Friday, 28 October 2016

Common Gull - "Tarffie"

One of the main objectives of our study is to establish site fidelity of wintering gulls and below is a story froMícheál Casey from the west of Ireland of a Common Gull which is yet another fantastic example of how amazingly site-loyal these birds can be.

Photo by Micheal Casey

This Common Gull, now known among Sligo gull aficionados (there are several) as 'Tarffie' has become rather special.  It was ringed by Scottish ringer Hugh Insley at a breeding colony on Loch Tarff in the Scottish Highlands in 1997.   I first read this bird's ring in the harbour during the autumn of 2003, and have seen & photographed it in the same place in Sligo Harbour (Quay St Car Park) every winter since then. I email Hugh each August/September when I get the first photo of it, which was on the 3rd of September this year.  

It is back again this autumn beginning its 13th successive recorded winter in Sligo Harbour (I may have missed its previous winter visits) at the ripe old age of 19 years, and its site fidelity is a great example of just how precise gull migration can be - what looks like a random winter gull flock may be executing as precise a return to a favoured location as the Swallows in your garage......

Many thanks to Mícheál for the story and photograph.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Confirmation of an Inch BHG

We have recorded two birds so far which are likely to have been birds ringed at Inch this summer. Back in August, a metal-ringed bird was at Portrush and in September, a colour-ringed bird was recorded at the River Foyle. Unfortunately neither ring number was confirmed, although we think the colour-ring might have been 2DAD

Metal ringed BHG at Portrush, August 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

Colour-ringed BHG on River Foyle, September 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

Finally though, Gary has been able to confirm an Inch bird, after he photographed a metal-ringed juvenile at Coleraine recently. 

Photo by Gary Platt

He was able to piece together the ring number and was delighted to discover it was was one of a handful of birds which he ringed during the first visit to Inch in May. We only added colour-rings during the second and third visits, but this bird must have gone undetected during the later visits (see here).

Green - Inch, Donegal
Orange - Coleraine, Co. Londonderry

The bird made life easy, landing on the car so it wasn't too difficult to read the ring in the end.

Photo by Gary Platt

Hopefully this is only the first of many re-sightings of birds from Inch.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Latvia to Lurgan to Latvia to Lurgan to Latvia and back!

Almost two years ago (to the day), we caught and colour-ringed a bird at Kinnego Marina, Lough Neagh which had already been fitted with a Latvian metal ring. The bird was subsequently seen a couple of times that winter before being photographed on Getlini dump near Riga, Latvia (see here) in April 2015 and again in April 2016 having spent the winter months in between back at Kinnego.

01/11/2014 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
14/03/2015 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
12/04/2015 Riga, LATVIA Getlini dump
26/11/2015 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
29/11/2015 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
01/02/2016 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
14/02/2016 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina
06/04/2016 Riga, LATVIA Getlini dump
23/10/2016 Lough Neagh Kinnego Marina

As you can see from the table above, 2BPP has returned to Kinngeo for another winter and it was photographed a couple of days ago. The metal ring is very worn and it is unlikely that it would've been possible to identify this individual without the colour-ring.

Photo by Gary Platt
Many thanks to Gary for his report and photo.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Look who's back...

Back in July, we received word of one of "our" birds in Oslo, Norway (see here).

2ALP had been ringed as a chick on Blue Circle Island in Larne Lough in 2013 and hadn't been seen until last winter, when it spent the early part of the winter at Whitehouse Lagoon, Belfast Lough.

At the end of September, Suzanne photographed 2ALP back at Whitehouse. it's fantastic to confirm the bird back in NI.

Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

Also seen at Whitehouse on the same day was T56W, a Polish-ringed bird which has overwintered at this site for at least the past two years (see here and here).

Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

Many thanks to Suzanne for her reports and photos.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Another Grampian Oyk in Ireland

You might remember the report of a colour-ringed Oystercatcher at Belfast Lough this time last year and in case you don't, click here!

The bird had been ringed by Grampian Ringing Group and was the third record of one of their birds here.

Recently, Suzanne managed to photograph another bird which turned out to be part of the same study.

T96 at Killough, Co. Down
Photo by Suzanne Belshaw

T96 was seen at Killough, Co. Down and we've heard back from Harry Scott at Grampian Ringing Group that it had been ringed as a chick in June 2015 at Strathdon. 

It was one of a brood of three, one of the first broods of young birds GRG fitted with yellow darvics.

T96 with its siblings
Photo by Harry Scott
Many thanks to Suzanne for passing on her sighting and to Harry for the information. 

If you see a colour-ringed Oystercatcher which you think if part of Grampian Ringing Group's study, you can contact Harry at picades (@)

Saturday, 1 October 2016

2015 BHG NI Annual Report

As it's almost time to prepare the 2016 annual report, I thought it was about time I FINALLY put the 2015 report online...better late than never!

Sincere apologies, it's been sitting almost complete since January and being lazy / forgettful / was never uploaded.

Well, here it is - enjoy!

2015 Annual Report