Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Black-headed Gull - 6431692

As you can see, the blog has had a bit of a "face-lift" and although it has been a couple of weeks since the last update, we have been busy recording and re-sighting gulls across the country.

Many birds have made their way back from their breeding grounds in continental Europe to spend the winter months here and last week, Gary recorded a Swedish ringed bird at Glenarm on the Antrim Coast.

Photo by Gary Platt

The bird, which had a metal ring, had been ringed as a chick at Lake Takern on 4th June 2011, which is just over 1,300km north-west as the crow flies but, of course, we're dealing with gulls and although in the absence of tracking data, we cannot tell for certain, it is much more likely that the bird took a longer route.

Blue - Lake Takern, ringing location (4 June 2011)
Orange - Glenarm, re-sighting location (14 September 2016)

This isn't the first Swedish Black-headed Gull we've recorded here, with a couple of reports since we began our project almost four years ago (see here and here).

Many thanks to Gary for passing on the information and all of his hard work and efforts in re-sighting and reporting ringed birds.

Friday, 12 August 2016

First reports of ringed first-winter birds coming in

As juveniles disperse their natal colonies, we're starting to receive sightings of ringed first-winter birds away from the main study sites.

To date we have got word of two birds colour-ringed at Castle Espie, 2CCH and 2CBD, which have dispersed to Lurgan Park in Armagh and the RSPB reserve at Belfast Lough respectively.

2CCH at Lurgan Park, August 2016
Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

Green - Ringing location
Orange - Re-sighting locations

Gary also got our first record of a bird ringed at Inch this summer....almost!

He photographed the bird below at Portrush during the week which was fitted with a metal ring from the series we know we used at Inch in Co. Donegal this year.

Metal ringed first-winter Black-headed Gull at Portrush, August 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

It was, however, one of the 43 birds caught by Causeway Coast Ringing Group during the first visit to the colony, when only metal rings were used (see here). Unfortunately before Gary could read the end of the ring number the bird was scared off by walkers.

This highlights the benefits of colour-ringing as it would have taken only a couple of seconds for Gary to read the much more visible code on the plastic rings. We do like a challenge though and I'm sure the same guy will try again!!

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Hopefully the first of many....

We received our first report of a "Northern Irish" colour-ringed Mediterranean Gull at the weekend when Neal Warnock photographed 2XJ9 at Glenarm, Co. Antrim. 

This was one of four Med Gull chicks ringed on Blue Circle Island back in June (see here) as part of an all-Ireland project co-ordinated by Sean Kingston in Dublin.

Photo by Neal Warnock

It may not have moved far, just over 20km, but hopefully this is only the first of many re-sightings. Re-sightings which will allow us to build up a picture of where young Mediterranean Gulls born in Ireland move off to once they leave their natal colony.

Many thanks to Neal for the report and photo.