Saturday, 1 March 2014

March 2014- Caspian, Iceland + CR Redshank

March 30th

Howth Harbour this morning.  As the breeding season approaches I was hoping for adult Great Black Backed Gulls that have returned to breed that I haven't seen before.  Although I photographed 10 individuals of various ages- all were ones that have been seen at Howth and none were new to me.  Interesting that some of the Adults I hadn't seen since June last year.

Great Black Backed Gull.  Ringed 2012.
There were more adults recorded than usual.  I hadn't seen  2AM  or 2EJ   since last summer.
Great Black Backed Gull. Ringed 2009
Great Black Backed Gull. Ringed 2009

Great Black Backed Gull. Ringed 2013.  I have seen this individual in Sandyford!

March 29th

Bullock Harbour this morning but too late - the first dogs arrived at the same time as me and all the gulls were chased off the pier before I could start reading rings. I only read 1 ring and it was a Great Black Backed Gull ringed in 2013 on Ireland's Eye.  I have seen it 8 times before all at Bullock Harbour.

March 27th

A quite week for rings.  Only 29 Black Headed Gulls left in Sean Walsh Park.  The Caspian Gull has made brief appearances every day.  The Black Headed Gull 27H0 is still present, but should be leaving soon.  It is interesting to compare it to how it looked as it arrived in August.

Caspian Gull in Sean Walsh Park

March 23rd

Bray Harbour produced no coloured rings, so I set about reading Metal Rings on Swans and then spotted a Herring Gull with a Metal.  Eventually managed to read it with the aid of my camera.  Always harder to read them when upside down!

March 22nd

Poppintree Park had no Common Gulls today, so I went on to Howth.  Five coloured rings read, all local.
Great Black Backed Gull 

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Juvenile Herring Gull

March 21st

The number of Black Headed Gulls continue to drop despite our first real wintery day with hail and sleet! The Caspian Gull and Iceland Gull 1cy are still present.   The big news of the day was an email from Maarten van Kleinwee in Holand - The Black Headed Gull E5VA has returned to its breeding ground safely again this year.  The 27th of February was my last sighting of this individual in Sean Walsh Park.

Caspian Gull

Caspian Gull

The Caspian Gull in flight.  Both wings are at different stages of moult.  Really odd looking.  Also really hard to get the colours right.  Most photos tend to under expose the bird, as the head, like in this shot, disappears against the sky! The grey in this photo is seems about right, but the black tail is far more striking in the field. 

March 20th

It has been a quite week for rings in Sean Walsh Park.  The Caspian Gull and Iceland Gull have been present most days.  The Juvenile Black Headed Gull 27H0 is still around.  The adult BLHGU have all gone but for 2 or 3 remaining.
Black Headed Gull 27H0 

Caspian Gull

Iceland Gull 1cy

March 15th

Howth Harbour this morning.  I was expecting more Adult Great Black Backed Gulls, but very few and only two ringed.  No Juvenile Great Black Backed Gulls with coloured rings.  The size of the Great Black Backed always impresses me.  Still 5 Herring Gulls and 2 Great Black Backed rings recorded.
Herring Gull ringed 2009 and Great Black Backed Gull behind.

Juvenile Herring Gull ringed 2013

Great Black Backed Gull Ringed 2009

Great Black backed Gull in take off!
I stopped in Poppintree Park and read the Common Gull from Northern Ireland again.  No sign of the Scottish Common Gull this week.

March 14th

Watching the Black Headed Gulls in Sean Walsh Park, what was striking was how suddenly there were so few adults - about 5%.  Usually St Patricks' week-end is the last weekend of reading adults so maybe they have all departed this week.  The Juvenile 27H0 is still around.  Best of the day was the Herring Gull 0MA.  Since I first spotted it in the Park in December, this is the 5th re-sighting.  The Caspian Gull and Iceland Gull were around again today at lunch time.
Herring Gull Blue[0MA] Ringed off the Dublin coast in 2013

Black Headed Gull 27H0 - should be around for one more week.

March 13th

The Black Headed Juvenile 27H0 is the only Darvic seen in the Park this week.  Today the Iceland Gull gave me great views and the Caspian Gull even gave an appearance.

1st winter Iceland Gull

1st Winter Iceland Gull
1st Winter Iceland Gull

Caspian Gull

March 11th

On March 8th I mentioned that when reading wader rings, I met a wildlife photographer, John Fox. Together we were observing the Redshank and reading the rings.  He has kindly given me permission to use one of his photo's of the Redshank we were watching.  Reporting of such rings can be done through the Dublin Bay Blog and they are prompt at getting back to you.
Photograph of Coloured Ringed Redshank by John Fox

March 9th

Bray Harbour this morning, to see if the reported Black Swan has any identifying ring on it - it doesn't.  The usual Black Headed Gulls, sporting Darvic rings, were not about.  They may have already left for their breeding grounds or just elsewhere.  My highlight was another Great Black Backed Gull from Irelands Eye. 3CT was ringed during the Summer of 2013, but this is the first time I've seen this individual.

Great Black Backed Gull at Bray Harbour.

Black Swan at Bray Harbour

Before I left Bray I photographed a metal ring on a Black Headed Gull from Finland.  I got the full code so I will report it tonight.  This is the 3rd Helsinki metal ring I've read this season!

Black Headed Gull with Helsinki Metal Ring.

I stopped at Bullock Harbour on the way home and read three more Gulls from Irelands Eye, (2 GBBGU and 1 HERGU).  Three Mediterranean Gulls still present including this German individual.

March 8th

Sean Walsh Park and the roost at Tallaght Community Schools, both failed to turn up ringed individuals.  At Poppintree Park the Northern Irish Common Gull with the Blue Darvic was present.  It was ringed on Big Copeland in June 2013.  No sign of the yellow ring from Scotland.  Then off to the Bull Island.  The redshank with rings were visible but thankfully John Fox turned up with a scope so that they could be read.
Common Gull preening

Red Shank at the Bull.  Spot the rings?

March 5th

Still the gathering of Gulls for migration hasn't really been noticeable and it certainly hasn't produced some of the regulars who turn up in March.

March 4th

No rings read today apart from Black Headed Gull 27H0 which is daily.  A very sociable lunch time with many birders around and the Caspian Gull obliged with brief showings.  The Iceland Gulls were less obliging today!

March 3rd

The first Black Headed Gull in breeding plumage is from Sweden and I didn't get its number.  It started with 6430, so I think I know which bird it is.  It will be interesting to see if all the Scandinavian birds change first.

March 1st

The afternoon trip was to Poppintree Park in North Dublin, to check and see if the Common Gull from Scotland was still present.  A circling Buzzard had all the Gulls up.  But the first Common Gull ring I saw was Blue! I have sent a report to Northern Ireland. It was ringed on Big Copeland, thanks to Shane for his swift response.

Common Gull from Northern Ireland

Common take off

I returned to the Park an hour later and observed the Scottish Common Gull with the Yellow Darvic ring.  Not much of a photo but 5/5 for attendance.
Common Gull from Scotland.
The morning had started with a quick trip to Sean Walsh Park.  There were more birders than Gulls this morning, but the Caspian Gull had been around earlier in the morning and all eyes were on an Iceland Gull on the Plaza Hotel.

Waiting for the Caspian Gull to return!