Saturday, 3 February 2018

February 2018- Iceland Gull today

22nd February

No new rings sighted in the Park today, just the usual suspects!  However a 3rd Winter Iceland Gull made an appearance.  I annually see Iceland Gulls but only juveniles.  Nice to get an adult!

Iceland Gull in Sean Walsh Park

21st February

Sean Walsh Park at lunch time. At this time of year Gulls start passing through.  First metal ring spotted was a Black Headed Gull from Lithuania.  Ringed in 2014, I first sighted it in March 2016, but have seen it frequently each winter since.



A second Black-headed Gull with a metal ring appeared.  This was a gull I didn't recognise, so out with the camera.  Lost of photos of its foot and the full ring code read.  Denmark 6283168.  This is a Black-Headed Gull I haven't recorded before and certainly hasn't been using this park.


19th February

A quick round up of whats happening in Dublin at the Moment.  I was sick for a while this month so very little birding and no blogging.

Great Black Backed Gulls

Juveniles are just not being observed or reported from Dublin.  However, it is with great excitement that I am getting reports from southern Wales of our Great Black Back juveniles.  Blue 3HH was also  sighted at Bullock Harbour having not been seen since 2014!  Red 342:D was also seen there on February 9th.
3HH unfortunately has fishing line wrapped around its right leg.


Herring Gulls

The Scottish Juvenile A:E85 is observed daily at Sean Walsh Park.  The numbers of or red ringed Juveniles is dropping.  Today there were 50 herring Gulls at Grangecastle Business Park and no red rings again.  The number of Adults however, is increasing.


Mediterranean Gulls 

There are still plenty of Mediterranean Gulls about but rings have been scarce.  They are observed in all the parks in 1's and occasionally 2's.  This is a wonderful time to observe this species as many are almost in breeding plumage

Mediterranean Gull PRN6 from Poland

Black Headed Gulls

So far no great influx or exodus.  However 2ABA seems to have left the local park.  Colour ringed and metal ringed from England, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Lithuania are still being read weekly.  March is approaching when the ones which went to Galway will arrive in Dublin on route to breed
Black Headed Gull Green 2ACA ringed in Dublin as a wintering Gull.
Black Headed Gull Y28 from Denmark
Black-headed Gull Y28 has been seen both in Ben Madigan Park and preening in the Grand Canal close by.

Mute Swan

Attempts at nesting have been put on hold for now with the cold weather.  The numbers on the Canal are slowly starting to go down as some move off to establish territories.

Brent Geese

Plenty of Brent turning up in the Parks and on Sandymount strand.  One aspect I never paid much attention to is working out pairs!  (They call them Associates).  Below SURB and NZRB never left each others side while they grazed.


18th February

On the Grand Canal in Drimnagh Herring Gull 264:D was sitting on a roof top and then flew into the Canal to wash. This is usually at Ben Madigan Park and confirms my suspicion that all these Gulls who use the Green areas in Drimnagh also use the Canal to wash and preen.  264:D is from a nest on the rooftops of Dublin.

At Dolphin Road there was a football match, so hardly any birds, but Herring Gull 013:D was sitting on a street light.  This is from an urban nest.



 At Ben Madigan Park there were a small (less than 100) flock of Brent and 4 coloured ringed.  With so many readings from this Green space you would think I would be getting repeat sightings of the same Brent Geese.  However, I have had only one repeat sighting!  BDBY was seen on February 3rd and 18th.

Black Headed Gull from Denmark - White Y28, was sighted again today.   Ringed as an adult in 2011, it had only one Irish sighting until I found it's wintering site.  So far I have had 5 sightings in the past 2 months.

17th February

I went out yesterday with the intention of reading all the Colour Ringed Knot that apparently have been ringed in large numbers in England and are probably now in Dublin.  Found a large flock of a few 1,000 and started going though the individuals.    Flashes of colour were quickly lost in the tightly packed flock.  Eventually, one CR Knot was on the out side and 1 photo just as a red setter ran through the flock.  They settles 500m away but the dog ran straight for them again.  Within 5 minutes there were no birds in sight as the dogs ran further and further up the beach chasing flocks of birds, now joined by a 2nd dog.  The beach is a protected area and although there are signs requiring dog owners to keep dogs under control and it is an offence to allow them chase birds etc but a small proportion of owners don't care. (Rant over)

CR Knot.  Now to find the scheme!

Dogs chasing all the birds on Sandymount strand.

I made the long walk back to the car and at Merrion Gates spotted a CR Redshank from the Dublin Bay project.  Their rings are tiny but I was able to catch the code.

Redshank CD

I drove further down the coast to Booterstown but the small waders were too far out.  A flock of roosting Oystercatchers were blocking the only route out so I read 6 of them that were standing on their right leg!  A 100 Brent flew in and even though I was 150m away my camera captured the rings.
Oystercatcher DP standing on the right leg.

3rd February

I pulled into Dolphin Road on the way home today and read the Brent Goose rings from the comfort and warmth of the car.  Spotted a Red ring on a Herring Gull Red [013:D].  This one is from an urban nest and is yet another first sighting since ringed.



A quick stop at Ben Madigan Park, a place I can check for rings without getting out of the car!  Herring Gull 148:D was present, well at least that one has some site fidelity with this being it's 5th sighting at this location.

2nd February

Confined indoors today with heavy cold.  However, looking recent photos of Gulls without rings I have decided to post the following 2 pictures of a Herring Gull that is certainly not a match for the local variety.  There is a huge variety within the species and despite it's "Dirty Head" which gave me the initial impression of "Smithsonianus", looking at all the books, although it doesn't look like the 3rd winter herring gulls we get, it most probably is!  What is it doing with "Mirrors" on it's primaries.

If any expert wishes to express their opinion, please do so, it is all about learning.

Herring Gull 3rd Winter + Dark Head

Herring Gull, Same bird but in flight for wing pattern.
Herring Gull 3rd Winter - Standard.

1st February

At Grange Castle Business Park, with Herring Gull 005:D being sighted twice, 112:D and 127:D being sighted once, I thought I'd try again at lunch time as repeat sightings start to build up a picture of site fidelity.

On arrival I spotted 1 red ring on a Herring Gull.  Out with the Camera and 054:D.  This is another of the Irelands Eye colony from a coastal Island.  It is also another first sighting since being ringed!  No sign of the others!

Monday, 1 January 2018

January 2018 - New Black Headed Gull Rings

January 29th

Sean Walsh Park again at lunch time today.  It was well worth it today!  On January 8th I had recorded a Herring Gull 144:D but my camera battery had died.  Today I photographed it.   Ringed on a Hospital Roof, the plumage is pale looking.

Herring Gull 144:D
 Suddently there were 2 CR Herring Gulls together with the Scottish Ringed A:E85 joining it. This gave a great opportunity to compare them.  The Scottish one has the classic mottled bill I would expect, but Red 144:D has a jet black bill like a Lesser Black-Backed Juvenile.  I have gone through my recent photos and the Dublin Herring Gulls all have a much darker bill that the classic Larus Argenteus.  I certainly need more photos to rule out Lesser black-backed Gull, but the colony was entirely Herring Gull and Lessers should be in Portugal or Morocco at this time of year!

Black Headed Gull 2ACA was present.


However the big news of the day was the arrival of a new Swan at the Stadium pond.  Last year in February CATI died (Autopsy - cause unknown) and its partner CAAH and an unringed swan failed last summer to produce any cygnets.  Today CAXF was present with CAAH.  CAXF was hatched in 2015 and ringed in September 2016 at Broadmeadows, Swords  This is the first time it has been recorded away from there.  I would say it is too young to breed, but we will wait and see.

January 27th

At Ben Madigan Park in Drimnagh, again the Brent were in.  However, bird of the day was a Black-headed Gull that was there!  White Y28 was new to me!   I sent off the report to Kjeld Tommy Pedersen and just over an hour later received the life history!


Black-headed Gull from Denmark



























What is surprising is that although it was ringed in Denmark in 2011 as an adult, it has only been
 seen once in Dublin before (in 2014). It was not recorded anywhere in 2017.






Managed to read 8 Brent Geese.  Thank goodness Pixels are free as it took over 100 photos to get the codes.  A sample of photos below.
Brent 7SBB
Brent 36BB - Photo bomb by Herring Gull Red [148:D]
Brent 2BRR - Always difficult to get both rings in the 1 frame



Brent Goose - TDBY


Brent 74WB
Surprising, that there were roughly the same number of Brent as last week, but only 1 ringed bird the same!

January 26th

Grangecastle Business Park a quick 10 minutes only produced 1 coloured ring.  Last seen on January 1st at the same location.  A very pale Herring Gull by comparison to all the others there.

Herring Gull 005:D

January 25th

Herring Gull A:E85 was in Sean Walsh Park 3 days in a row, so time to try another park.  At Tymon Park I recorded The Polish Black-headed Gull T96W is considered "resident" in this park with sightings now in November, December and now January.  A small increase in the amount of dark feathers on it's head indicating the start of it's breeding plumage dark brown hood.


January 22nd

A very short lunch break today, but in the 5 minute walk I spotted an Orange Darvic on a Juvenile Herring Gull. On January 19th, I had seen an orange ring but failed to read it.  I had assumed it was another Isle of Man ring.  However, it is from much further afield!  The scheme is from Ayr in Scotland, about 270 Km north of here.  I have reported it to that coordinator, Dave Grant a few minutes ago.


January 21st

A complete washout today!  So we went and ringed some more Mute Swan Cygnets.  They are starting to disperse so it it still very worth while to ring them while still in Family groups.  ie we still know who the parents are.

January 20th

Persistant rain made for a damp afternoon.  I drove to Ben Madigan Park in Drimnagh to see if any of our Red Ringed Herring Gulls were present.  The park is tiny, not much bigger than the football pitch in the middle of it.  There were 272 Brent Geese.  So, from the dryness of my car I started reading rings.  Recorded 2 of our Herring Gulls and 5 Coloured Ringed Brent.  There was a Red Ringed Great Black Backed Gull, but the grass was too long to read the ring and it soon flew off.  200 photos later I went home having not got out of the car!  

These repeat sightings of our Juvenile Herring Gulls do start to show site faithful behavior, but to a lesser extent that the smaller Black Headed Gulls

Herring Gull 148:D - Urban Gull
Herring Gull 264:D - Urban Gull



Ben Madigan Park in Drimnagh
With the Brent it is photographing a series of shots while they are walking to get both rings.  
(Right Leg Code, Left Leg Code, Right Ring Colour, Left Ring Colour)
 The first Brent Goose is 3 B, Blue, Blue scribed as 3BBB.
Brent 3BBB

Brent 4NBY

Brent 6SBY

Brent B6WW

January 19th

The Lituanian Black Headed Gull was recorded again as was 2ACA. However I spotted an orange ring on a Herring Gull Juvenile.  Probably from the Isle of Man.  Never located it again to get the code, but maybe it will show again soon.

January 18th

In Sean Walsh Park, The Herring Gull 010:D appeared again.  It has been 2 months since I last recorded it.  Black Headed Gulls 27H0 and 2ACA also present.  3 rings in 20 minutes.

However, the exciting news of today, is a report of one of our Juvenile Great Black Backed Gulls being sighted in Wales 173km from where it was ringed.

January 17th

On my lunchtime walk I spotted a metal ring in Sean Walsh Park on a Black Headed Gull.  There have been so few this winter, if I got the code it would certainly be new on the list for this winter.  Out with the camera and 47 photos later the full code of this Lithuanian Gull was obtained.  I have recorded this Black Headed Gull 3 times before all in March 2016.  I never recorded it last winter.  It was ringed as a chick in 2014 50km NE of Vilnius.  Great to see it back.




There are still Mediterranean Gulls in Sean Walsh Park and although today there was a new Juvenile - No coloured rings yet.





January 12th

Today I finally managed to re-sight 2ACB.  Having only ringed it last week I expected to see it daily like 2ACA.  When it flew in and landed, before I read the code I knew it was 2ACB as both it's legs were the same colour! 2ACA has different coloured legs and feet!


Black Headed Gull 2ACB

January 11th

The Black Headed Gull 2ACA has been easy to locate every day, like 27H0.  I haven't seen 2ACB yet.  I hope it was a park regular and not just passing through!
Black Headed Gull 27H0



January 8th

Yesterday, we caught our first 2 Black-headed Gulls since the Club was allocated Coloured Rings.  Today I photographed 1 of them in Sean Walsh Park.  


Black Headed Gull 2ACA


January 6th

I-WEBS Count Day.

On these days the priority is counting.  My allocated sections are 7km of Grand Canal.  However, this does give me a monthly Swan Count.  The count finishes at the Grand Canal Basin and I was rewarded with a red cringed Great Black Backed Gull, again from the Dáil!



January 1st - New Years day.

This afternoon I drove around Ben Madigan Park in Drimnagh and immediately spotted another of our Gulls.

Herring Gull Red [264:D].  Ringed on the roof of a building on O'Connell Street in the center of Dublin, this was another first sighting.

However, I spotted yet another red Ring.  8:D was all I could see.  I waited till it moved and Herring Gull 148:D was recorded.  This is an exciting record as it is the 2nd time I have recorded it at this location.  Although the last time was November 26th, it does give an indication that there may be some pattern to their movement.


Out for half an hour on this bitterly cold morning.  I thought I'd try Grangecastle Business Park again.  Swan numbers are down to 6.  However, today I had more success with the large Gulls. 

On December 20th 2017 I had spotted an Isle of Man ring at this location, but that was on a Juvenile.   This is on a 3rd calendar year Herring Gull!  I rarely get any Isle of Man rings unless they are on Juveniles.

Isle of Man Orange Darvic R39:M

Great Black Backed 307:D.  Ringed on the roof of the Dáil.  In October I recorded it at Howth, which is 25km ENE of this location.



Herring Gull 005:D.  Not many were ringed on the roof of the Dáil, but this is another of those.  A first sighting since it was ringed.

Herring Gull 112:D.  Ringed on Irelands Eye by me!  This is the first sighting away from Ireland's Eye.