Sunday, 1 March 2015

March 2015 - Great Black Backs are back

March 23rd

Sean Walsh Park.  The Great Black Backed 1VA was again present, but even though it had no coloured ring the bird of the day goes to the new arrival - an Iceland Gull!  Nice to have it in the park.

Iceland Gull in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

March 21st

Howth was interesting as there were so few adult Great Black backed Gulls present.  I assume they were all on territories on Irelands Eye, an Island visible from the harbour.  Only 2 local rings recorded.

March 19th

Today in Sean Walsh Park I watched the large Gulls, Herring, Lesser Black Backed and Great Black Backed Gulls and was rewarded by the Great Black Backed Gull 1VA showing again!

Great Black Backed Gull + 1VA

March 18th

With the success of an Irelands Eye Great Black Backed Gull on Monday I watched all the Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls in Sean Walsh Park today as they fished for Fresh Water Mussels and brought them onto the center rock to open.  Alas, no darvics but I discovered that the fresh water mussel is apparently very rare!

Herring Gull and fresh water mussel.

March 16th

Sean Walsh Park:  I haven't posted a photo of the Black Headed Gull 27H0 for about 3 weeks.  It is still present and starting to get it's breeding plumage.  For me most noticible was the changing leg colour which has gone from orange to red.
Black Headed Gull with Darvic Ring 27H0 from England.
There was a "Herring Gull" that didn't look quite right.  It's eye was too small, it's head was too clean and the wing tips were missing the white ends I would expect.  However, as they move from 3rd winter to 4th summer they can be tricky.

However, bird of the day has to go to the Great Black Backed Gull from Irelands Eye.  1VA use to be a regular at Bullock Harbour, but I hadn't seen it since last summer.
Great Black Backed Gull 1VA showing off it's wing!

March 14th Howth

This morning was cold and 100% cloud.   There were loads of Great Black Gulls and Herring Gulls but few with coloured rings. Interesting observations:
There was Herring Gull 0JH who is usually at Bullock Harbour  (12km South) or Bray but I did see it at Howth on March 15th last year - 1 day earlier this year.  A Great Black Backed Gull [1JK] also winters at Bullock Harbour and was also back in Howth.

Herring Gull 0JH

Great Black Backed Gull 1JK

BIRD OF THE DAY.  This Great Black Backed Gull made it's first appearance in Howth since it was ringed. It was seen by a friend Sean K at Clougher Head 50Km north of Howth
Great Black Backed Gull 1JH
 Last week I read 10 rings.  This week only one of those 10 was recorded.
Herring Gull 0LJ was ringed as an adult in 2013
 On leaving I spotted a flock on Brent Geese near Sutton Cross.  So I stopped and read a few.  What would anyone else have done?

March 7th Howth AM

What a difference a week makes, last week there were relatively few Great Black Backed and only one blue Darvic from Irelands eye.  Today, in the hour I was there, I recorded 9 with Blue rings and a Herring Gull.  It was the number of adult Great Black Backs that was impressive.  The have been about 10% Adult and 90% Juvenile (1-4 years old), today it was more like 80% adults.  

I hadn't seen Great Black Backed Gull 1AM since the end of last summer.  I would love to find out where it goes for winter.
Great Black Backed Gull 1AM

Great Black Backed Gull 2KL displaying with un-ringed partner

Great Black Backed Gull 2EJ
 But no matter what else I saw today, this was going to be bird of the day.  1EM, I didn't recognise the code, as it transpired, I had never seen it before.  Ringed in 2010, I find it fascinating that they are still showing for the first time!
Great Black Backed Gull 1EM - my first sighting of it!

March 7th Bray PM

Following the oil spill (See last month) I went to Bray to see which Swans were still there and I recorded 5 of them. 2 I hadn't recorded last week, however Swan of the day is this one W27801 which I haven't seen before.  By the number, I can guess it was ringed 6 years ago, but where I don't know, I will have to wait for the report

March 7th Bullock Harbour PM

More Great Black Backed Gulls and I read 3 rings, but what was interesting was there were no adult Med Gulls.  There were 5 juveniles including the Hungarian H4L3.  Fantastic day and 25 rings read in all.

March 5th

With only two ringed Black Headed Gulls in Sean Walsh Park, I looked at Dodder Valley Park 1km away yesterday, spotted a metal and went to hopefully record it today.  I have had limited luck at this park in the past but did get a CR Mediterranean Gull a couple of years back.  Today there wasn't one metal rings but two.  I concentrated on the Swedish ring and finally managed to get it to walk away and felt sure I had photographed the ring from every angle.  The other Gull was more wary and I only got 3 digits, I didn't even get the country!!
Swedish Black Headed Gull 6426774

Ring photographed from all sides!  6426774

Metal ring on Med Gull?

March 1st 

Bray Harbour 11am.  It was cold and raining, but it got worse, by lunch time the hailstones had ceased and it was full on snowing with the temperature at 0! My mission was to see how many of the 13 Swans that were released on the 24th of February after being de-oiled could be recorded, but on arrival the Scottish Herring Gull A:B97 was standing on the foot path

Most of the mute swans were on the water, but a few had ventured out to beg from people in cars.  I ventured out of my car and started photographing rings.  8 were ringed and 5 of those were ones from Sean Walsh Park that we had ringed in the rescue center.  There were still Swans in the Harbour that couldn’t be enticed out of the water, so I moved on to Bullock Harbour.

Mute Swan rings at Bray Harbour today
Bullock Harbour was great choice for the next stop with 3 coloured ringed Great Black Backed Gulls, all from Irelands Eye.  1JK is a Great Black Backed I haven’t recorded for several months, 1NL I hadn’t recorded since November but it is special to me, as I have seen it in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght.  The 3rd Great Black Backed was 1VV who is usually there.

There were 16 Mediterranean Gulls, and 3 with coloured rings.  The German and Hungarian birds are often there but 2X1A was a first for me.  However, it was ringed as an adult locally in 2015 so it’s hardly surprising I hadn't seen it before. 

I took lots of photos of this Mediterranean in Breeding Plumage but failed to read it's tibia ring! (That's a ring above what looks like the knee)

I did go to Dun Laoghaire and Sandycove.  Plenty of Meds and other gulls, but no rings.  15 rings read – great morning.