Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Black-headed Gull - White AD394

A first-winter bird with a white colour-ring was photographed recently by Robin Vage at Corbet Lough in County Down. He got in touch to ask if we knew which project it belonged to and we pointed him in the direction of Sonke Martens in Germany.

Photo by Robin Vage

Robin reported his sighting and quickly heard back from Sonke that this bird had been ringed as a chick in June this year at a site north of Hamburg. Distance from ringing site to Corbet is around 1050km.

Red - Ringing location
Orange - Re-sighting location

This is the first re-sighting of this bird and their first report from Northern Ireland. Another fantastic record of a continental bird wintering here. 

Many thanks to Robin for the report and photo and to Sonke for the information.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Another returning Latvian

Last month, we reported the return of an over-wintering Latvian Black-headed Gull to Kinnego Marina. We caught the bird and added a colour-ring in October 2014 and it was subsequently recorded in Latvia in April 2015 and April 2016 (see here).

This was one of two birds we have had turn up at Riga. The other, ringed as an adult male at Antrim in February 2014, was also recorded in April 2015 (see here) and was seen back at Antrim last year where it spent the winter.

2AFD at Riga, Latvia in April 2015
Photo by Richard Bosner

We have been waiting to see if 2AFD would return to Antrim again this year and last week, as predicted, Gary recorded the bird during his weekly visit.

2AFD at Antrim, November 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

This once again illustrates how faithful these birds are to their wintering sites and how predictable they can become.

Now that it is turning a bit colder, we must find the time to get out and try catch a few wintering birds. Who knows, we might get a few more turning up at Riga!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Checking local sites

On Wednesday, I found myself with a bit of free time during daylight hours (something which is unusual at this time of year given the short days), so I suggested to my wee boy that we go "feed the ducks". This, of course, is code for check for ringed gulls!

I particularly wanted to see if there was any sign of the German bird which I caught and colour-ringed last winter (see here), so we headed off to check a couple of local sites where it might turn up.

Our first stop was the seafront at Whitehead, where there was small flock of roosting birds present. Mostly Black-headed Gulls but also several Herring Gulls and a single Common Gull.

No rings seen, but I was able to have a play with the camera and try to get some nice shots.

Next stop was Carrick Harbour, where there wasn't a gull to be seen! Swiftly moving on to Carrick Mills Ponds where I had caught and ringed the bird. Usually there is quite a significant flock of Black-headed Gulls here, especially at high tide which coincided with our visit. Strangely however, there was only 6-7 gulls present which grew to around 20 once we started feeding. 

Again, no rings seen but we did manage to get acquainted with some other locals.

We'll keep checking and hopefully 2ANX will turn up soon.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mediterranean Gull - Red PNU0

Mediterranean Gull PNU0 was first recorded at Antrim Marina by Keith Stevens back in July 2013 (see here). As you can see from the photo below, it was a second summer bird.

Mediterranean Gull PNU0 at Antrim Marina, July 2013
Photo by Keith Stevens

The bird has since been seen a number of times, with all records coming from Northern Ireland.

The most recent records have been at Whiteabbey when Gary photographed the bird in early September and mid-October.

Mediterranean Gull PNU0 at Whiteabbey, September 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

Mediterranean Gull PNU0 at Whiteabbey, October 2016
Photo by Gary Platt
Mediterranean Gull PNU0 at Whiteabbey, October 2016
Photo by Gary Platt

PNU0 was originally ringed as a chick at W√≤jcice in Poland in May 2012. 

Blue - Wojcice, Poland [Ringing location]
Red - Belfast Lough, Northern Ireland [Re-sighting location]

Re-sighting locations of PNU0 in Northern Ireland
Blue - Antrim Marina [July 2013]
Green - Ballywalter [November 2013]
Orange - Belfast Waterworks [December 2015]
Red - Whiteabbey [September / October 2016)

Now that it is an adult, it would be great to get a re-sighting of the bird during the breeding season to try and find out if it is settled and breeding here in Northern Ireland, or if it's returning to Poland (or elsewhere) each year to breed.