Tuesday, 30 April 2013

December 2012 1st -16th. Mt first CR Godwit

December 2012

Meds, GBB & Godwit!

1st - 16th

December 2012 was such a fantastic month.  It started with a metal ring in Tymon Park, on a Juvenile Black Headed Gull.  This turned out to be my first from Lough Mask Island.  The only place in Ireland I knew they ringed Black Headed Gulls!  The report from the BTO is basic to say the least.  Previous sightings are not included.  Each time you report a Gull to the BTO you get the exact same reply as the first time.  This bird was ringed by C Benson as age nestling, sex unknown on 28-May-2012 at Lough Mask Island

Black Headed Gull EW53681
I also read the Mute swan in Tymon Park.  This bird was ringed by O J Merne as age at least 2 years, sex unknown on 17-Jun-2007 at Swords Estuary, Dublin.

On December 13th, I did a days bird watching from Bray to Dublin.  No Black Headed gulls, which were my target, but 4 Darvic Rings at Bullock Harbour was exceptional, and it was still morning.
Darvic Ring
Great Black Backed Gull - Blue 1MN

Great Black Backed Gull - Blue 1NK

Great Black Backed Gull - Blue 1NL

Great Black Backed Gull - Blue 1TU
 No reply to date on the Great Black Backed Gulls, but they are probably all Irelands Eye and they are first winter.  I look forward to finding out where they have been.  I moved up along the coast and at the Forty Foot read some of the Mediterranean Gulls.  Now up to seven Darvics in one day!  That would have been a record in a month.

Mediterranean Gull + Yellow [2XA1]

Mediterranean Gull + Green [AHUK]
 The results came in quickly from the med gull ringing schemes.  But unlike the Gulls in Tallaght they have been well reported with 22 sightings of AHUK since the summer.  2XA1 and 2XA6 had also been seen every week, but nice enthusiastic replies with full life histories from, Sean Kingston and Andreas, and Andreas even sent me a photo of AHUK in summer plumage.  It was ringed in Germany as an adult in 2009

Back at Sean Walsh park E5VA was still observed most days I went to lake 3.  I read The Mute Swan on the14th.
Mute Swan W26144

This bird was ringed by O J Merne as age at least 2 years, sex unknown on 19-Jul-2008 at Bray, Wicklow.

Another trip to the Forty Foot saw me record 2XA1 and 2XA6 again as well as White[E553].

On December 16th at Sandymount strand looking for Darvics among the 1,000s and 1,000s of roosting gulls I spotted this Black Tailed Godwit.
Black Tailed Godwit GYLRBR
It had only been ringed in Kent, England in September 2012, Spotted in Mersyside in November and now in Dublin.  I spotted him on Bull Island in January 2013 so he certainly in very mobile!

Monday, 29 April 2013

November 2012 - My first Norwegian Black Headed Gull

November 2012 

Black Headed Gulls

A blog about reading coloured rings on Gulls from my base in Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland.

Black Headed Gull W[E5VA] 02/11/2012
Still by November only E5VA was the only coloured ring in Sean Walsh Park.  I had started expanding the areas covered from Sean Walsh Park and Tymon Park to include Corkagh Park, Bushy Park, Marley Park and anywhere large flock of gulls gathered.
Mute Swan W27809
On November 3rd I got attacked by a mute swan who couldn't understand that I had bread, but it wasn't for him.  I moved on when suddenly I heard this swans wings incoming.  It landed and inbetween hissing and pecking I photographed the metal ring.
This bird was ringed by O J Merne as age 2nd year , sex unknown on 16-May-2009 at Bray, Wicklow
Darvic J1N4 Black Headed Gull From Norway.
November 10th at Bushy Park, turned up three Scandinavia metal rings and a Darvic - my first Norwegian Black Headed Gull.  They have a fantastic website where you register and input all the details and they just verify it.  They also send you a notification each time it is seen again (If you want).  So this BHG had arrived in Ireland in August, seen again on the coast and this was it's third sighting in Dublin.  Uploading a photo assists verification.  http://www.ringmerking.no  Norwegian rings all seem to start with J.
Black Headed Gull Sweden 6430814

How I read metal rings!  Lots of photos of legs!
I try to avoid writing about metal rings, however on November 14th I read the metal ring on this Black Headed Gull.  Prior to the summer I had read its ring several times.  I started seeing this gull every week.  Now I had two Gulls - One Dutch and one Swedish who have returned to the Park following the breeding season and were remaining in the park
Sean Walsh Park - Lake 5 - 127 Black Headed Gulls in Photo.
Sean Walsh Park had over 600 Black Headed Gulls, but still only one Coloured Ring and 2 metal rings present.  The Gull from Norfolk can be discounted as it was first year, but the other two gulls were here last year also.  I need more data!


Sunday, 28 April 2013

August - October 2012 

E5VA is back!

More uneventful months.  The Black Headed Gulls arrived back slowly, but despite regularly scanning the growing flocks- no rings to report.  Standard bird watching resumed
Little Grebe and Chick in Sean Walsh Park

Black Headed Gull - Latvia S04 on Tibia Ring

 On August 31st, at Bulloock Harbour I photographed two firsts.  My First Black Headed Gull from Latvia and my first Tibia Ringed Gull.  (The ring has been placed above the knee).  However the code was short Latvia SO4.  Although reported, I have heard nothing back.

Tibia Ring
Things were looking up and the numbers of Black Headed Gulls in the park was increasing week by week but not even a metal ring!  31st of August a Juvenile BHG ES45066 turned up.  This BHG was to stay in Sean Walsh Park all winter during which time I read the ring successfully 7 times.
This bird was ringed by R J Gribble as age nestling, sex unknown on 12-Jun-2012 at Pockthorpe, Norfolk

Cormorant  + Poo - Sean Walsh Park 09/09/2012
Finally 22nd October 2012 I got my first Darvic of the winter in Sean Walsh Park.  But it was a big surprise................
Black Headed Gull W[E5VA]
.......... it was E5VA.  It had left Sean Walsh Park on March 2nd and first seen in the breeding ground in Holland on June 6th by Benny Middendorp.  It was last seen in Holland on August 8th and was back with me!  The Dutch people such as Frank Majoors and Maarten van Kleinwee had emailed me reports and photos throughout the summer, so it was great to see it again.  It was now in Adult plumage.
W[E5VA] 30/10/2012
By the end of October it was still only 1 Darvic Ring in Sean Walsh Park, but at least there was one to see at lunch time.  At this stage there were over 200 Black Headed Gulls present.


Friday, 26 April 2013

April - July 2012

Blue Darvics from Irelands Eye

A blog about coloured rings on Gulls from my base in Tallaght, Dublin, Ireland

This is my first year ring reading gulls and suddenly there were no gulls with rings left, they had all gone to their breeding colonies abroad. I read that some Black Headed gulls nest in Dublin bay but soon learnt, that nobody rings them. So despite them all sitting nicely on railings, where you can scan 400 gulls in 10 minutes, none had rings and none were lightly to have rings. So things slowed to a stop and I returned to birdwatching
Poolbeg, Dublin
I still did my walk most lunch times and the Park still produced the full range of Gulls, including this nice Iceland Gull which stayed around for a few weeks.
Iceland Gull in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, Dublin

Herring Gull 0JH in Bray, Co Wicklow
The on the 23rd of June out bird watching in Bray. I spotted a blue ring on a Herring Gull.  Not the best photo in the world as I cut its wing tips off, but another that Chris Honan had ringed.  Some times ring reports take time and it was November before he confirmed the Herring Gull was ringed in Irelands Eye off Dublin in July 2010.  (I was not the first to see it, it had been seen twice before - once in Bray and once in Bullock Harbour a few miles up the coast)..

Great Black Backed Gull - Blue[1JR]White
Great Black Backed Gull - Blue[2KU]
In July while bird watching in Bullock harbour, I spotted 1 blue ring, 1JR.  I then spotted an Adult Great Black Backed Gull Blue 2KU.  Again it took till November for the reports to come back. But come back they did.

1JR - Ringed as Pullus on Irelands Eye Island, Co Dublin in June 2011 and it had been seen in Bullock Harbour 4 times previously
2KU - Ringed as juvenile on Irelands Eye Island, Co Dublin in 2009. .  This was the first sighting since it was ringed.

I tried again at Bullock harbour on July 17th 2012.  No Darvic rings but.........................
GBB HT71429?

..............as hard as it is to read a metal ring with Bins or scope, the great black Backed Gulls I tried reading all had their rings on up side down!  That just adds to the difficulty!
A rather uneventful few months as regards ring reading, but finished on a high.


Thursday, 25 April 2013

February / March 2012

A blog about reading coloured rings on Gulls from my base in Tallaght in Dublin

Med Gull Red 4P5
February 2012 started well with 4P5 at Dodder Valley Park on the 1st and on the 2nd a metal ring Stockholm 6430814 was read again at Sean Walsh Park, so one Polish and one Swedish - great start.  On the 3rd at Sean Walsh Park there was a Juvenile Mediterranean Gull but could only read ???6166.  It just wouldn't turn around!  I decided to try again tomorrow.  I only spend 20 min a day in the Park, at Lunch time and had spent most of my 20 min with camera ready as it was 10m away.  Too far to read a metal ring with bins but with a 500mm camera lens it can be read later.

Med Gull EW66166
Now, I know I said that I only got a partial and got another digit a few days later, but later in the year I began to network with another ring reader. I was told that only 21 Med Gulls were ringed in 2011 with just a BTO ring.  (Each metal ring has a address, Ireland and the UK has  'Report BTO London SW7' inscribed on it).  So, via a gentleman called Tony Murray who I think ringed the bird, who told Sean Kingston who told me! Oh this was the first sighting since ringed.  It was ringed on Lady's Island in Ireland.

Black Headed Gull E5VA
All February the Dutch BHG E5VA showed well but always at a particular location, so once a week I went to that location. I checked my photos - wow all these Black Headed Gulls have preferred areas within the park. But by the 3rd of March it was gone.

Black Headed Gull W[NUT]
The Danish Black Headed Gull White NUT showed sporadically throughout February but by March only Juveniles remained. The Danish metal ring 6229447 was the last to depart on March 9th and although some gulls remained, none had rings.

What I learnt - Reading metal rings is really difficult.  I successfully read 12 metal rings of 6 individuals in February but I got 24 partial readings of others.  It seems that 1 in every 3,000 Black Headed Gulls has a Darvic ring and 1 in 500 has a metal ring.  Not great odds.  As Darvic rings are made in a variety of colours they prefix the code with the colour. So W[NUT] is a white ring with inscription NUT.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The beginning January 2012

The beginning of my interest in Gulls and Ringing

W[E5RU] Black Headed Gull
On St Stephens day in Tymon Park, Tallaght, Dublin, while feeding ducks with my young boys, a Black Headed Gull with a white darvic ring appeared.  When I dropped the boys home, I went out with my camera and snapped my first darvic ring.  After finding out it was Dutch and reporting it to Frank Majoor, I got an almost instant reply with the life history of  W[E5RU] that it had travelled via Calais in France. I saw him again on the 28th of December 2011. I was getting hooked.

B[0HL] Herring Gull
On new years day 2012 a Herring Gull appeared overhead B[OHL]  this turned out to be ringed in 2010 on Irelands eye.  This took me a long time to track down the project and get a report.  This was the first sighting since it was ringed.  The last sentence is going to be repeated a lot in this blog.

6430814 Black Headed Gull
January 17th 2012, with the assistance of my camera and two slices of bread, I read my first metal ring.  A Black Headed Gull from Sweden.  I read lots of metal rings, but unless there is significance to them, I will not be blogging about them!  This was the first sighting since it was ringed.

W[T3PV] Black Headed Gull 1st winter
On January 18th 2012, at Sean Walsh Memorial Park I spotted T3PV, a Polish Black Headed Gull Juvenile. This was the first sighting since it was ringed.  This was turning out to be truly international bird watching.  I was still seeing E5RU, T3VP and 6430814 every week

W[E5VA] Black Headed Gull 1st winter
January 20th 2012 at Sean Walsh Park I saw another of Frank Majoor' Black Headed Gulls! E5VA was to become a regular sighting

W[NUT] Black Headed Gull
January 22nd 2012, again at Sean Walsh Park NUT appeared.  This was a Danish Black Headed Gull.  The interesting things about this bird was that although it was ringed in 2005 and seen every year on its breeding ground, they had no reports of where it was wintering.  This was a first wintering report.

R[4P5] Mediterranean Gull
January 31st gave me my first Med Gull but in another location I had been regularly checking - Dodder Valley Park in Dublin 24.  This was another bird that took 10 months to get a report back on as the person listed on the CR Ringing website was no longer involved.  4P5 had been reported in Cork, Scotland, Essex etc.  It certainly travelled.

1st Month over. 20 observations reported including 6 different Darvic Rings! Having fun!