Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Dispersal of 2017 chicks

Back in the summer, we managed to visit two of our study colonies to ring young Black-headed Gulls. A total of 79 young birds were colour-ringed at WWT Castle Espie on Strangford Lough in Co. Down and RSPB Blue Circle Island, on Larne Lough in Co. Antrim.

Blue - RSPB Blue Circle Island, Larne Lough
Green - WWT Castle Espie, Strangford Lough

Since ringing, we have received re-sighting reports of four of the 2017 birds.

All four originated from Blue Circle Island and all the sightings have been from the east Antrim coast. One bird has moved slightly north, and three have moved south to various sites along the north shore of Belfast Lough.

Orange - Re-sighting locations of 2017 birds ringed on Blue Circle Island (Blue marker)
2CLV at Whitehead, August 2017
Photo by Cameron Moore
2CPN at Whiteabbey, September 2017
Photo by Gary Platt
2CNB at Sandy Bay, November 2017
Photo by Gary Platt
2CPS at Carrickfergus, November 2017
Photo by Paul McCullough
Many thanks to everyone who continues to report colour-ringed birds to us. All reports are greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

2ANX - what we know so far

In January 2016, we caught and colour-ringed a bird which was already sporting a German metal ring. 

The same bird had been recorded at Carrickfergus, Belfast Lough during previous winters but by adding the colour-ring we were hopeful it would increase the number of re-sightings of the bird.

In the 22 months since we colour-ringed 2ANX, we've had some excellent results.

I've set out below what we know of 2ANX:

May 2008
Ringed as an adult at Bohmke, Germany

November 2013 
Recorded at Carrickfergus Harbour - metal ring read

January 2016
Caught and colour-ring 2ANX added (see here)

February 2016
Re-sighted at Carrickfegus

March 2016
Re-sighted at Swinoujscie, NW Poland (see here)

July 2016
Caught by ringer at Swinoujscie, NW Poland as by catch - he was actually trying to catch a crow! (see here)

Photo by Lucasz Borek

December 2016
Re-sighted back at Carrickfergus, where it was recorded again in January and February 2017

May 2017
Photographed at breeding colony at Bohmke, the colony where it was originally ringed, at a nest with 2 young.
2ANX at breeding site at Bohmke, NE Germany
Photo by Simon Piro

June 2017
Photographed back at Swinoujscie, NW by same ringer who had recorded it at same site in 2016.
2ANX in flight behind Lukasz's son
Photo by Lukasz Borek

November 2017
Re-sighted back at Carrickfergus for another winter.

The map shows known wintering location of 2ANX at Carrickfergus, Bohmke in NE Germany where it breeds and the site it visits at Swinoujscie just over the border in NW Poland.

Many thanks everyone who has reported this bird and if you happen to visit the car park by Carrick Castle, please keep an eye out for our colour-ringed birds and let us know via bhgni@ymail.com

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

First birds of the winter caught and ringed

Gary was successful at the weekend catching and ringing the first birds this winter.

Two first winters and a second winter bird became the latest additions to our study cohort. 

While we do not know where these birds have come from (we know from previously recorded ringed birds that they might have fledged from a colony a few miles away or Eastern Europe), we do have the advantage of being able to age them.

If you record any colour-ringed birds which you think might be from our study, even if it's a bird previously reported, you can get in touch via bhgni@ymail.com

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Back online!

Once again, the blog has been neglected over past months. A perfect storm of fieldwork, expanding family, computer problems and other commitments has meant it has taken a hit and not been maintained.

All back online now and hopefully normal service will resume.

An update will be posted in coming days, especially since we have recently seen the 5th anniversary of the project starting. In the meantime rest assured that although things have been quiet, there has been plenty going on in the background with re-sightings from near and far and a cohort of 2017 chicks colour-ringed at two of our study sites.

More soon....