Friday, 20 February 2015

Return of an old friend...

This was the title of an email I received last week. It was from Gary Woodburn who, for those that can remember, reported 2AAJ at Seahouses, Northumberland in February last year (see here).

As you've probably guessed, earlier this month, the same bird has turned up back at Seahouses.

Photo by Gary Woodburn
Photo by Gary Woodburn

As I've talked about before, it's amazing how predictable arrival and departure dates of individual birds are and as such, T35J should be departing soon. It'll be interesting to see if it's recorded at Antrim this weekend or not.

Wintering birds are now starting to depart and head back to their breeding grounds and Benny Middendorp is reporting that known breeders are returning to his local colony. Locally, numbers of gulls on Larne Lough have increased dramatically in recent days, in what looks like the beginning of the annual influx of birds which Neal Warnock wrote about on this blog a couple of years back (see here).

Spring is in the air!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Black-headed Gull - White 2APT

There seems to have been a bit of an influx of Black-headed Gulls with white colour-rings during recent weeks...or perhaps the white rings are just more noticeable than other colours?

Another white-ringed (as opposed to white-winged) gull was recorded last week by Gareth, during one of his regular ring-reading trips to Lough Neagh at Antrim.

The code on the ring was 2APT, which meant that it was ringed somewhere in the UK or Ireland. Just for good measure, Gareth was also able to read the code on the metal BTO ring!

Photo by Gareth Platt

After checking the database on cr-birding, Gareth emailed Tom Dougall who rapidly replied (within 20 mins!) to tell us that this bird was ringed as a chick at a colony in the Moorfoot Hills in the Scottish Borders on 16 June 2013. 

This is the first re-sighting of it since ringing. It is also the first record from NI for this particular colony, the furthest west had previously been a record from Argyll.

Thanks to Gareth and Tom for the information and photo.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Black-headed Gull - White T56W

Many thanks to Stuarty McKee for reporting a colour-ringed gull which he photographed at Whitehouse Lagoon in mid-January.

Photo by Stuarty McKee

As you can see from the photos, the white ring has a code T56W. 

Photo by Stuarty McKee
I knew from previously reporting the numerous sightings of T35J at Antrim (see here), that this was a Polish ringed bird so I went onto the website of the Polish Ringing Centre and submitted the sighting.

A couple of days later I received a reply telling me that the bird was ringed as a breeding adult at a colony at Odra, Bielinek on the boarder of Poland and Germany in June 2012.   

Blue - Odra, Bielinek, Poland
Red - Whitehouse Lagoon, Co. Antrim
Many thanks to Stuart for reporting his sighting and to the NIBA for passing it on.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

2014 BHG NI Annual Report

Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull Study Annual Report 2014: