Monday, 31 December 2012

A festive surprise, my first foreign control

Kevin and I headed up to our site again on Friday morning in the hope that we might catch a few more gulls to colour-ring.

As always when I first arrive, I had a quick scan of the gull flock to check for colour-rings and immediately saw T35J, the Polish ringed bird, originally from Lithuania (see here) as well as 2AAL, 2AAN and 2AAR.

T35J - a well travelled individual

We managed to catch and ring four new birds which were fitted with colour-rings 2AAV, 2AAX, 2ABA and 2ABB

2ABB in our "ringing lab" - seat covers are advised!

As well as the three re-sightings above, we also recorded 2AAT, 2AAP, 2AAD, 2AAA, 2AAK and 2AAS, so it was a successful enough morning.

The morning got even better when, just as we were about to leave, I managed to catch T35J and this gave us an opportunity to confirm the metal ring number and is my first foreign control.

Friday, 28 December 2012

A bit of festive ringing

I spent the morning at my catching site last Friday (21 December) and had a bit of success, catching seven new adult birds (three females and four males).

I was very happy with this total as about 45 minutes of my morning was disturbed by two coach loads of Chinese tourists, a couple of whom spent most of their time trying to get their photographs taken near the birds or running down the marina shouting and waving their hands and scaring the birds off! It did give me a good excuse to go grab a coffee though.

As well as managing to ring seven new birds, I also re-sighted four birds which had been ringed previously, 2AAA, 2ADJ, 2AAJ and 2AAH.

Yesterday I got a couple of text messages from my ringing trainer, Neville, and a local bird photographer, Bill Guiller, who both told me a photo of one of my study birds had been posted on a Facebook page for Northern Irish bird photographers (see here).

I had a quick look and sure enough, there was an image of 2AAT.  This was a male bird and the last one I caught and ringed on 21 December.

Bill passed on my details to Chris Smith, the observer, who has kindly sent me a copy of his photo which he as allowed me to use here.

Photo by Chris Smith

Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull Colour-ringing Project!

Photo by Debbie R. (well, not the Santa hat!)

Monday, 17 December 2012

My first resighting report!

I recieved my first resighting report at the weekend, when Nigel Ireland got in touch to say he'd seen several of my colour-ringed gulls (2AAD, 2AAH and 2AAJ) at Loughshore in Antrim.  Almost feels like a proper project now!

A couple of fantastic photos from Ian Dickey also found their way into my inbox over the weekend. One of the photos shows 2AAJ, one of the birds Nigel saw on Sunday.

Nigel also reported seeing the Polish colour-ringed bird, T35J, which I saw back in October (see here).

Thanks to Nigel for the sighting report and to Ian for letting me use his photographs.

2ADJ - Photo by Ian Dickey
2AAJ - Photo by Ian Dickey

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Black-headed Gull - Orange 2AAJ

This is the first time I've tried uploading a post via the Blogger app, so I hope it works!

You'll have to excuse the quality but this photo was taken through my telescope with my phone.

It shows 2AAJ shortly after being ringed. The bird just flew a short distance, had a quick preen and then went over for a snooze.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ringing common terns in December?

Ok, so I wasn't ringing common terns in December, but if you read on you will see why I've choosen to name this post that.

I had a day off and a few hours free this afternoon, so my 11½ month old son and I headed off to “feed the ducks”.  This is code for “try and ring some black-headed gulls”.

Stopping off at the local supermarket to buy some gull-bait, a.k.a. white pan loaf, we were treated to the sight of several waxwings bouncing about on a fence at the side of the car park.  They looked fantastic in the winter sun and none of them were colour-ringed...I checked!

When we arrived at our site, I had a quick scan of the mixed flock of gulls which were lined up around the marina waiting on some well meaning person to come along with a loaf of Tesco’s finest to try and feed the mallards and swans.

The only colour-ringed bird which I saw was one of the two which ringed at the same location last month, “2AAA” – does this count as a 50% re-sighting rate?!

Anyway, we spent about an hour there, managing to catch three new birds which were all duly ringed and fitted with nice, orange colour-rings on their left legs. 

The time was also used to speak to several people who were out enjoying the beautiful weather and I explained about ringing, what I was doing and hoping to achieve.  They were all very interested in the project and I was surprised at how many of them thought the gulls flying 'round their heads were common terns!

Find out about Grampian Ringing Group’s waxwing colour-ringing project by clicking here.