Friday, 4 April 2014

April 2014 - Great Black Backed Gulls + Gull with Yellow legs!

April 26th

Went for an hour to Bullock Harbour in South Dublin.  Quality not quantity was what I was hoping for. Strangely, I have never seen a foreign Darvic ring at Howth, despite the number of Gulls.  Well, at Bullock this afternoon, a Scottish Great Black Backed turned up.  I have seen it before, but not for 5 months.  I am looking forward to seeing if anyone else has reported it since I last saw it..
Speedy reply from Scotland.  4th sighting - all by me!

2102 Scottish Ringed + Great Black Backed Gull


There were also 2012 Great Black Backed Gull with Irelands' Eye Darvic Rings.  Including yet another that is new to me.  It is interesting to compare the plumage between the two colonies so the photos I've chosen are as close as possible to the same pose.
2012 Irelands' Eye ringed + Great Black Backed Gull
Interestingly, a local fisherman was asking me about a Grey Heron with a big coloured ring which was there last week. The only ones I know are ringed in Dublin Zoo, like this one I photographed this morning.  Ringed in 2007 as an Adult.

April 24th

Trip to Howth this morning.  I was hoping to read the metal ring on the Gull with Yellow legs, but it didn't oblige!  Read a dozen Great Black Backed rings, all from Irelands Eye.  Again I read 2009 birds that I hadn't seen before!
Great Black Backed Gull 2009

Great Black Backed Gull 1UK.  2012

Great Black Backed Gull 

And a Herring Gull, Adult 2009 or 2010

April 19th

At Howth this morning trying to work out the difference between a Yellow Legged Gull and a Herring Gull with Yellow Legs! My conclusion is that we don't get Yellow legged Gulls in Ireland so it is probably a Herring Gull with Yellow legs!  P10 is visible but isn't a match to anything in Olsen's Gull Book.

Gull with Yellow legs in Flight

Photo taken beside Herring Gull for comparison


April 15th

I got a mid week trip to Howth Harbour today.  Twice as many gulls as Sunday and 12 GBBGU rings from Ireland's' Eye and one Herring Gull. It is easy to read them as they sit on the roofs.




Today I photographed another 2009 Great Black backed Gull that I hadn't seen before.  They just keep turning up!

Great Black backed Gull.

Great Black Backed Gull

April 13th

A absolutely brilliant morning at Howth.  I arrived before 7am and 16 Brent Geese were still in the park, so I read the three with coloured rings before I even got out of the car!  But it was the Great Black Backed that made the morning so special for me.  Not only did I read 13 individuals but three were even new to me!

Great Black Backed Gull
Great Black Backed Gull 2AT was probably ringed in 2009.  This was my first sighting of this individual and it is almost 5 year old!

Great Black Backed Gull 2KL
Great Black Backed Gull 2KL was probably ringed in 2010.  This again was my first sighting of this individual and it is almost 4 year old! There is a lot of black on the Bill which makes me think it is not 2009 although birds vary.
Great Black Backed Gull 2CN
Although I have seen 2CN this year twice already.  The news is it appears to have a mate! Note the bill only has one tiny black spot, where 1AM below has a lot more black


Great Black Backed Gull 1AM
 Great Black Backed Gull 1AM seems a little behind in some of the others so possibly 2010.  It has always been a regular at Howth Harbour.
Great Black Backed Gull 1EN
Great Black Backed Gull 1EN also seems to be a little behind the adults in their striking appearance so perhaps 2010 again.  Again too much black on Bill for adult.


Great Black Backed Gull 1MC
There were a full range of Great Black Backed Gulls from 2009 to 2013.  Working out the ages takes some practice.  1MC seems to be 2012.  2nd winter - pale base develops and pale tip more pronounced.



Great Black Backed Gull 3HK
Great Black Backed Gull 3HK was ringed in 2013.  1st winter.  Note the base of the bill is dark and the pale tip is hardly noticeable.



Mystery Gull Ring
When going through my photos I noticed the following GBBGU in the corner of a frame.  I didn't see it at the time.  Either a ring has been damaged or there was a white ringed adult present!  

April 12th

Bullock Harbour this morning produced only one coloured ring in the reasonably large flock of Herring and Greater Black Backed.  Dun Laoghaire West Pier also only produced one ring.  On the way home in Tallaght there was a Iceland Gull that was in First Spring.  It was far paler than the one I see in Sean Walsh Park 1 Km away.
Great Black Backed Gull - Almost an Adult!

Iceland Gull in Tallaght

April 10th

I spent much of lunch time at Sean Walsh Park.  There were 70 Gulls, 4 Great Black Backed, 16 Lesser Black Backed, 39 Herring Gull, 9 Black Headed Gulls (Immature's) 1 Caspian and an Iceland Gull.  
Eventually I was rewarded with a blue Darvic - 0MA, ringed on Irelands' Eye in 2013.  It is my 6th record of this bird being recorded at this location.

April 9th

Three Herring Gulls?  The one on the right is a very different looking individual, don't thing it is anything but a variation.  Comments welcome!

April 5th

An eventful morning which started at Bullock Harbour.  Another 2009 Great Black Backed adult was present.

It is great to see lots of colour rings even though they often only show site fidelity. Nearly all the Gulls were Great Black Backed, with only 5 Herring Gulls present.  1VV was present. It is now the 7th time I have recorded it at this location.

But the most interesting observation was 1JR.  I have recorded it 10 times at Bullock Harbour but hadn't seen it since June 2013.  Nice to know it is alive and well, but where has it been?

Breeding season is fast approaching which is obvious with the various mating attempts this morning.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour near the fish Shop produced Gull of the day.  Yet another new bird for my database and a reasonable photo.


I oddest photo goes to 1LC.  I have only seen it once before, but an interesting photo.


I spent 30 minutes in Howth this afternoon.  Nearly all Herring Gulls there.  Only 1 ring read.





April 4th

First week in April has been quiet for rings in Tallaght.  The First winter Black Headed Gull from the UK is still in Sean Walsh Park!  The steady decline in Black Headed Gulls through March has taken an unexpected change.  The numbers had dwindled to 28 by the end of last month and suddenly rocketed to 140+ in early April.  They are all immature.  I am not sure if the fine weather has made the fields too hard and children feeding Ducks has concentrated the population in the park.  I've no real idea - answers on a post card.
Black Headed Gull + Jackdaw

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