Friday, 17 March 2017

Where have you been?

In the last post I touched on how some birds, despite being colour-ringed, can go long periods undetected.

Well, Suzanne got another example last weekend...

During another visit to Lurgan Park she photographed another colour-ringed Black-headed Gull 290P

Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

We knew from previous sightings that this was likely a bird from Lough Mask in Mayo, so she reported her sighting to Chris Benson and Eoin McGreal.

Chris replied, informing us that 290P had indeed been ringed at Lough Mask, as a chick back in June 2007. This was the first re-sighting of it in the 10 years since!


This is similar to one of Gary's sightings from last spring, when he spotted a different Lough Mask bird at Glynn, Larne Lough which had also been ringed in 2007 (see here). This too, was the first re-sighting.

Many thanks to Suzanne for her sightings and Chris for the ringing information.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Black-headed Gull - Blue 2F05

Suzanne recently photographed a Black-headed Gull with a blue colour-ring at Lurgan Park, Armagh.


Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

She reported her sighting to the BTO and heard back that it had been ringed as a first-winter in December 2012 at Preston Docks in Lancashire. 

Blue - Preston Docks, Lancashire
Yellow - Lurgan Park, Armagh

We don't know if the bird has been recorded between these sightings and although you might not think it, it's amazing how long some birds can go undetected....more to follow on this soon!


Monday, 13 March 2017

Black-headed Gull - Yellow 2BT3

David Nixon reported a sighting of 2BT3 at Mill Quarter Bay, Strangford Lough back in November 2016.

We heard back in January from Grampian Ringing Group that it had been ringed as an adult during a night-time mist-netting session on the Ythan Estuary in August 2016.

Yellow - Ythan, Aberdeenshire
Blue - Mill Quarter Bay, Down

Grampian Ringing Group have been colour-ringing Sandwich Terns at the Ythan since 2010 (see here) and we have had a number of their birds recorded in NI (see here and here).

As part of their study, they catch birds at night in mist nets and they sometimes catch other species which they also ring, including Black-headed Gulls. This is the second colour-ringed Black-headed Gull from Grampian we have reported from NI (see here).

Many thanks to David for his report and Calum for the life-history.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Black-headed Gull - White 2APK

Despite not blogging for a couple of months, recording of colour-ringed birds has been ongoing and we have a number of reports of birds ringed outside Northern Ireland recorded here since the start of January. 

I will try to get reports of them up on the blog over the next couple of weeks.

James O'Neill recorded 2APK at the lake in Castlewellan Forest Park back at the start of January. This is the same site where we recorded a Scottish-ringed bird in January 2013 (see here) and Lithuanian colour-ringed bird in December 2013 (see here). 

We reported this latest sighting to Tom Dougall in Scotland and he confirmed that 2APK had been ringed as a chick at a colony at Moorfoot Hills, Scottish Borders in June 2015. 


Red - Moorfoot Hills, ringing site
Blue - Castlewellan, re-sighting location

Tom reported that this was the first re-sighting of this bird away from the natal colony and one of the few sightings of the 2015 cohort, which was small in size and had a poor fledging success which was attributed to poor weather around the time of hatching.

This is not the first bird from Moorfoot Hills we've recorded in NI (see here).


2APT at Antrim, February 2015
Photo by Gary Platt

Many thanks to James for his report and to Tom for his reply.