Monday, 2 December 2013

December 2013 - Another new Darvic and a Caspian Gull!

December 30th

Ballymount Park, Dublin 24 at lunch time today and 18 Mute Swans were out of the water so I got to check for rings.  Only one with a ring and again a old style ring with a code that was unfamiliar to me.  Again, I hope it will be an interesting report when it arrives from the BTO.

Mute Swan ring in Ballymount Park

December 29th

Bray Harbour is not somewhere I look for coloured rings as it is well watched by others, but today I was reading Swan Rings.  There were also two Black Headed Gulls with Darvic rings. J0J2 from Norway and Black [P615] White.  It was my first time seeing P615 although it is on loads of different websites - but it is my first Black Headed Gull from Lithuania.  Ringed By Frank Majoor in 2008 as an Adult bird.
Larus Ridibundus K[P615]W from Lithuania

Black Headed Gull from Norway

Eight of the Mute Swan Metal Rings read today were new to me, including the following ring.  Its number is not in a sequence I've seen before.  Hopefully it will be something exciting!
Mute Swan ring upside down!

I moved down the coast to Bullock Harbour where there were no coloured rings at all, so moved on to the Forty Foot where the Mediterranean Gulls gather.  Four with coloured ring,  including this juvenile with a ring that I hadn't seen before.
Mediterranean Gull Y[2X1J]K.  Yellow Darvic ring
I carried on to Blackrock Park where 20 Brent were grazing - no rings.  I did read the Mute swan.  I think that brings me up to 35 individuals or 16% of all Mute Swans ringed in Dublin and Wicklow!

December 26th

While out on a St Stephens day walk in Corkagh Park, Dublin 22, with my son, I spotted a Mute Swan begging for bread off some children.  Photographed the ring - another to add to my growing data base!  My son was more excited by spotting a Barnacle Goose - Locally rare.

December 23rd

Happy Christmas to me!  An early present landed in Sean Walsh Park today.  It was a Juvenile Herring Gull 0MA.  It was ringed on 07/07/2013 by me!  I have only ever placed the ring on six birds and one travels 25km to my local Park which is 11Km inland.  It is also the first Herring Gull with a coloured ring I've seen in the Park.  I had seen it at Howth Harbour on November 21st 2013, if only it had a Santa hat on, the day would have been perfect!
Herring Gull in Sean Walsh Memorial Park, Dublin 24

December 21st

Howth Harbour was today's destination with the aim of assisting in the banding of adult Great Black Backed Gulls.  No success.  However, I did some ring reading with remarkable results.  I have read almost 60 individuals from Ireland's Eye and today, 12 rings read and 3 were new to me.

Best of the day was a Juvenile Herring Gull 0LH.  This bird was ringed by me (under supervision) in July 2013 and today was my first re-sighting.

Herring Gull 0LH, Ringed July 2013, Ireland's Eye.

The next interesting record was 1VR.  I recorded this individual on the Royal College of Surgeons in Sandyford Industrial Estate in October, 15Km away and 4 Km from the coast.

Great Black Backed Gull.  Blue[1VR]White
I also recorded an Adult 2LE which is a first sighting for me.  Ringed in 2009?  No decent photo. 1VS was also new to me

I spent some time trying to read a metal ring on a Larus Argentenus 'Omissus' type (Herring Gull with yellow legs) without success.  There were two present today, one sporting a ring.  The legs don't look as yellow in the photo!

December 20th

At the Med Fest in Dun Laoghaire on the 9th of November I read the ring of another Black Headed Gull from Finland.  Again a letter arrived in the post.  This Black Headed Gull was ringed as an adult in 2009 in TURKU, TURKU - PORI, FINLAND.  Again if your Finish Geography isn't great, that's 150km west of Helsinki! Again this was the first re-sighting!

December 19th

It has been a normal week in Sean Walsh Park with the Black Headed Gulls E5VA, 27H0 and the new gull 4ET were all showing well.

Sean Walsh Park and Black Headed Gull E5VA
I got a few ring reports back.  Finland replied by letter in the post!  I checked that I had included my email address, which I had.  The Black Headed Gull in Tymon Park was ringed as a Young bind in Lohja, Uusimaa, Finland in 2009.  Mine was the first re-sighting of this metal ringed bird.  For those whose Finish Geography isn't great, that's very close to Helsinki.

December 15th

Malahide Estuary this afternoon was busy with kids feeding bread to Swans and Ducks.  No coloured rings seen so I read 10 Mute Swan metal rings.  Three of these rings were new to me.  I have shown photos of the other two types of swan Metal rings.  This is the third type.  Any ZZ rings I have read before have been 2007.
Mute Swan Ring.  Probably ringed 2007.  Awaiting report
I went on to Howth Harbour where the weather turned wet and horrible.  Only two coloured rings read, both local from Irelands Eye.  Herring Gull 2KU is now in adult winter plumage with that dirty head look.

December 12th

This week in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght has had no surprises.  Black Headed Gulls 27H0, E5VA and the Swedish Metal Ring 6430814  have been ever present.
Black Headed Gull 27H0 from Gloustershire, still being recorded every week.
I also spend a lot of time looking at the different Gulls and their stages.  There can be a difference between different Juveniles of the same species.  This is what I believe is a 3cy Herring Gull.  But it's head is paler and eye darker than the other Herring Gulls at this stage.

Niall T Keogh has since pointed me in the right direction, it looked very like a Yellow-legged Gull (michahellis) - 2nd winter.  Further identification has lead to the consensus that it is a 2nd Winter Caspian Gull!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If accepted by the IRBC, it would be the 13th Irish Record.
Caspian Gull - 2nd CY

December 8th

Went to Howth Harbour today.  I had hoped that the strong winds would have blown down a gull from the Isle of Man, but no Isle of Man rings today.  Six Great Black Backed Gulls with Ireland's Eye blue Darvic Rings.  Again I got one that was new to me.  I also recorded an Ireland's Eye Herring Gull that was also new to me.  Ireland's Eye, for those not local is an Island visible from Howth Harbour.
Larus Argentatus, Herring Gull. 1st Winter
Larus Marinus, Great Black Backed Gull.  Ringed 2010

Larus Marinus, Great Black Backed Gull. Ringed 2013

December 7th

In the afternoon I stopped at Tymon Park, at the west end of the Park.  Over 1,000 Black Headed Gulls.  I hadn't seen a Darvic in this part for nearly 2 years, but spotted a white ring.  Difficult to read in the long grass.  Eventually, I read the ring and it was the Danish Gull 4ET.  I had seen it this week in Sean Walsh Park.  This is the first cross over between the two parks 1KM apart.

In the morning I went to Tymon Park, Spa Well playground with my 2 boys.  When we were leaving I spotted a metal ring.  I photographed it and to my surprise it was my first Black Headed Gull from Belguim.  Bruxelles clearly visible on the ring. POST SCRIPT.  Ringed in Antwerp in 2012. 25.02.2014.

December 6th

Yesterday, was same park, same time and not even a metal ring.  Today, no metal rings but the new Black Headed Gull 4ET was present, as was the usual Dutch Black Headed Gull E5VA.

December 4th

Every lunch time I have to choose between Sean Walsh Park and any of the other surrounding parks.  I nearly always go to Sean Walsh Park, knowing the day I go elsewhere will be the day I miss something. Today I was reading metal rings, failed to completely read a Swedish Ring, then failed to completely read two Danish Metal Rings, (1 Juvenile + 1 Adult) Then a Dutch Black Headed Gull with Darvic Ring E5VA appeared briefly.  Then, a new Darvic on a Black Headed Gull! The Gull was gone in 60 seconds. Here's a photo from today in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, Dublin.  The rings on this Black Headed Gull are from Denmark.

December 2nd

Sean Walsh Memorial Park in Tallaght, Dublin 24 again at lunch time today.  No big surprises.  The Dutch Black Headed Gull E5VA and the Black Headed Gull from Gloucestershire 27H0 were present.  No metal rings observed or recorded today.  There are now three Common Gull in the Park.  None with rings yet.

E5VA seemed to be darker on the head today than last month.  Odd.  Summer Plumage doesn't start to appear till Feb.  It may be the final moulting has given this appearance, or just a trick of the light

E5VA appears to be getting a darker winter head pattern.  Maybe just an illusion of the light.

E5VA last month 11.11.13.     Less black on head than today

Saturday, 2 November 2013

November 2013 - New Darvic in my Park

November 30th

At Bullock Harbour this morning there was a large flock of Greater Black Backed, Herring and Black Headed Gulls, but only 1 Darvic ring on a Juvenile Great Black Backed Gull from Ireland's eye.  
At Dun Laoghaire East Pier, there was a large flock of Black Headed Gulls with Mediterranean Gulls mixed in.  Only one yellow Darvic Ring on a med gull, but it was one I had not recorded previously.  
At he West Pier there were only two Gulls, but one sported a Blue Darvic!  50% ringed!  It was a Great Black Backed Juvenile I have seen before at Bullock Harbour, three miles down the road.
Great Black Backed Gull at Dun Laoghaire West Pier

November 29th

Sean Walsh again today and both Black Headed Gulls E5VA and 27H0 were present.  Also recorded today was a Black Headed Gull from Norfolk in the UK who has been recorded in the Park 11 time in the past 15 months.
Black Headed Gull from Pockthorpe, Norfolk, UK

November 28th

A quiet week for ring reading with a work course taking me away from Sean Walsh Park.  However E5VA was there on the 25th and today sitting on a lamp post was 27H0.
BLack Headed Gull 27H0 preening.

November 24th

Quick trip to Bullock Harbour where there were very few Gulls.  One Great Black Backed with a Blue Darvic from Irelands Eye, but it was one that I often see.  Stopped at the Forty Foot.  There were a few Mediterranean Gulls, but no coloured rings.

November 23rd

At Dublin Zoo today with my boys I noticed a Swan sitting on the Grass with a Metal Ring that looked like one of R Collins's. I'm getting to know the them.   Also read the ring of it's partner.  There was a Heron with a metal ring just out of camera range.  Its ring number started with 129 so probably one of B Kavanaghs!

Below are two different types of BTO Swan rings. So easily distinguished.
Swan with Ring. Probably by R Collins
Swan with Ring.  Probably by Oscar Merne

In the afternoon I went to the Grand Canal in Dublin.  Over 350 Black Headed Gulls, but not even a metal Ring to read! Read a Swan Ring as it was there.   Stopped in Tymon Park where 500+ Black headed gulls were being fed.  Again not even a metal ring!

November 22nd

Today there was a Brent Geese Catch on in Partmarnock.  Alot of waiting is often involved in catching birds.
I walked up the road where some Herring Gulls were roosting on the roof of St Anne's Church and observed an adult Herring Gull, 0JN that I had not seen before.  I also went down to Howth where I read two more adult Herring Gulls that were also firsts for me.  There were also some Great Black Backed Gulls that I had seen yesterday.  Of the 6 Irelands Eye Darvic Rings today, 3 were new to me!  As I have recorded over 60 individuals from Irelands Eye, it still surprises me how many new birds I observe.

Herring Gull Adult at Howth

1st Winter Great Black Backed Gull at Howth
Not many Geese caught but two Black Headed Gulls were accidentally caught, so it was interesting to handle them as they were ringed.  Also two rooks were ringed
Two newly ringed rooks - not talking to each other!

November 21st

A full days ring reading at Howth, Malahide Estuary and Bull Island - all in North County Dublin. Bird of the day was a Juvenile Herring Gull.  Under supervision, I had ringed it myself during the Summer.  It was my first re-sighting since that day.
Herring Gull Blue[0MA] - mid poop!

I also caught the Offal Lorry in Howth!  Those of you who go abroad to visit rubbish tips can possibly understand my excitement.  The lorry takes away the waste from a number of fish factories every week and also attracts many 100's if not 1000's of Gulls in the off chance of a free meal.  A 'Yellow Legged Gull' stood out from the crowd.  Many thanks to Niall T Keogh, who has advised that it is a Herring Gull of the Omissus variety from the Baltic / Scandinavian region.

There were 10 Great Black Backed Gulls with Blue Darvics from Ireland's Eye, an island visible from Howth.  Most were were ones I'd recorded before although 1 was new to me.

Brent Geese at Bull Island.

As I passed Bull Island there were vast amount of Brent Geese in.  Very few out of the water, but this pair allowed me to read their rings.  

On November 12th, I had written that there is always one late in moulting.  In fact there are at least 2!

November 19th

I received the report from Stockholm on the Black Headed Gull metal ring I read at Bullock Harbour on Sunday.  I'm not sure what is more surprising, only two days to get the report or that it has a history!
It was ringed in 2005 and has been reported at the same location in Bullock Harbour on two previous occasions in February and December 2012.

Today in Sean Walsh Memorial Park the Dutch Black Headed Gull - E5VA as well as the Swedish Black Headed Gull 6430814 were present.  From the high of the new Darvic yesterday, it was back to normal.

November 18th

Always a great day when I see a new Black Headed Gull in Sean Walsh Memorial Park with a Darvic ring!  Today a Yellow Darvic ring from, I assume Lough Mask turned up.  Never seen it in the two years of scanning the park flocks daily, but I've heard it roosts Sandymount / Booterstown.
Post Script - Ringed in 2007 in Galway - Thank you to Eoin McGreal for a quick reply.

The metal ring was also upside down, so it's not just an English thing!

November 17th

Bullock Harbour was quiet. There were 4 Blue Darvic Rings from Irelands Eye, all previously seen by me. However, 1 was noteworthy. Great Black Backed Gull Blue[1RK]. It is noteworthy as I saw it yesterday in Howth Harbour! About 10Km as the gull flies! I also finally read the full code of the Metal Ring on the Swedish Black Headed Gull that has been around since July.  More when I get the report.
GBBGU 1RK at Bullock Harbour.

I also stopped at the Forty Foot in Sandycove to scan the Mediterranean Gulls.  Only one coloured ring. On the way home I stopped in Sandyford, at the Royal College of Surgeons building, where Gulls roost on the Roof. An Adult Lesser Black Backed Gull, which should have migrated by now, was observed.  Also Herring Gull 0JH.  I have observed 0JH at Bray Harbour and at Bullock Harbour, but never so far away from the coast.
Aduld Lesser Black Backed Gull in mid November

Herring Gull Blue[0JH]

November 16th

Early morning trip to Howth Harbour.  Nothing particularly unusual.  Six Blue Darvic Rings from Irelands Eye recorded. (Five Great Black Backed Gulls and one Herring Gull).  No rings recorded at Malahide Estuary or in Tymon Park, although the numbers of Black Headed Gulls continues to increase.
GBBGU 1RK at Howth Harbour

November 12th

A quiet few days with just  the usual suspects around - the black headed gulls that I expect to overwinter in Sean Walsh Park.  All but one UK BLHGU has moved on it seemed.

Then today, there's always one who's late, a Black Headed Gull in only the early stages of moult arrived.  It also had a ring - UK I think as it's on upside down, but I didn't read it all.  Something to do tomorrow
November 12th and only starting its moult!
BTO also sent me 11 ring reports so more on the reports soon, including a Grey Heron.

November 9th.  Med Fest!

The Med Fest this morning at Dun Laoghaire! An event to raise awareness and answer questions by the public on Irish Sea Birds and especially the Mediterranean Gull.  Not many Coloured Ringed Med Gulls about, but did read a Finish Metal Ring on a Black Headed Gull.
Black Headed Gull from Finland

Moved on to Bullock Harbour where there were two Irelands Eye Blue Darvic rings on Great Black Backed Gull Juveniles. Yet again one was new to me!

November 7th

For those of you who twitch or list, it is always a good feeling when you see something you were hoping for.  On Monday and observed again on Tuesday, another Black Headed Gull returned to Sean Walsh Park for the the 3rd winter in a row.  It is the 21st time I have read and photographed its ring so a pattern is emerging.  Last year it was first observed on the 14th of Nov 2012, so it too is earlier this year.  The Swedish rings are so nice to read.  This bird was ringed as a nestling in 2010.
 E5VA has been recorded on the 5th, 6th and 7th so back to daily sightings.

November 5th - E5VA is back

The black headed Gull E5VA is back in Sean Walsh Park after an 8 week absence.  I only wrote on Monday that I hope it reappears!  Last year it didn't arrive until October 22nd, so the early sightings in July, August, September were a bonus!  Hopefully this bird will remain a regular each lunch time.

November 4th

Today, I started at Malahide Estuary.  The tide was too high for great ring watching (They roost in the long grass, at low tide they are on the mud flats), but the Black Headed Gull from France was the best of the day.
I read a few Mute Swan Rings while standing around.
Black Headed Gull with Ring from France.
I moved on to Howth Harbour.  It was interesting to see it on a working day.  While the fishermen were checking nets for holes, there were up to a hundred Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls checking for fish.
Howth harbour.
There were 9 rings recorded and photographed , all from Irelands Eye (Local). 1 Herring Gull (2009) and 8 Great Black Backed Gulls, all 1st & 2nd year.  Of the 8,  3 were new to me!  I've recorded over 50 individuals and I am still getting Darvics I haven't seen before!

November 2nd

Bullock Harbour was wind swept and raining, but it kept most people and dog walkers away from the Gulls. I read 9 Darvic rings. The re-sighting of a Scottish Ringed Great Black Backed Gull was the best of the day.
Great Black Backed Gull + Scotland
Amid the Great Black Backed Gulls, with blue Darvic rings from Irelands Eye, was one I hadn't seen before. But a friend later told me he'd seen it on Booterstown Strand last year so it won't be another first.
Great Black Backed Gull

November 1st

Sean Walsh Park is still done most days and although the Black Headed Gull from Gloucester (27H0) is seen most days, no sign of E5VA.  Hope it re appears.

In the afternoon I read a Finish Metal ring in Tymon Park, Tallaght.  Awaiting report.