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!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

November 2015 - Taking a break!

November 28th

If it wasn't for the fact that the Cygnets in the local park run up to everyone begging, including me, I wouldn't have read a ring since my accident.  The Swan wars of Tymon Park are over but there was a Cob (Male Swan) missing. I have since been told that the missing swan was killed by the other Cob and that is how the Swan war ended. It is all part of nature.
Cr Cygnet.  27 weeks old   Still very brown.  Tymon Park Limekiln, Mid lake.

I am looking at the moult progression of the various cygnets
Cr Cygnet 29 Weeks old. Tymon Park Limekiln, Big lake.

November 19th

First time out for a walk in 10 days.  Just half an hour, but far better than nothing.  38 Swans at Portobello, 78 counted in total on the Grand Canal from Tyrconnell Road, but that was counting from a car.  I will do more scientific counts when I improve.  
Reading Coloured Ringed Swans on the Canal!  We have ringed on the Canal

November 12th - Mute Swan Talk

I broke my arm badly earlier in the week and it may be 4 - 6 weeks before I use bins again, let alone my camera.  I was booked to talk to the Kildare Branch of Bird Watch Ireland on Thursday on the Mute Swan Projects, and not wanting to let them down, with the help of my assistants I gave the talk.
The talk covered the nesting projects and the cygnet survival totals.  I needed to publicise the coloured ring project and get people thinking about the Swans.  The Kildare Branch is very active and I hope they enjoyed the talk.  How well did it go?  I got good feed back and I'll see if I get sightings over the Winter!

November 6th

Each day the Black Headed gull 27H0 appears it's continual improvement is noticeable.  Today its leg was weight bearing and although it walked with a limp the improvement is amazing.

There were two new Mute Swans in the Park today, both unringed.  I didn't notice them at first as there were 13 in lake 5 as usual.  When I counted 2 in lake 3 and worked out which ones they were I went back and read all the Swans!

Mute Swan CAAA. This was the first Swan in the project.

November 4th

There have been few coloured ringed gulls mentioned recently in my blog.  They just haven't been seen and it is not for the lack of looking.  In Sean Walsh Park the only daily Black Headed Gull is the Swedish bird with a metal only ring


November 3rd

Last weeks "Swan Wars" have calmed down.  It was caused by the remaining family of swans from Ballycragh joining the Cygnet in Ballymount Park which had arrived a week earlier.  The dominant pair of that park, which had tolerated the arrival of the cygnet were attacking the parents continually trying to drive them away.  I headed over to Tymon Park where the pair and cygnets from the middle lake had entered the big lake and the two families were fighting.  In flew the Ballycragh family into the mix and there was a huge commotion.  The Ballycragh family were eventually driven out and  I tried to find where they went next - only to find them back at Ballycragh today!
I am delighted how easy it is to read the rings!

Juvenile Mute Swan and Coloured Ring

Juvenile Mute Swan and Coloured Ring

Family reunited and back in Ballycragh!

What is probably most interesting is that the juvenile that had left 2 weeks ago is now back with it's family in the Park.  This is behavior I was not expecting!

Saturday, 3 October 2015

October 2015 - First Cygnet movement!

October 29th

The Coloured ringed Swans have started to disperse from their various ringing sites.  The first cygnet has made it to Bray Harbour 18Km SE direction and the first non breeding Swan has made it to Swords 20Km NW direction.  Sightings are so vital and appreciated and all sightings are responded to with report.


October 24th

At Sandycove today there were only 2 Coloured Ringed Mediterranean Gulls but I spotted a Black Headed Gull with a metal and set about trying to read it.  Helsinki ST283.477.  I haven't seen this individual since January 2015, so it is back for another winter and same location.

However, I spent some time on the Grand Canal reading coloured Ringed Mute Swans and saw another Cygnet from Tymon Park.  It has gone to a different location than it's sibling - that is now in Sean Walsh Park.  However for me there were two birds of the day.  Both Mute Swans with Metal only Rings.  Neither I had recorded before.  The mystery of the pink Dye yesterday was solved with it dripping from a bridge in Goldenbridge.  The Swans, pigeons and gulls all had dots of it on their feathers but it does not appear to be effecting them in any way.

October 23rd

At Grange Castle Business Park there were hundreds of Black Headed Gulls.  I have never had much luck at this location but thought I would check up on Mute Swans as well.  No Coloured Rings on the Black Headed Gulls or the larger Herring and Lesser Black Backed, but I spotted a Mediterranean Gull.  I have only ever seen one med gull at this location which was W[E147]  last year. I eventually got a photo as it few past. W[E147] again.

Mediterranean Gull

As regard the Swans, the family of pair and 4 cygnets which have recently moved here were on the lake.  Two more tried to join them but they were soon seen off.  The colour ring quite visible in flight.  Yes, there appears to be pink dye on the coloured ringed one

Coloured Ringed Mute Swans

October 22nd

There are only 2 ringed Gulls in Sean Walsh Park, that is about right for this time of year.  The Swans are keeping me interested in this location.  The pair that have been harassing the other 11 have moved to the big lake and CACV has taken over the role of the aggressive dominant male, here he has just chased others out of the lake.

October 18th

This morning I went to Bray Harbour, Bullock Harbour, Sandycove, Sea Point and all I saw was one coloured ring.  Herring Gull 0JH.  So I went off to read Swans.

On the Canal there were 3 of our project birds including a Cygnet from Tymon Park.  This is proving to be a great time to get out and read the newly coloured ringed Mute Swans.  There movements are getting interesting as they certainly move about.  I can't wait till some one reads the first coloured ring at Bray or Swords.

CR Cygnet from Tymon Park in Ballymount Park.  Great to be able to read them underwater.

At Grange Castle there was just one Swan instead of the family of 6 last Friday, so I went to check and see the ones on Corkagh Park.  All Swans and Cygnets in the family present and correct and neither Adult ringed from this pair.  So the origin of the family of Swans seen on Friday is still unknown.

At Ballymount Park, success again. There were 3 that had been ringed in the park and also a cygnet from Ballycragh Park in Firhouse.

October 17th

Too busy catching and Colour Ringing Swans to take out the camera!!

October 16th - First Swan Family move.

Following a tip that a family of 2 adults and 4 Cygnets had turned up in Grange Castle Business Park, I went there at lunch time.  One adult carried a metal ring W27889 that I had not seen before.  They are possibly from Corkagh Park which is very near and one adult was ringed which I was never able to read.  I will have to check tomorrow and see if they are gone from that location.  It is apparently unusual for the Adults to leave such a prime location as a complete family group - they normally just chase the young away.

Mute Swan Ring in Grange Castle.

October 15th - BLHGU 6430814 Returns!

Today at Sean Walsh Park I spotted a metal ring.  The Scandinavian Countries use a slightly taller ring and I was on a mission.  Managed to photograph the ring and it is no other than the Black Headed Gull 6430814! The absent dates from the park are now as follows.  Back 1 week earlier than last year.

Absent from Sean Walsh Park

17th February - 5th November 2013
3rd March - 20th October 2014
28th February - 15th October 2015

October 13th

On September 25th the Black Headed Gull 27H0 appeared in Sean Walsh Park both bloodied and limping.  I had not seen it since and feared it hadn't survived it's injuries.  However it turned up today, limping but alive and much improved since the last sighting.  

Most of my recent blogging has been about Mute Swans, not just because of the project I'm involved with but because I haven't seen any coloured ringed Gulls.  Hopefully as winter approaches I will get more sightings.

October 11th - First Adult movements recorded.

On the Grand Canal this afternoon, I spotted two of our Coloured ringed Swans.  They were both ringed in Ballymount Park two weeks ago.  Distance between the two sites is 4.5km.  I have long suspected that these two herds interchange regularly as the numbers of Swans at both locations fluctuate daily.

October 10th

Another excellent day Colour Ringing Mute Swans.  Many thanks to all the ringer and helpers, without whom this project would be very slow to get started.  There are now 49 Mute Swans, both Juvenile and Adult, with Coloured Rings.  Now to get out there are monitor their movement - or lack of it!
Susan Doyle with Swan CACK!

October 5th - Happy days.

Over the week end I was a little saddened that 2 Cygnets were missing from Tymon Park.  We had colour ringed 2 Cygnets from a family of 4 and are planning to try and ring the other 2 next weekend. One of the missing cygnets was coloured ringed and maybe all was not lost.  Today at Sean Walsh Park two cygnets turned up and yes one was CABC from Tymon Park.
The Lake in Tymon Park is on the Poddle River and Sean Walsh Park is on a Tributary of the Dodder River.  They are not connected by a water way and it can only mean they flew almost 3 KM.  I didn't know they could fly at 18 weeks, according to one internet source they can fly at 60 days, but I have noted that they only start exercising their wings at 12 weeks (84 days).

October 3rd

The Swan projects have taken time away from reading Gulls, but I got down to Sandycove today even though the tide would be too high for good numbers of Mediterranean Gulls.  There were 5 about and 1 with a coloured ring.
Mediterranean Gull Y[2XA4] Ringed in Dublin but goes to France for Breeding season.

Re-sighting the Swans that were colour ringed last week end, brought me to a few parks and I did check the Gulls for rings - with out success.  However, very pleased with the coloured Rings.  They are easily read under water and it is making re-sightings so much easier!

Family of Swans under the fountain at Tymon Park

Swan ring - readable under water.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Colour Ringed Swans

Colour Ringed Mute Swans.

What a fantastic day ringing.  After years of reading Swan Metals, today we started Colour Ringing Mute Swans in South Dublin and in Kildare.  We ringed at 10 locations and processed 34 mute swans.  Thanks to all those who assisted and to those who gave permission

Mute Swan Coloured Ring.

Re-sightings can be emailed to the following address and all sightings are greatly appreciated. Reply will include life histories.  For some of the birds ringed today the life histories will be short, but we also added colour rings to 7 previously metal ringed birds, so these birds already have a history.