Saturday, 5 December 2015

December - Russian and Caspian Gull!

29th December 2015

At Dun Laoghaire there were lots of birders all looking for the Grey Phalarope seen yesterday.  I spent much of my time scanning the high tide roosts of Ringed Plover and Dunlin.  Lots of metal rings but alas no coloured rings.  There were Great Northern Divers and a Black Redstart.  At Sandycove there was one Mediterranean Gull with a Darvic.  It is nearly 6 months since I last photographed it and it is interesting to see how far it's plumage has developed.

27th December 2015

A walk in Sean Walsh Park was rewarded with the Russian Black-headed Gull,  fantastic to add it to my Sean Walsh Park list.  Great also to get a better photo, but the metal ring appears to say Riga, which is in Latvia and not Russia!

With coloured rings on small gulls, each country in Europe is assigned a  number or letter to start every 4 digit ring code.  Eg, with BTO assigned codes they all start with the number "2", everything from Holland should start with an "E" .  In Russia they should all start with a K but now the mystery deepens. Latvia doesn't have a CR Prefix that I know of do they use the Russian "K". Can't wait for the report now!

For more information on european colour ring codes I recommend Frank Maajors website.

4-codes-map of europe

Black Headed Gull KFL4

The Caspian Gull was about as usual.  It does make birding social seeing other bird watchers!
Caspian Gull in Sean Walsh Park today

The Black Headed Gull 27H0 was also there - no limp any more.

Black Headed Gull 27H0

24 December 2015

Received loads of BTO reports today and one report really stands out.  On April 11th I read a ring of a Great Black Backed Gull that I said could be the oldest ring I've seen.  Today I got the report.

Species:Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)Scheme:GBTRing no:HT25763
Ringing date: 12-Jun-1994
Place code: - Site name: Ireland's EyeDublin, Ireland
Ringer: O J Merne
Duration: 7608 days Distance: 2 km

That makes it 20 years and 300 days since the ring was put on!  I will never find out if it was seen in the intervening period.  I think the record for the species is 25 years, but 20 years is a record for me! 

However, the ring was starting to open so it may fall off before I read it again.

23 December 2015

A first for me!  Out with Sean today and saw a Juvenile Black Headed Gull with a yellow ring!  The grass was long so I tried photographing it in flight.  It worked! Yellow KFL4.  Not the best photos I've taken but enough to confirm the code.  I have never had a K ring before.  It means it could be Russian!  The project is not on CR Birding so I have emailed Dmitrijs and await his reply.  On Christmas Day Dmitrijs Boiko confirmed it is one of his rings.  Deails to follow in the new year. 

Larus Ridibundus KFL4

21st of December

Sean Walsh Park. The Swedish Back Headed Gull 6430814 was quick to come for bread but relatively few black Headed gulls, circa 180.  The Caspian and Iceland Gulls photographed yesterday didn't show but as I was leaving the Black Headed Gull 27H0 turned up, fit and well.

Black Headed Gull + Coloured Ring 27H0

After that, I just read four Swan rings and walked home.

Mute Swan Cygnet 

10th December 2015


Went out with a friend to read rings today.  First time in 5 weeks!  Still far from back to normal but I did take some photos today.  Still cannot carry tripod, scope so limited in what I can look at.  Between the two of us, the amount of coloured rings read was impressive.

Howth Harbour.  About 400 big Gulls (Herring Gulls and Great Black Backed Gulls)  Very difficult to count and probably a lot more.  My target was to see if I could see any more Coloured Ringed Gulls from this years breeding on Irelands Eye.  A fire had swept the Island late in the season and I had only seen one 2015 Juvenile to date.  We read 15 Coloured Rings and yes we got 3JL - another 2015 Great Black Backed Gull that had survived the fire.

2015 Great Black Backed Gull + Coloured Ring LBBW(3JL)
Great Black Backed Gull.  2012 Still sub adult

Herring Gull 0CP in winter plumage.

We were heading to Broadmeadows when we spotted 380 Brent Geese in Seagrange Park, Baldoyle.  There were 100's of Black Tailed Godwits there also.  I can't carry a tripod, so I sat down to just look at them with binoculars.  I spotted a CR Godwit.  Thank goodness I photographed it, as I didn't notice the black tall ring while i was looking at it!  It was ringed in Scotland and will receive details in due course.  Just found out I saw the same bird before on February 22nd 2014  click the permalink to see - Permalink

Scottish Black Tailed Godwit

Note the tall black ring under the tall orange ring!

After a while a few of the Brent Geese ventured near enough to me to read a few!  There were a lot of Juveniles in the flock which is good to see.

Brent Goose PFWR.  Note white stripes on Juvenile Behind
Brent 6IRR.  

Brent A9WR

At Broadmeadows the Mute Swans were hungry and at the car before we got out of it!  20 of our coloured rings were read and 4 metal rings.

Howth - 4  Herring Gull and 11 Great Black Backed CR Rings and 1 metal
Baldoyle - I read 3 Brent however SKI read over 20 
Black Tailed Godwit - 1.  (Glad I took my camera)
Broadmeadows - 24 Swans.

I think we read over 60 rings and back for lunch!  

5th December 2015

My arm is still broken so I can't use my big camera. It will be a few weeks till normal ring reading services resume!   Storm Desmond (with a months rainfall in 36 hours) is battering Ireland so not much birding happening anyway.

Mediterranean Gull from Hungary in Dublin
The Brent Geese are back in numbers!