Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Black-headed Gull - White J4TJ

A couple of weeks ago, when I went back to try and get a photo of the Dutch bird I saw at Connswater, I managed to find a Norwegian ringed bird at the same site.

The brilliant Norwegian colour-ringing website gave me an instant response which gave me the ringing information for J4TJ.

It was ringed by Carsten Lome at Oslo on 19 April 2013 and this is the first time it's been recorded since ringing.

I still haven't managed to ring any new birds in 2014, and I'm blaming the mild weather...it's too warm! Although, speaking to Kane Brides, the temperature doesn't seem to have much of an influence on their catching in north-west England.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Black-headed Gull - White EAK9

In my blog post last week, I mentioned seeing a colour-ringed gull at Connswater which originated in The Netherlands. The bird was white EAK9.

After checking the cr-birding website, I sent an email off to Frank Majoor who replied to let me know that the bird had been ringed by Benny Middendorp on 13 June 2012 at Benthuizerplas, Zoetermeer, The Netherlands.

It has been seen 27 times since, but always in an around the original ringing site. This is the first time it's been seen outside The Netherlands. This gives me hope that some of our birds ringed in Northern Ireland, which have been recorded many times at their ringing site, will be recorded elsewhere and we will learn something about their movements.

Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, but many thanks to Benny who sent me a photo taken when the bird was ringed.

Photo by Benny Middendorp
Frank and Benny are a bit legendary in the world of BHG ringing and you can get a sense of the scale of their work with the species by visiting their websites:



Thanks to Frank and Benny for the quick response and the information.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

BHG NI 2012-13 Annual Report

It's been a good start to the year, even though I haven't ringed any new birds yet! On Friday I read two colour-rings at Connswater in Belfast which turned out to be Dutch and Danish ringed birds. I didn't have my camera with me, so I went back yesterday to try and get a photograph.

I managed to get a photo of a bird with a white ring, but when I zoomed in, I realised that it wasn't either of the birds I'd seen on Friday...it turned out to be yet another Norwegian bird!

More details of these birds will be on here soon, but in the meantime, I've posted the 2012-13 annual report for the project. Feel free to share this to anyone you think might be interested.

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