Thursday, 23 May 2013

May 2013 - Migration is late!

May 2013

Migration is very late + Gulls at Bullock Harbour

May 31st - Late addition to May Blog.
At Howth Harbour for 10 minutes late in the evening.  Only read one Gull.  Blue [1MC].  This Gull was in Bullock Harbour in April 2013.  It is good to see individuals again especially in a different location.
Great Black Backed Gulls with Blue plastic ring and three digit code starting with 0,1 or 2 should be reported to
Great Black Backed Gull 1MC

Have tried to read the Oystercatcher rings at Sandymount without success.  I can clearly see their rings in the  flocks but mindful of disturbance I haven't got close enough to read them. They also have an annoying habit of standing on the leg that doesn't have the two digit code.  I will need to use a scope to read them.

Oystercatchers with rings
While looking at them I noticed some brent geese and then it struck me.  What are Brent still doing here in May?  Then what are the Oystercatchers still doing here and not at their breeding grounds? And the Godwits?  I would have expected them all to have gone by May.

With large gulls you expect juveniles such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd year Great Black Backed Gulls etc to still be around and they haven't disappointed.  So through out the month I kept a close eye on Bullock Harbour.  I still scan Sean Walsh Park every lunch time but since I saw 1NL  I have not even seen a metal ring!

So May 2013 looks like this

Great Black Backed   1JR Bullock Harbour 03/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1TN Bullock Harbour 03/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1JR Bullock Harbour 04/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1PA Bullock Harbour 06/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1JR Bullock Harbour 06/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1JR Bullock Harbour 11/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1TN Bullock Harbour 12/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1JJ Bullock Harbour 19/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1JR Bullock Harbour 25/05/2013
Great Black Backed   1TN Bullock Harbour 25/05/2013
Great Black Backed     1JJ Bullock Harbour 25/05/2013
Great Black Backed Gull + Blue Darvic 1JR
1JR will be two years old in the coming weeks!  Ringed on June 25th 2011.  Photo May 2013

Great Black Backed Gull + Blue Ring 1TN
Larus Marinus, Great Black-backed Gull + Blue Ring 1PA

Well, what does 8 trips in a month to Bullock Harbour tell me - not a lot.
  • 1JR, 1JJ and 1TN spent a lot of time in Bullock Harbour this month.
  • 1PA was only observed once.
  • In April 2013, I had not seen these birds at this location, although I had seen different GBBG with Darvics.  
  • The number and type of Gulls vary and at the beginning of the month there were less adult GBBG present.  
  • The percentage of adult GBBG increased throughout the month and the number of adult LBBG decreased.  In Sean Walsh Park inland, the inverse was noted.  The number of LBBG has increased and the number of GBBG has decreased.  
This is where reporting sightings is so important.  The observations of one birder by him/her self cannot give the complete picture.  If anyone else reported these birds you might discover the range covered. etc.  Where were they in April?   Where did the ones in April go to. was 1PA seen at Bullock by others.



Thursday, 9 May 2013

April 2013 - All blue rings.

April 2013 

All Blue rings!

Black Headed Gull ES45066
I thought that all the black headed gulls had gone, but on April 5th ES45066 turned up again.  It is common for Juveniles to leave later, so it wasn't a huge surprise.  Adult Plumage starting to come through.
Brent Goose 4CBB + Booterstown Marsh
The Brent geese were to remain all April.  This individual was photographed on April 7th at Booterstown Marsh.

Herring Gull - Blue Darvic - Blue[0CU]White
At Tallaght Community School, on April 14th, this Herring Gull from Irelands Eye was seen.  There is a daytime roost at that location.  It is good to get these sightings inland as it shows the extent of their range. It takes a while to get the reports and it will be interesting to see where this bird has been and if it is usually coastal.
Great Black Backed Gull Blue Darvic - Blue[2LH]White
We were heading to Bullock Harbour where my boys love seal watching etc. I spotted yet another Darvic Blue[2LH]White. Another one I hadn't seen before.  2 Darvic Rings in one day!

Great Black Backed Gull Blue[1MC]White
On the 21st I was coming home from Bray and Stopped at Bullock harbour.  1MC was showing well.
I was still doing my daily walks at Lunch time in Sean Walsh Park, but no rings were showing showing up or expected.
Great Black Backed Gull + Blue[1NL]White
Then on the 26th my scanning of the big gulls in Sean Walsh Park finally paid off.  I only got a quick shot from a long distance, but enough to clearly see the ring.  1NL.  I had seen this GBB in December 2012 at Bullock Harbour.  The GBB Gulls at Bullock Harbour, which I thought were exclusively Pelagic, can come 5-10KM inland!  My boys were taken to Sean Walsh Park on Saturday and Sunday and although there were 127 big gulls, (GBB, LBB and Herring), there was no sign of 1NL.

As April last year, was a month without a coloured ring sighting, April 2013 was a significant improvement!


Monday, 6 May 2013

March 2013 - Black Headed Gulls depart.

March 2013
Black Headed Gulls depart!

Black Headed Gull E5VA
In Sean Walsh Park Black Headed Gull E5VA failed to show up on three separate occasions that I went to Lake 3.  It was the 13th when this photograph was taken at lake 3.  I had never seen him progress to adult plumage before and it was now mid change.  On the 16th I spotted him on a lamppost near lake 1.  On the 19th or March the snow came yet again and in a field in Kiltipper, where I never had a single ring before, I spotted E5VA.  It was about 2Km from Sean Walsh Park and the first time I had spotted him outside the park.  Then it was gone.  Benny Middendorp reported to me that he first saw it on April 11th in Holland, followed quickly by Maarten van Kleinwee also spotting it. Now two things I find interesting.
While E5VA travelled from Zoetermeer to winter in Ireland. They had an Irish Black Headed Gull wintering there!  Orange Darvic so I assume Northern Irish.
White E5MY is its brother/sister. That bird chose Spain as its place to winter!  Who chose better?

Other Black Headed Gull news.

Swedish ring 6430814 was last seen on the 13th of March, The juvanile ES45066 from Norfolk last seen on the 14th.  white[NUT] who I hadnit seen since February 19th was still around and Sean Kingston had recorded it Roosting at Booterstown on the 4th of March.

Brent Geese.
On March 6th I took a day off work and helped out at a Brent Geese ringing day.  Not alot to report other that I enjoyed it and will do it again.

Me with 66RR

Brent 34RR
The English cannon netters label the geese differently!  They would call this RR34!  Very confusing.


Saturday, 4 May 2013

February 2013 - More Brent Geese and other rings.

February 2013
More Brent Geese and other things.

February 2013 started with nice Great Black Backed Gull complete with Darvic at Bullock Harbour.
Great Black Backed Gull Blue[1MN] White. 03/02/2013
I've started labelling my darvics what appears to be best practice internationally.  As there are now so many projects ongoing, they are being very specific in the description of the ring and it appears CR Ringing is trying to introduce guidelines.  New schemes all seem to be four alpha numeric codes.  For Black Headed Gulls, each country appears to have a unique feature - Norway begin with J, Holland E.  Ireland it suggests all should begin with a 2.  So the Black Headed Gull 217G complies with these guidelines.  Older schemes can continue until they have run out of combinations.  Some new schemes are using different coloured letters. .  So [Colour][Code][Font colour]. = Blue[1MN]White.  Some schemes have introduced Colons : between letters. Yellow[T:015]Black is a Scottish gull.  All very confusing, but worth remembering to record Font Colour as well as ring colour.

3SBB - Brent Goose, Blackrock Park, Co Dublin
I started reporting Brent last month and continued on in February.  I assumed that they would be heavily reported, but I was the first person to report 3SBB this winter.
JBWR - Brent Goose, St Olafs GAA, Dublin
Linnet with coloured ring
I got very excited when I noticed a linnet with a coloured ring in my garden.  This was the 3rd false alarm this winter as it turned out to be a closed ring and identifies the bird as an escapee.  I had a Goldfinch with a blue closed ring and a Redpol with a plain red ring already.
Sandymount Roost.16th February 2013
I did try Sandymount Strand several evenings where thousands of gulls roost - as well as thousands of other types of birds, but no coloured rings and no Darvic rings seen.
TAWR - Brent Goose, Portmarnock
UBRY - Brent Goose, Portmarnock
I recorded 9 Brent in February.  Trying to get a photo of both rings at the same time, meant I ended up with a hundred + photos at the end of each trip.  They are delighted to get every single Brent report, but as you report more they request that it is submitted in an exact format, so they can upload them without having to retype everything.  This included trying to find the exact site code from the 1000+ sites the Brent are known to use.
DBSFNO is the code for Sandyford/Naomh Olaf GAA Pitches.  This is because part of the Brent study is how site faithful these birds are.
 I was also given my Brent reporting name! GPR.
I have received a notice of a Brent Capture and Ringing week with a request for volunteers.  Booked a day of work and looking forward to it!


Friday, 3 May 2013

February 2013 - Danish, Dutch and Norwegian Darvic rings

February 2012

Lots of Rings

Busy month, so busy I am writing up February as first, Sean Walsh Park and then other coloured rings!  The month started with Black Headed Gull E5VA - as always and still at Lake 3. It stayed quite until the 18th with Swedish 6430814 being the only other ring read in the park.  There was a metal ring at lake 1, but getting a gull to land so I can read it isn't always straight forward.
BHG E5VA ever present

 On the 18th of February White [NUT] turned up.  Last year he arrived on January 21st, stayed around for a month.  My theory is that he winters further west and stops off at Sean Walsh Park for a month on the way back to Denmark.  If I am correct then he's a month late.  (He/She - not sure)
NUT shows off his darvic ring!
The amount of Common Gulls increases in the Park at this time.  The 19th, saw JEJ6 present itself on the rocks of Lake 4.  On the 27th it stood on the sculpture of the Hippo at Lake 5 and allowed me take photos from 6m away or near enough to get full reading on its metal ring! Oh ringed in 2009, mine yet again was the first sighting since it was ringed!
JEJ6 - First Darvic ob Common Gull
February 28th saw me record ES45066 at lake 1. He brakes the norm as he has been seen at both Lake 1 and lake 3. Oh, he is a Juvenile ringed by R J Gribble as nestling,on 12-Jun-2012 at Pockthorpe, Norfolk, UK.

  So February 2012, 3 Darvic Rings in the Park and 2 metal rings. Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and English!  More importantly 3 of the 5 were definitely here last year and one wasn't even hatched!

Thursday, 2 May 2013

January 2013 - My first Brent geese + a Godwit

January 2013

My first Brent Goose ring report, and why!

January Started with a constant look out for yellow 217G, the Lough Mask Darvic, that had turned up after Christmas.  Only one metal ring in all of Tymon Park on a Black Headed Gull EW53681, but I had read and reported the ring previously.  Although I always report, all I would get back is an identical report as the first time.
Black Headed Gull, Lough Mask Ring EW53681
Sean Walsh Park is always more successful, with EV5A being seen on maybe 50% of the trips around lake 3.  I try to do all 5 lakes each week
Black Headed Gull E5VA, January 2013
There were thousands of Gulls everywhere around but no coloured rings.  On January 4th, I was on the coast and stopped in Bullock Harbour.  There wasn't much around.  I photograped a Herring Gull GC96386, it turned out to be another Ireland Eye bird ringed by Chris Honan.  The ring was the right way up!
Herring Gull GC96386 1CY

Godwit with coloured rings
Click on the photo to enlarge it!
On a club trip (South Dublin Branch of Birdwatch Ireland) I photographed a Godwit with Coloured Rings, which turned out to be the same one I saw in December.  It was accidental!  I had been playing the Godwit Game with my boys - Photographs of flocks of Roosting Godwits and you have to find the coloured rings!  (google it!)  So I was photographing the flocks to keep my 5 & 6 year old boys occupied. I didn't realise I had got one shot with coloured rings.!

There was still so little around. I tried different parks occassionally without any luck. The Swedish Gull 6430814 which had gone 'missing' from the park came back. The Swedish give a full life history report the same as you expect from a Darvic ring report.  Extract below to show what it looks like.

Age: Nestling
Date: 2010-06-06
Coordinates: 55º 31´N 13º 07´E
Date: 2013-01-14 Time passed: 2 years 223 days
Coordinates: 53º 17´N 06º 22´W [1281 km / 267° W]
Finding details: "Haven´t seen this individual since 21.11.2012! Location checked twice weekly."
Species: Black-headed Gull

Also observed: 2013-01-17, 2013-01-30, 2013-02-25, 2013-03-11

Ring: 6430814 2013-03-21
2012-01-17 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 0674 .01]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-01-30 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 0674 .02]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-02-02 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 0674 .03]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-02-14 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 0674 .04]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-02-17 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 0674 .05]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-11-14 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 2387 .01]
" ... this is the second gull to return this winter ... (A Dutch Black headed gull, E5VA left in march and
came back in October.)"
2012-11-15 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 2387 .02]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
2012-11-20 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2012 / 2387 .03]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
* 2013-01-14 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2013 / 0172 .01]
"Haven´t seen this individual since 21.11.2012! Location checked twice weekly."
* 2013-01-17 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2013 / 0172 .02]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.
* 2013-01-30 53º 17´N 06º 22´W IRELAND, DUBLIN, TALLAGHT, SEAN WALSH PARK [1281 km / 267°] [2013 / 0172 .03]
Controlled - ring-number read in the field.

However, since 6430814 was ringed in 2010, I have been the only person to read and report it!

Brent Goose BBBB
On the 20th of January while out scanning Godwits I noticed the Brent were carrying coloured rings. Although I read some of them, I made an error on day one by not recording which ring was which leg!  I read up on how to record the rings and went back the following week end but made only one successful reading. (long grass and the Brent have short legs).  It was a start, the feed back from the co-ordinator of the project was positive, and there was little else around.  I would try again

Gulls in Tymon Park
By watching geese I wasn't neglecting scanning flocks of gulls.  This photograph was taked in Tymon Park on the 26th of January.  460 Black Headed Gulls in the park and only 1 I noted had a metal ring.  I also failed to read it.

Ring reading is frustrating, especially when there are none to read!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

December 18th - First Lough Mask Darvic ring.

December 18th to 31st

First Lough Mask Darvic Ring!

E5VA was still present in Sean Walsh Park and reported on the 21st 23rd and 24th.  Always at lake 3 and I check lakes 1,2,3,4 & 5 every week.  Always good numbers of black headed gulls at every lake.  Likewise the Swedish BHG  6430814 is always at lake 5
Black Headed Gull E5VA.

Black Headed Gull Yellow[217G]Black
On December 29th, a late Christmas present was my first Lough Mask Yellow Darvic Ring.  At Tallaght Community School in Tymon Park there is a day time roost site.  There, a long way from the road was a yellow ring.  "Black-headed Gull 217G - this individual was colour-ringed as a chick at Lough Mask, Co. Mayo on 02/06/2009 and this is its first resighting since that date".  Another first re-sighting, this time 3 and a half years after ringing.  I saw 217G the next day as I tried to work out where it was feeding.

What makes this also interesting is, I had assumed this roost at Tallaght Community School was used by the Tymon Park Gulls as it is only 400m from the lake.  But I checked the Tymon flock at 'feeding time' every afternoon (during my Christmas Holidays) , 400 Black Headed Gulls but no 217G Darvic.  The numbers in the roost was unaffected by feeding frenzy just down the road.
Tymon Park - Feeding Time

My first year reading rings came to an end.  My initial enthusiasm still there but many, many uneventful days gull watching.  Thousands of Photos of Gull Legs trying to get complete metal ring readings.

Coloured Ring Reported = 51  (18 different Individuals)
Metal Rings Reported = 27  (11 different individuals)

Not bad for my first year.

December 2012 - Sanderlings with coloured rings!

December 18th 2012

Sanderlings with coloured rings!

On the 18th I got the tides wrong and my trip to Merrion Gates coincided with a very high tide, so couldn't get to the gulls.  The day wasn't wasted as I photographed three coloured ringed sanderlings

Sanderling + G2WGGW

Sanderling + G1WWYG

Sanderling + G2RWGR
Their coding is different to anything I had read before.  You need to look up the following website . The code starts with the colour and location of the Flag.  In the photo above it is Green, Location 2 Left leg above the knee, Then left leg top down Red, White.  Then right leg top down Green Red.  G2RWGR.  If you find this too much, send them a photo!
All three were ringed in Iceland in 2011 and have been well reported by some very diligent Irish birders.