Wednesday, 2 August 2017

August - Two new Black Headed Gulls

August 19th

The month has been spent looking at Juvenile Gulls from the mixed colonies and for my own education brushing up on Juvenile ID skills!  It is one thing to say Juvenile Lesser Black Backed Gull or Juvenile Herring Gull, but explaining why requires reading up.  

This Juvenile was darker than the other Herring Gull Juveniles and I would have just said Lesser Black Backed Gull, but some Herring Gulls are considerably darker than others.  Most of the books use Dutch and Scandanavian birds as examples and they are very slightly different
Firstly, the Tertial feathers are interesting.  They have a dark center, "with tips edged with white that don't go as far as the greater coverts".  A classic feature of Lesser Black Backed  Gull.  The bill is also classic "dark to the base" although not a defining feature in August.  (By October the Herring Gulls will have developed a lighter base to the bill).  Add the overall appearance of Scales and I reported it as a Lesser Black Backed Gull.  It refuses to fly from where it stood so I never got a wings open shot!  Email me if I got this one wrong!!!

Lesser Black Backed Gull 244:D

A Herring Gull landed near it for comparison.  

August 6th

I went to Broadmeadows, to read some swan rings.  However, I spotted a Black Headed Gull with a white Darvic.  It is from Holland and I have not seen it before. The Dutch are now requesting that sightings are submitted on line.  This I have done and I am now waiting for the sighting to be authenticated.

20/08/2017 Received a nice reply and life history from Date Lutterop in the Netherlands.  EH1Z was ringed last year as a 1CY, so surprised it either wasn't reported last year or wasn't here last year.

Of the 30 Swans read at Broadmeadows, there were none I haven't seen this season.  However, while looking for missing individuals today, I recorded  CAJJ in Coolock, where it was ringed.  It hasn't been seen in over a year and I thought that as it has a deformed bill that it may have perished.  However, it seems to be doing fine.

Mute Swan with under bill and photo of ring. ( It has had deformity since it hatched)
Either of these two could have been my bird of the day, however I stopped at the base of the East wall.  Laods of Terns and Gulls sit out on the railings.  Scanning these more than half were metal ringed.  One metal seemed taller so out with the camera and it was actually a Darvic Ring.  Glad I was able to read it as it was 25m away!
Common Terns

More terns on the railings

Common Tern PZK.  Terns are small birds and their Darvics are tiny!

August 5th

The juvenile large gulls are now appearing every where I look!  This morning at Grand Canal Basin there were two - both Herring Gulls.
Herring Gull 024:D at Grand Canal Basin this morning.  Urban Chick

Herring Gull 061:D at Grand Canal Basin.  Urban Chick

Bullock Harbour + Red Ring Herring Gull 130:D
 However my bird of the day was a metal ringed black headed gull from Sweden!  6214578 has been a regular since I started ring reading in 2012.  Having hatched in 2005 it is now 12 years old and doing well.

August 2nd

Today in Sean Walsh Park there were two Black Headed Gulls with Metal Rings!  This confused me at first.  There are good numbers present on some days but these are mainly birds passing through.  New Black Headed Gull today EW55882.  A BTO ring so it could be from anywhere in Ireland or the UK.  The second gull ended in 6943, I hope it stays around for another day so I can read the rest of the ring!

Friday, 28 July 2017

July - 2nd Post

29th July

On Sandymount strand today, the Black-headed Gull E5VA showed up.  I also read 9 Oystercatcher rings, 5 Mediterranean Gulls (Including HK36 from Hungary) and the best of the day was one of the new Herring Gulls.  All very far away for good photos, but here are a few.

Black Headed Gull E5VA from Holland

Med Gull 3KPT also from Holland

Oystercatcher HD Ringed in Dublin

Herring Gull 016:D

25th July

The Colour ringed Juvenile Gulls have so far not moved very far from their nest sites.  I have recorded a couple on the Liffey, but only a few 100m from where they were ringed.  This is to be expected.  I went out to Ireland's Eye to see how they are getting on and to get some photographs to publicise the project.  A friend Tonya  went with me so some of the photos are hers.

King of the hill!  Great Black Backed Gull 326:D

Great Black Backed Gull 340:D

Great Black Backed Gull and Juvenile 348:D

Photographing behaviour shows who is related to who.

Herring Gull 078:D

Herring Gull 112:D

Herring Gull 173:D
Photo by Tonya

Photo by Tonya

Photo by Tonya

Photo by Tonya 

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Dublin Urban Gull Project

Dublin Urban Gull Project.

Gulls are spectacular birds but Urban Gulls seem to get a lot of bad press. However, they do fulfill a vital role in Urban Ecosystem and Herring Gull numbers have declined so quickly in recent years they are now RED listed. Lesser Black Backed and Greater Black Backed Gulls are amber listed. The Ringing Club, that I am a member of, have taken up the challenge of studying them. The Irish Midlands Ringing Group has now colour ringed about 100 large gull pulli, mainly Herring Gulls, over the last 3 weeks in the City Centre of Dublin. We also ringed 145 large Gull Pulli on Ireland's Eye as a control group for comparison.

The ringing of Pulli – Flightless Juveniles or “Chicks” has now come to the end for this nesting season and the task of re-sighting them has commenced.

Our ring sequence runs from 001:D  to 999:D

001:D is called Leo because he was ringed on the Roof of the Dail!

Dublin Great Black Backed Gull 345:D on Irelands Eye.  Pulli - Preflight Juvenile

Large Gulls have never been colour ringed in Dublin City Centre before so we have no data as to their survival, dispersal, usage of particular sites etc. So we have almost 100 coloured ringed Urban raised Gulls to try and locate in Dublin City and see how they fare.

Dublin Gull Project - 025:D near Heuston Station

We will watch the data and the type of questions that we hope to answer from this study over the next few years are the following.
· We know Gulls from Irelands Eye venture into the City, but do the City Gulls venture out to sea? Will they turn up at fishing ports such as Howth or Dun Laoghaire.
· What is their Survival rate?
· Do they move? I know from reading Gull Rings in Dublin that I see Herring Gulls from Scotland and the Isle of Man. Will our Urban controls also move south?
· I also read Gulls From Irelands Eye on Playing Fields and in the Parks of Tallaght, will the urban Gulls also venture away from the Urban City to the Suburbs to feed?
Sightings can be sent to

Sunday, 2 July 2017

July 2017 - E5VA + 27H0 Return yet again

25 July 2017

Today was an excellent day ring reading.  It started in Howth.  15 Cr Rings of the old project were recorded including one new bird, 3EL.  Ringed in 2013.

Great Black Backed Gull 3EL Ringed 2013

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Great Black Backed Gull 1MC.  Usually seen at Broadmeadows.
However there were none of our new red rings, so we went to Irelands Eye, to get some photographs!  Always nice to get another species and this Cormorant obliged!

CR Cormorant AFI on Irelands Eye

22nd July

A short walk in Sean Walsh Park rewarded me with my first sighting of the season of 27H0.  Still in breeding plumage.  Since first sighted as a Juvenile in 2013, it has been an annual regular in the park..

13th July

This year the first Colour Ringed Black Headed Gull to return to Sean Walsh Park is the Dutch Ringed E5VA.  First sighted as a Juvenile in January 2012, it has returned to the same park each year 750 Km from its breeding ground.

4th July 2017

Every Tuesday in July 6:30 - 8 "Tern Watch" takes place at Collimore Harbour.  This event allows the public to view the Terns nesting with more experienced Birders to point out the Terns and all the other birds on show like Shearwaters.  En-route I stopped at Bullock Harbour.  I am glad I did as two CR Ringed Gulls were present.  It was a first sighting of 2LH for 2017 and the Herring Gull T9YF is from the Isle of Man.  Ringed in 2014, it has been recorded in Dublin in 2015,2016 and now 2017.

Herring Gull from Isle of Man - Not quite full adult.  In ringing terms it is a 9, 3rd Calander year.

2nd July 2017

A quick trip to Sandycove to see if the Mediterranean Gulls have started arriving in large numbers.  There were .8 adults - no juveniles yet.  3 colour ringed - all ringed in Dublin.

1st July 2017

Today I took the boat trip to the Island of Ireland's Eye, as always I was also on the look out for coloured rings.  Among those I recorded was a Great Black Backed Gull with Blue Ring 1NA.  This was a Gull that I hadn't seen since 2013!  Whereas, most I record in (Howth 2km away), there are always some who are never or rarely recorded there.

Great Black backed Gull 1NA (and its chick).

Great Black Backed Gull 1NA in September 2013

Saturday, 24 June 2017

June 2017 - 1st Med Ring

29th June 2017

Today at Howth, we were reading coloured rings on Large Gulls.  What a successful day!  5 Herring Gull and 9 Great Black Backed Gulls with Blue "Irelands Eye" rings.   1ES was ringed in 2010 and this was my first sighting despite 5 years or regular visits.  2AV was only the  2nd sighting and the first since 2014!
GBBGU 1ES - My first sighting since ringed in 2010

GBBGU 2AV - Only the 2nd sighting since ringed in 2009!

GBBGU 3JU - 6 sightings since ringed in 2015

GBBGU 1PH - Only the second sighting since ringed
In contrast I recorded 1UK, although the same age, there are 42 entries on the data base for that GBBGU which is more normal.

25 June 2017

Today at Bullock Harbour there were no Mediterranean Gulls recorded.  I did however spot a Great Black Backed Gull way out on the rocks.  Ringed on Irelands Eye, an Island off the Dublin Coast in 2012, I had seen it 20 times previously but not since May 2016!  Glad to see it is still around.

24 June 2017

First Med Gull ring of the Season. White E147.  This Belguim Mediterranean Gull was ringed in 2011 as an Adult.  Seen annually in Sandycove and surrounding Parks.  I have recorded it many times.  Great to see it back for another Winter.  I think it is the first time it has been recorded in Bray Co Wicklow.
Mediterranean Gull E147