Thursday, 4 December 2014

December 2014 - Isle of Man Ring

December 31st

2014 has come to an end and I must sit down and look at how my year of ring reading has gone, but instead I went to Broadmeadows and read some Mute Swan Rings and then onto Howth where I finished my years ring reading with 5 Great Black Backed rings.
Great Black Backed Gull - 2nd Winter

Great Black Backed Gull 3AK was ringed in June 2013.  This was the first time I have recorded it! I know it spent last Christmas at Ballycotton in Cork.  Sean saw it back in April at Bullock Harbour but another new to me.

Great Black Backed Gull - 3rd winter

Great Black Backed Gull 1MC according to my notes is from the nest of 2012. That would make it a 3rd winter, although it looks well advanced in the moult for 3rd winter!

December 30th 

What a difference a day makes.
My plan was to look for my possible Larus smithsonianus, last seen on the 21st by going along the South coast.
Bulloch Harbour and today there were 6 med gulls and 1 coloured ringed from Germany, Sandycove there was a Black Headed Gull with a Yellow Darvic.  I started reading a metal and realised it was the same Metal Finland Ring as December 27th and moved on.

At the base of the East Pier another Med with a Darvic and then my bird of the day, a Juvenile Herring Gull from the Isle of Man.  It took a while to read it T4VV.  Excellent morning.  I will try again for my unidentified big gull, but it looks like it may have moved on.

December 28th

Where have all the coloured ringed Gulls gone!  Oh well gave up and went off to read waders.  The first time I scanned Booterstown Nature Reserve there was a Coloured Ringed Black tailed Godwit!  But it was standing on one leg - typical.  Yellow over off white, but that is only half the code!

So I went off and read an Oystercatcher and a Brent Goose and came back.  The bird was now over the far side of the Marsh.  But Camera out again.

Yellow over Lime Green/Lime Green over white with X.

30/12/2014.  I have already had confirmation that it was ringed in Iceland, just awaiting a report.

December 27th

No rings at Bray harbour, at Bulloch Harbour only the Herring Gull 0JH was present.  No coloured rings at Dun Laoghaire, although there were a few Med Gulls.  So I chose a black Headed Gull and set about reading its metal ring.  ST283.477.  It turns out I read this one before.

I am fast running out of metal rings that I haven't read before, I last saw this Black Headed Gull from Pori, Finland in November 2013 about 500m further down the coast!

December 22nd

Sean Walsh park was full of Gulls but apart from the Black Headed Gull 27H0 no other rings recorded.  The Caspian Gull was quite tollerent of Black Headed Gulls and Juvenile Herring Gulls but really aggressive towards the adult Herring Gulls.  Interesting to watch.
Caspian Gull in Tallaght

December 21st

No Coloured Rings at Bray, No Coloured Rings at Bulloch Harbour and no coloured rings among the 1,000 gulls at the base of the East Pier.  Oh well, I sat and read a metal on a med!  It turns out I've read this Belgium ring before! (See January 2014)
Mediterranean Gull with Metal ring.

Still trying to work out this gull!
ID attempt
It is a very big gull but it has black primaries with white tips so I can rule out Glaucous.
So it is a large white headed Gull.  If fact it is very large compared to the Herring Gull in front of it but male & female Herring Gulls differ considerably in size.  It could well be just a male.
It has a few brown feathers which shows it is not quite Adult yet which doesn't help.
The streaking on head and breast is heavy and darker and extends further than the Herring Gulls.

If was to use "Collins" I would go for American Herring Gull, if I was to use Olsen I would go for a Vega Gull!  I have asked a couple of people who know more than me, but without a flight photograph all I am likely to get is an opinion as opposed to a definitive answer.  It may very well be an odd looking Herring Gull

December 18th

What a week for recovery reports.  I got a 6 reports from Denmark.  A big thank you to Kjeld Tommy Pedersen. I also got post from Belguim (Belguim still replies by mail with a stamp) and two BTO Reports.

On August 24th I reported to the BTO a new Mute Swan in Bray Harbour - W21626. The report shows it was ringed in Arklow in 2006 by  Oscar Merne. The BTO classification for Mute Swans, is that recoveries over 40km are interesting.  Arklow is 45Km away so this is only my second interesting Mute Swan recovery!  I've now reported 50 individual mute Swans. (Broadlough in Wicklow to Swords Dublin is my only other "interesting recovery" at 53km)

December 16th

Lunch at Sean Walsh Park.  Black Headed Gull E5VA which turned up yesterday after 6 weeks followed me around today. First at lake 3, then 4 and even at lake 5 it was there!  Black Headed Gull 27H0 from England was present as always.  Just as I was leaving I saw another Darvic.  Black Headed Gull White[NUT] from Denmark was ringed in 2005 making it one of the older Gulls. Although I saw it first in the Park in  January, February March 2012.  I saw it February + March 2013.  It didn't show in 2014 until now.  I know it has been in Dublin as Sean has sighted it roosting at Sandymount Strand.  But back in Sean Walsh today!

December 15th

Lunch time at Sean Walsh Park and three rings on Black Headed Gulls.  27H0 from England, 6430814 from Sweden and EV5A showed up from Holland.  The Black Headed Gull E5VA has been missing since November 5th, so great to see this bird that I have been watching since a Juvenile in 2012.

Black Headed Gull E5VA from Holland

Black Headed Gull 27H0 from England

December 14th

While driving Past Tallaght Community School, I noticed a yellow Darvic.  I stopped and photographed Black Headed Gull Yellow[217G]K.  I have never seen this individual in any of the local parks but this is the 8th or 9th time over 3 years it has been seen on the all weather pitch.  I have written about this individual before, but it is from Lough Mask and one of a rapidly decreasing Irish breeding population.  The vast majority of the other Gulls are foreign wintering Gulls.

Black Headed Gull with Yellow Darvic 217G

December 13th

A frosty morning in Bray looking for Coloured Ringed Black Headed Gulls.  None seen.  The Herring Gull from Scotland was present - 3rd week in a row.

December 12th

The Black Headed Gull from Denmark White[4ET] continues to be an anomaly by today turning up in Sean Walsh Park.  It is the only duel park bird I know also turning up in Tymon Park a kilometer away.  Last seen 29th November in Tymon Park.  It did the same trick last year.  The Black Headed Gull in breeding Plumage (- almost) was present and I got an additional 2 digits but it is very shy and doesn't come to bread!  Last year I had a late molting Black Headed gull with a badly worn ring upside down and all I got was *3602***.  This would make it 3602*397.  I would love to get the country

I now have **02*397! 

December 9th

At lunch today in Sean Walsh Park, Black Headed Gulls 6430814 from Sweden, 27H0 from England were present (as always). 6J-4103 from Denmark had it's full code read for the first time this winter.  It may have been in the park up to now but metals are always tricky to read.  However, the Black Headed Gull in (almost) full breeding Plumage was hungry enough to come within 8 meters and I tried to read it's ring.  I quickly discovered it was upside down and reverted to Camera.  I only got 3 digits 397, and no scheme, but it stands out from the crowd.

December 8th

Caspian Gull showing well today in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght.

3rd winter Caspian.  Sorry photo is so dark!

Caspian Gull

December 7th

The north Side of Broadmeadows Estuary appeared to be closed this morning but at first light the Mute Swans were out near the kennels.  I read the four with rings but the gulls weren't coming in so I moved towards Howth.  There were Brent on the shore at Malahide but only one with rings.
Brent SURY (Right leg letter, Left Leg letter, Right leg Colour, Left leg Colour)

I continued on towards Howth, not expecting much.  As I was passing Portmarnock I remembered that in November 2013 I had seen a Herring Gull on the roof of the Church.  I pulled into the carpark and there it was again!  Same roof 13 months later!

Herring Gull 0JN 

Howth did produce 3 Coloured ringed Great Black Backed Gulls, one Coloured Ringed Herring Gull and I read a metal ring on a Herring Gull, but no foreign Gulls

Herring Gull 0LJ at Howth

But on the way home I spotted a Black Headed Gull with a Darvic on teh foot path in Clontarf.  I stopped and got my camera and walked back.  It was still there.  It flew onto a nearby garage but I got the full code.  It was from Poland!  Saved be best till last.

The Polish Black Headed Gull at Clontarf

Polish Black Headed Gull on Petrol Station!

December 6th

I went to Bray Harbour at first light to see if the Black Headed Gull I saw last week VY42 was present and to get a record photograph.  It wasn't there!  The Scottish Herring Gull was still there.  It looks like it has gone this far south and is staying.  It will be interesting to see if it stays around for winter.

December 4th

For a change I went to Tymon Park, Spa Well entrance, to see what was around.  Plenty of Black Headed Gulls, about 80, but no coloured rings.  I did spot a metal and set about photographing it.

Eventually after 100 frames and throwing bread left and right to photograph the ring from all sides. The sun kept coming out the camera exposures were all over the place but I got the full code.  As I entered it into my own data base, predictive text showed it wasn't the first time I'd seen it.! I saw it on December 7th 2013 at the exact same location! Great to get repeat sightings

Saturday, 1 November 2014

November 2014 - Caspian Returns again!

November 30th

Bray Harbour this morning and as I arrived there was a White Darvic on a Black Headed Gull. VY42.  V is the prefix for a four digit Black Headed Gull from Denmark.  Denmark again!  I am surprised they still colour ring as they do not have sufficient resources to reply to CR sightings.   Anyway, a dog put everything up and I spent 2 hours waiting for it to come off the water but with no luck.  However, while waiting I saw a bright Orange ring on a Herring Gull and I thought it was another from the Isle of Man. However it turns out to be from Scotland.  I await the report.  I sent off the Danish Darvic sightings but do not expect reports.

Herring Gull with Scottish Darvic

November 29th PM

This week seems to have been all Denmark Black Headed Gulls.  I have a number of partial metal readings from Sean Walsh Park all from Denmark, this morning it was a Colour Ring and this afternoon in St Annes Park (near the Bull Island), there were Black Headed Gulls competing with Ducks for bread.  I noticed a dull looking ring on  Juvenile so set about photographing it, another Denmark but this time a full reading. 6279105!

November 29th

This morning in Tymon Park, Tallaght,  I was delighted to see Black Headed Gull W[4ET]K.  A Gull in Tallaght with a ring!  Apart from 27H0 there have been so few sightings of CR ringed birds locally.  I saw it last December 2013 and January 2014 and it is the only colour ringed black headed gull I have seen in two different parks!

The Caspian was also in Sean Walsh Park

Caspian in Sean Walsh Park

Caspian in Sean Walsh Park

November 24th

No new rings in Sean Walsh Park, but the Caspian Gull was there at Lunch time. The Swedish Black Headed Gull 6430814 and the UK Black Headed Gull 27H0 are ever present.  My son came home from School to say a Black Headed Gull with a White Darvic was spotted on the way home from school on a Lamp post, so that is a target for this week!
Caspian Gull at Sean Walsh Park

November 23rd

An attempted catch was planned today at Bull Island to ring more waders but without success.  While waiting I scanned the flocks for CR Gulls and there were none to see.  I read some Barwits but everyone else present read the same ones!  I picked up two Irelands Eye Gulls at Bulloch Harbour at the weekend.

Herring Gull at Bulloch Harbour

Bar Tailed Godwit at Bull Island.

November 16th

The 3rd winter Caspian was back again today.  I'm not expert enough to say it's a definite.  However P10, which was in pin 2 weeks ago is growing and has the required mirror.  Everything else seems right.

November 15th

Nothing unusual has turned up recently.  This morning I went to Bulloch Harbour, Sandycove and Dun Laoghaire.  Only two coloured ringed Gulls at Bulloch Harbour, both ringed on Irelands Eye off Howth. Great Black Backed Gull 1NL I haven't seen for a couple of months and the Herring Gull 0JH showed well.  There were 2 coloured ringed Mediterranean Gulls at Sandycove but they were too far out for photos other than record shots.
Herring Gull 0JH - Narrow subterminal bar on P10 and no mirror on P9.

November 5th

Since first seen as a Juvenile in January 2012, the Dutch Black Headed Gull  E5VA has been a wintering regular in Sean Walsh Park.  This year he was seen again in it's natal breeding colony in Zoetermeer, Holland. It hadn't been seen since June and there were two options.  It was either deceased or that sometimes, after breeding they go somewhere different.  Don't know where it has been since last seen in Holland but it turned up again in Sean Walsh Park, Tallaght, Dublin!  Many thanks to Frank Majoor for his almost instant life updates.

November 2nd

There were plenty of Brent on Sandymount Strand but no rings recorded.  Too many dogs running through the flocks to be certain that the flocks were completely ring free.  So I read some Oystercatchers.
Oystercatcher - Part of the Dublin Bay project

Oystercatcher - Also part of the Dublin Bay project

November 1st

This afternoon I found my self at the Bull Island but the wind and rain was such that I couldn't go reading gulls so I went and read Brent Geese instead!  Brent have large single coded rings and are really easy to read.  A small flock of 100 were close to the road and 6 had coloured rings that I read and photographed.  There was definitely one with a Yellow ring that got away!  On the way back to the car I spotted a CR Bar-tailed Godwit from the Dublin Bay Project.  The best of the day!
CR Bar Tailed Godwit and Bull Island, Dublin

Brent Goose with Coloured Rings
 Trying to get a photo with both legs out of the water can be frustrating.............................

Brent Goose with Associate!
But when I have a pair and am trying for all four rings on show, it can take a while...