Thursday, 2 January 2014

January 2014. Caspian Gull in Dublin

January 31st

Went out to join Birdwatch Ireland ringing waders.  They have ringed a lot of Bartailed godwits and Oystercatchers over the week.  Today they were colour ringing Red shank.  Afterwards I went down to Poolbeg to try and read some, only managed to read 1 Oystercatcher.

January 28th

Headed off to Howth on this wet and windy day.  Read 10 Blue darvic rings all from Irelands Eye.  Only one was new to me.  A Herring Gull.  Judging by the ring, it was recently ringed as an adult. 0LL 
Herring Gull + Blue Darvic ring at Howth

I went down to the Malahide Estuary where there were no coloured rings observed.  I read 8 mute swan metal rings. Only 2 were new to me. 18 rings read in total but nothing exciting. On the bright side, I got to see a Whooper Swan among the 1000 lapwings, so a good birding day, if not a good ring reading day.

January 26th

Bray Harbour this morning looking for rings.  The usual suspects were there.  The Lithuanian Black Headed Gull Black [P615] and the Norwegian Black Headed Gull White[J0J2] were present.  Read a few Swans while there, but nothing unusual.  On the way home, at Tallaght Community School, the Yellow Darvic ring from Lough Mask was again read and photographed.

Black Headed Gull from Lithuania.

Black Headed Gull from Norway

Black Headed Gull from Lough mask

January 25th

It has been a quiet week for coloured rings in Tallaght, but Saturday morning and roosting in Tallaght Community School, was a yellow Darvic from the Lough Mask Projects.  Ringed in 2009.  The first re-sighting was by myself at Tallaght Community School in December 2012.  It has since been observed roosting at Booterstown Strand  by Sean K.
Larus Ridibundus, Black Headed Gull + Yellow ring from Lough Mask

January 20th

Sean Walsh Park today produced two Black Headed Gulls with Darvics.  The English,  27H0 was looking dry and presentable (See Jan 14th for wet and bedraggled) but best of the day was the Dutch Black Headed Gull E5VA who I hadn't seen since December 19th 2013.

January 19th

No Gull rings read today, but I read two Brent Geese and an Oystercatcher. They are both great species to report as the sightings are enthusiastically replied to.
Brent Goose with coloured rings in Blackrock Park, Co. Dublin

Oystercatcher with Coloured ring BL, Blackrock, Co Dublin

January 18th

This week has seen very few rings, but that is the way it often is, so I was delighted to see a Darvic on a Black Headed Gull this morning in Tymon Park.  White[4ET] from Denmark again.  I have now seen it 6 times, twice in Tymon Park, the other four in Sean Walsh.  It is so rare I get to observe a bird in two locations.
Black Headed Gull from Denmark - White[4ET]
I went to Sandycove, lots of Med Gulls but no rings.  At Bullock Harbour there were plenty of Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls.  No foreign rings, but three from Irelands Eye.

January 14th

No rare gulls in Sean Walsh Park today but Black Headed Gull 27H0 was present.  Perhaps because it was wet it was showing more dark feathers on it's hood.
Black Headed Gull 27H0

January 13th

Black Headed Gull from Holland.  First from Holland without a Darvic!

Yesterday, a 1st Winter Iceland Gull was photographed in Sean Walsh Park, but I saw neither Caspian or Iceland today.  I did read a metal ring from Arnhem in Holland and it is a new style ring No. 2.508.226.  My sources in Holland say it was only ringed in August 2013 at the Island De Kreupel as a by-catch by ornithologists ringing Terns!

Further email from ringer to confirm ringing location as Bird Island, De Kreupel, the date as August 16th 2013 and a thank you!  All in under two hours!

January 11th

The Danish Black Headed Gull 4ET appeared late this afternoon. Still haven't got details on this Danish Bird but it is good to see it around.  With the appreciated comment that E5VA was seen yesterday and 27H0 showing well, the next life histories I receive will hopefully have a lot of new observers noted!

Met a few birders today, but no Caspian Gull seen today or Yesterday.  

January 9th

With a big twitch on the Park is very social at lunch time meeting lots of birders.  The Gull has been seen most days.  My only Darvic today was 27HO.

January 7th

The Caspian Gull is making quite a stir and I met seven birders/photographers in Sean Walsh Park today!

Caspian Gull

However, my best find of the day was 0MA, a Herring Gull that I ringed last year on Irelands Eye.  This is its second visit to the Park.  The Swedish Black Headed Gull, 6430814 was also present.  One of the Birders today said that they met some one who had seen a coloured ringed Med in the Park today.  Not quite, but a German Med was photographed near by with Green Coloured ring from Germany.  I must look out for it at the other end of the Park.
0MA - Herring Gull from Irelands Eye

January 5th

News of the day.  My unknown Gull photo in Decembers Blog has been Identified as a 2nd winter Caspian Gull.  First for me and 1st for Dublin I think!

Wet and windy but still went to the coast. Only 2 rings read and best of the day was seeing the Mediterranean Gull AKAJ again in Sandycove.
Mediterranean Gull.

January 4th

First Tallaght coloured ring of 2014 goes to 27H0.  This Black Headed Gull is well known to me in Sean Walsh Park.  This is the 45th time I have seen it since it arrived in the Park on August 6th 2013.

January 3rd 2014

Extreamly high tide + strong winds have left the coast flooded, the waves were even crashing over the pier at Bullock Harbour.  No coloured rings so I read a Metal ring on a Mediterranean Gull.  It was ringed as a Pullus in 2011 in Belguim and the ring was read in October 2011 up the road in Sandycove!

While at Bullock Harbour, I also read a Black Headed Gull Metal Ring from Sweden which I reported in November 2012.  It is the most exciting metal ring I have read as other people have also read it at Bullock Harbour - I am not alone in reading metal rings!

Bray Harbour was flooding at 12.30.  Again no coloured rings so I read the Mute Swan rings.  Out of 8 rings only one Swan ring was new to me.

In the afternoon I went to the Grand Canal.  What is immediately obvious is that there is a far higher percentage of first winter swans present.  Only saw and read one ring, but it is another to add to my database.

I am not ignoring Tallaght, it's just there have been no coloured rings seen recently, I am still checking out the flocks.

January 2nd 2014

First ring of the year was a Mute Swan in Herbert Park, but not that interesting.  The most interesting ring read today was an Oystercatcher.  New years resolutions include to increase my number of wader readings and increase my Mute Swan data base.
Oystercatcher with coloured rings

I tried for a long time to read a Black Headed Gull with Yellow Ring 2CY6 is a best guess reading - I will have to return and get it conclusively.
Black Headed Gull with Yellow ring.

I traveled along the Coast, but with flood warnings in place for tonight, the seafront car parks were all closed.  Ended up in Howth and read Six Gulls which were ringed locally.  No new ones today.
Great Black Backed Gull - Ringed 2010

Great Black backed Gull - Ringed 2009


  1. Hi Graham. Excellent find with THE gull. Had a brief look yesterday but no sign. You might be interested that I saw E5VA there - it seems from your excellent blog that it's a regular. Also had a almost fully summer plumaged BHGull there - only a few bits of small white flecking in the hood.

  2. Graham, great find of the Caspain Gull - haven't seen it yet but I was very pleased with my Teal shot. . Thanks. John C
    John Coveney Photography - people, places & wildlife.
    MOBILE: 087 276 5158 56. ADDRESS: 56 Castle Farm, Shankill, Dublin 18, Ireland.
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  3. Hi Graham, let me know if you have any luck hearing back about the Lithuanian ringed BHG. These birds were originally ringed by Vytautas Pareigis, who sadly died last year. The Lithuanian bird ringing centre have taken on the job of replying to sightings of Vytautas' birds, but they don't seem to be very quick at responding.

  4. Hi Graham,
    Excellent documentation of many of the ringed GBBG from Ireland's Eye. I'm one of the administrators for a site called gull-research org, dealing with several gull taxa in Europe. One of the sections is about ringed GBBG, and I would be very pleased to include a few of your birds. I made a kind of draft already, and would like to know if you can agree upon these pages? Of course your name as photographer and a link to your blog is added as well. Please have a look at:

    Is this okay for you? Please let me know if I have to change anything? (marsmuusse at gmail dot com)