Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Well, I didn't manage to catch any birds on 31 December, so I finished 2013 on 149 colour-ringed birds. To be honest, I don't think I could've finished the year on a round number, I would have had to catch two to make it 151!

A visit to Belfast Lough on 4 January gave me an opportunity to finally read the number on the ring of the metal ringed bird at Carrick Harbour. It turns out it's a German ring, a great start to the year.

One of the Black-headed Gulls which has been wintering at Carrick is missing the tarsus on the left leg (see below). I've noticed a number of Black-headed Gulls with a foot or leg missing in the past, but it doesn't seem to impact the bird and this guy certainly wasn't shy, landing on the bonnet of my car!

Carrick is also one of several sites in Northern Ireland where you can be pretty certain of recording Ring-billed Gull and I've seen the returning bird there several times this winter.

Ring-billed Gull is a North American species, which now often turns up in Britain and Ireland, especially in winter.

The species has even bred here, albeit with a Common Gull, with a hybrid RBG x Common Gull being regularly recorded at Millilse, Co. Down. It was ringed as a chick on Big Copeland, Copeland Islands.

You can read the background to this bird, here.

Many thanks to Wilton Farelly for the photos of the RBG x Common Gull hybrid at Millisle on Boxing Day.

Photo by Wilton Farelly
Photo by Wilton Farelly
Photo by Wilton Farelly

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