Dublin Bay Oystercatcher Coloured Ring BN
Mediterranean Gull + Yellow Ring 2XE7 

January 19th

It is so mild for winter, with day time temperatures reaching 10 degrees.  The Black Headed Gull numbers are fluctuating in the park from between 200 and 1,000.  Today the numbers were around the 250 mark but there were 2 coloured rings.  E5VA from Holland turned up again as did 27H0 from England.  Still waiting for many of the annually seen Gulls to make an appearance.

Black Headed Gull E5VA from Holland

Black Headed Gull 27H0 from Gloucestershire

January 15th

It has been a quiet month for rings, mainly as I have been focusing on my swan project.  However today I went to Sandycove on the Dublin coast.  The only Colour ringed bird I could find was a Med Gull.  This Dublin ringed Mediterranean Gull is now known to be nesting in Germany. It is amazing the data that can be collected by colour ringing.

January 5th

Today I went first to Fr Collins Park and read some swans.  Only 4 Cygnets present so one has possibly moved on.  The off to Howth, where 4 CR Herring Gulls were recorded and one Great Black Backed Gull.
Herring Gull 0LJ at Howth

Herring Gull 0MC at Howth

CADV at Broadmeadows.  One of 35 swan rings read at this location

Mute Swan
My Bird of the day was a Swan with a Richard Collins ring.  I got --806 last week so delighted to get the full code.  Haven't seen it before so it must be recently ringed!

January 4th

I was planning to go to Tymon Park at lunch time, but decided to try Sean Walsh Park yet again .  I spotted two Black Headed Gulls with white rings on street lights.  The first was 27H0 from England that is present most days,  The Second was White[E5VA]! A welcome return of this Dutch Black Headed Gull.

Having first observed it as a Juvenile in January 2012, it has returned to Ireland each winter.  However its pattern has changed over the years.
It has been spending less time in Sean Walsh Park each year.

My Park sightings of E5VA

02-01-2012 - 02-03-2012           12 sightings
22-10-2012 - 19-03 -2013          27 sightings
21-07-2013 - 22-02-2014           29 sightings
05-11-2014 - 16-12-2014            3 sightings
24-08-2015 - 24-08-2015            1 sighting

I did not record it at all in 2016!  I know it has been in Dublin, as it has been recorded at the evening roost on the beach.  Fantastic to record it it back in the park- but how many times will I see it again this winter?

Saturday, 3 December 2016

December 2016 Happy New Year - New Gull

December 31st

I took my boys to Broadmeadows and challanged them to see who could read the most Swan rings! Between us we read 35 different Swan Rings!  As there were only 49 Swans and some were unringed, I reckon we got them all!

December 30th

Today at lunch I went looking for the Yellow ringed Black Headed Gull 217G, but instead got a new Darvic ring at Tallaght Community School.  
Iain replied very quickly that it was ringed at Elvanfoot, South Lanarkshire in 2014!  Why have I not seen it before!  I did see a red ring last winter but failed to read it, probably the same bird.  No other sightings since ringing.  It is their first project BHG reported from Dublin.

December 25th

A short Christmas day walk at Sandycove.  Very busy with the Traditional Christmas day swim.  The water temperature is probably above 10 degrees as it has been so mild recently.  Anyway lots of Med and Black Headed Gulls, but only 2 colour rings recorded.  Where are they all hiding?
Mediterranean Gull 2XK2 was a first sighting for me!

December 19th

At Sean Walsh Park, the Danish Black Headed Gull VY42 made a brief appearance.  The photo isn't good enough to post, I will try again tomorrow to get a better shot.  

December 18th

Today I spotted a CR Godwit.  I watched it for 30 minutes and it wouldn't put it's other leg down.  Eventually the tide covered the rings and I never saw the other leg.  I assume it is RO-OZ who has been sighted around this area.

On the way home I passed through Sandyford Industrial Estate and checking out the roofs spotted a CR Herring Gull from Irelands Eye.  Although only ringed this year I have not recorded it before

December 3rd

I-Webs this morning which means my focus is on counting, but I do keep an eye out for Coloured Rings.  At Harolds X, I spotted a Green Ring, Quickly identified as Norwegian. However too far away to read accurately so out with the camera.  To my surprise it is one I haven't recorded before.  So I came home and input into the Norwegian Website with instant access to it's life history!

Ringed in 2014 as an adult it has never before been reported from Ireland.  Another 1st for me.

Norwegian Black Headed Gull JC38 at Harolds X

Saturday, 5 November 2016

November 2016 - Reading Brent Rings

November 27th

Read 13 Swans at Portobello, early this morning - nothing startling although a couple I hadn't seen since they were ringed.  I traveled across the city to Bull Island to have a look for CR Waders.  I read some Brent Geese rings while I was looking through waders.  They were in the long Grass and when photographing Brent, it takes a lot of shots before you get each one with both rings showing!

Brent CLBY (CL, Blue Yellow)
Uning my car as a hide, I did see one Black tailed Godwit but it took off as soon as i had spotted it.  The record shot I think is inconclusive. It looks like RL Blue LL Orange over Green.

I read another 14 Swan rings at Broadmeadows before stopping at Fr Collins Park on the way home.  Bird of the day is this Norwegian Black Headed Gull,  Although annually a regular at this location, my first sighting this winter.

November 26th

Reading Swans again today.  Some times it takes ages to read them, other times they are most obliging! Maganed to only read 14 today which is low by my standard - but I only had 30 minutes.
CAKN on the Grand Canal Dublin

November 20th

At Bullock Harbour there were plenty of Gulls, but only one coloured ring.  0JH was ringed in 2010 and was a regularly seen Herring Gull at this location, but I hadn't seen it since February 2016.
Herring Gull 0JH at Bullock Harbour

November 13th

The weekend was spent reading Swan rings.  But I do keep a look out for CR Gulls or anything else with a coloured ring.  At Broadmeadows Estuary I did spot two Brent Geese with not only Coloured Rings but GPS Collars as well.

Brent Geese at Broadmeadows Estuary.

November 11th

Sean Walsh Park has been very quite for rings this year.  But today a new juvenile appeared.  Blue 2L38.  It is my first from this project in the North West of England.  I have emailed off the details and await the reply

November 5th 

Today was the Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Conference at Oxford Island on Lough Neagh so a day without ring reading - almost.  At Lunch time I nipped around to Kinnego Marina to see if any of the Northern Ireland Black Headed Gull study birds were around.  We read 3 Coloured rings and a metal ring and back in time to hear about "Brexit, the uncertainty, threats and opportunities"! Once again a great conference.  My thank to the organisers.
NI Black Headed Gull 2BPN

November 3rd

I was away with my family so no birding - almost.  Driving along Salt Hill Prom in Galway I spotted a flock of Brent on the Beach.  I quickly pulled over and grabbed my Camera.  36 Brent and 1 with Coloured rings.  BYCX was in Strangford Lough in October and interestingly had gone to Galway last year as well.

When I say no birding almost, we were heading into Galway to eat and happened to Park beside Nimmo's Pier (I was driving).  Quick scan of some Gulls and Camera out as a yellow ring spotted.
201H had been spotted over 50 times at this location before, but a first for me.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

October 2016 - MEDGU 3P06 back again!

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

31st October - Halloween Swan Ringing

It is rare that I post anything to do with my ringing activity on this blog, but today was such fun!  A team of 21 of us targeted the Grand Canal in Dublin to Colour Ring Mute Swans as part of our various Swan Projects.  We caught and processed 43 Swans.  We went early in the morning when they are hungriest and there are fewer people about.

The queue for the ringing table

Quietly waiting to be processed!

30th October 2016

At Sandyford Industrial Estate, it is always worth checking the roofs of the buildings.  There were a few Mediterranean Gulls mixed in with the Black Headed and Herring Gulls.  Spotted a White Darvic and camera our quickly.  Then it did something that I haven't seen in a Med Gull before. Instead of sitting down and roosting, it lifted a leg and promptly went to sleep on one leg with the coloured ring safely out of sight!  Anyway the first photo was legible.  I haven't see this MEDGU since 2014!  Good to see it still on the go as it is over 10 years old

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.