Sunday, 2 April 2017

April 2017 - Mute Swan Cygnets April 24th

April 29th 

A busy day checking Mute Swan nests, but still only 3 nests hatched,  which is normal for the end of April.

However, a visit to Howth, produced a surprising ring sighting.  In 2013, I colour ringed 4 Great Black Backed Gull Pullus.  I had not seen any of them since today.  Great Black Backed Gull, 3EK made a very brief and very welcome appearance.

Larus Marinus, Great Black Backed Gull at Howth Harbour.

April 24th

First Cygnets were Sean Walsh Park in Tallaght, where all 8 eggs have hatched.

April 22nd

This month has been Swans Swans and More Swans.  Reports of nests and our yellow coloured ringed Mute Swans are most welcome. 
However, while out and about I am always on the look out for birds from other projects.  Today at Broadmeadows there were lots of Common Sandpipers including this Coloured Ringed individual.

/OM/ /RR/ Common Sandpiper at Broadmeadows
At Balbriggan where I was looking for an apparent resident pair of Swans, I had no luck with the Swans but I did record this Great Black backed Gull.

Ringed in 2013 on Irelands Eye, I haven'r recorded it since 2014!  All other sightings have been at Howth Harbour.


The Cormorant that I read the metal ring of last month has come back at ringed 06/06/2002 on Lambay Island off the north Dublin coast. 32Km from ringing site.  Once again it was ringed by Oscar Merne.

April 2nd

A RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) is a methodology, where annual adult survival rates can be calculated.  As we use coloured rings we don't have to re trap any swan, we can just read the rings.  From April 1st to September 31st, I (with the assistance of a team of ring readers) try and record every Swan in the survey area.  Saturday was day one, and although I saw a lot of swans most were in long grass on the island at Broadmeadows.

Mute Swans at Broadmeadows
Using my new Nikon P900 meant that I got rings read, a few more that just using my old 500mm lens, but the battery like all new electronics doesn't last and today I went out and bought a 2nd battery!

I also visited Howth as I was quite near.  I was now using my old camera - Lucky I had a back up! Only 7 rings read.  I think all the adults are either on Nests or holding territory.
Light Bellied Brent on the Islands at Broadmeadows.
 I went back to Broadmeadows and read some more Swans.  They were slightly more obliging .  I also read some Brent.  This one HXRB hadn't been recorded in Dublin this year.  Ringed in 2007, it's life history is relatively short compared to most Brent
Mute Swans on the Grand Canal
An afternoon trip to the Grand Canal and another 10 read.  I also got reports from Bray and Newbridge, so 61 Swans recorded by day 2.  Hopefully another 200 to follow!

Monday, 13 March 2017

March 2017 - BTO Cormorant

March 18th

Brent Geese appear more common in North Dublin.  I was out at my boys football match and stopped briefly.  Photographed 14 sets of rings (from the car) in only a few minutes before I had to carry on.

View from the car where I photographed the rings on the Brent!

In the afternoon I had half an hour at Bullock Harbour.  Two colour ringed Great Black Backed Gulls.  1JK was at Howth in February.
Great Black Backed Gull 1JK
 However, 2KV is bird of the day.  This Great Black backed Gull was ringed in 2009 on Irelands eye.  I only saw it once last year, so great to see it alive and well.
Great Black Backed Gull 2KV

March 17th - St Patricks Day

Swan ringing again this morning!

March 13th

It has been very quiet on the ring reading front, partly due to my own ringing activities and time spent trying to locate Mute Swan nests.  Today there were Cormorants, as usual, at Grange Castle Business Park. One was metal ringed and although it was standing on the weir in the center of the lake I have a new camera, a Nikon P900.  This gives me more Zoom (x84).  So I went about walking around the lake photographing it from every angle.  Bingo - Full code read.  With this new ability to read Cormorant rings at 30m I will be able to see if the same Cormorants use this lake annually or are they just passing through.
Cormorant with BTO ring 5225726

Saturday, 18 February 2017

February 2017 - Early Swan Nesting

27th February

Herring Gull LBBW[0LP] is in Tallaght.  What is interesting is that this is a Pelagic nesting Herring Gull as opposed to an Urban nesting Herring Gull. This is another sighting of an Irelands Eye Herring Gull at this location and it is 10km to the coast and 22km from Irelands Eye.  

26th February

It is only February and already the first Swan egg has been laid!

First Mute Swan nest of the Season, already with 1 egg!

Mute Swan CABA is first Swan recorded nesting in 2017
Mute Swan LBYN[CABA] : A Brief History

CABA nested in Tymon Park in 2015 and with CAAT and successfully raised cygnets.
In 2015 CAAT was killed (in a territorial dispute). 
In 2016, CABA nested with an un-ringed female at a different location in Tymon Park, and although cygnets hatched they were all gone the following week.  CABA and an un-ringed female (could be the same one) are in a new location 6km away.  Nest Record Card already started!

Black Headed Gulls
The increase of my sightings of Norwegian Black Headed Gulls, I believe, is down to the increase of Coloured Ringing in Norway.  Their reporting system, which gives the reporter instant access to life histories, but does not require individual replies, allows the ringers to colour ring in large numbers without being inundated with sightings to reply to.  However, I am still the first person to see J5TZ in Ireland.  

With the Great Black Backed Gulls there have been two interesting sightings.  1PH is a code that would have been used in 2012.  I didn't know the code had been used until an adult was photographed at Howth

Great Black Backed Gull 1PH

The Great Black Backed Gull 1JK was not reported at all last year but has turned up this year.
Nice to know it is still alive.  

18th February

I am not ring watching at the moment due to small injury but I am so lucky that other fantastic observers are sending me in reports of their sightings.  I also got this superb photo from Michael Linehan today of our project Swan CAPX taking off at Broadmeadows, Swords.
Mute Swan CAPX - Photo rights Michael Linehan

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January 2017 - E5VA returns

January 29th

Today I started in Bullock Harbour, no rings.  Sandycove - no rings.  Dun Laoghaire - No rings. So I went to Booterstown Strand to read some oystercatchers.  I also read a med gull I haven't seen before.
Dublin Bay Oystercatcher Coloured Ring VP

Dublin Bay Oystercatcher Coloured Ring BN
Mediterranean Gull + Yellow Ring 2XE7 

January 19th

It is so mild for winter, with day time temperatures reaching 10 degrees.  The Black Headed Gull numbers are fluctuating in the park from between 200 and 1,000.  Today the numbers were around the 250 mark but there were 2 coloured rings.  E5VA from Holland turned up again as did 27H0 from England.  Still waiting for many of the annually seen Gulls to make an appearance.

Black Headed Gull E5VA from Holland

Black Headed Gull 27H0 from Gloucestershire

January 15th

It has been a quiet month for rings, mainly as I have been focusing on my swan project.  However today I went to Sandycove on the Dublin coast.  The only Colour ringed bird I could find was a Med Gull.  This Dublin ringed Mediterranean Gull is now known to be nesting in Germany. It is amazing the data that can be collected by colour ringing.

January 5th

Today I went first to Fr Collins Park and read some swans.  Only 4 Cygnets present so one has possibly moved on.  The off to Howth, where 4 CR Herring Gulls were recorded and one Great Black Backed Gull.
Herring Gull 0LJ at Howth

Herring Gull 0MC at Howth

CADV at Broadmeadows.  One of 35 swan rings read at this location

Mute Swan
My Bird of the day was a Swan with a Richard Collins ring.  I got --806 last week so delighted to get the full code.  Haven't seen it before so it must be recently ringed!

January 4th

I was planning to go to Tymon Park at lunch time, but decided to try Sean Walsh Park yet again .  I spotted two Black Headed Gulls with white rings on street lights.  The first was 27H0 from England that is present most days,  The Second was White[E5VA]! A welcome return of this Dutch Black Headed Gull.

Having first observed it as a Juvenile in January 2012, it has returned to Ireland each winter.  However its pattern has changed over the years.
It has been spending less time in Sean Walsh Park each year.

My Park sightings of E5VA

02-01-2012 - 02-03-2012           12 sightings
22-10-2012 - 19-03 -2013          27 sightings
21-07-2013 - 22-02-2014           29 sightings
05-11-2014 - 16-12-2014            3 sightings
24-08-2015 - 24-08-2015            1 sighting

I did not record it at all in 2016!  I know it has been in Dublin, as it has been recorded at the evening roost on the beach.  Fantastic to record it it back in the park- but how many times will I see it again this winter?

Saturday, 3 December 2016

December 2016 Happy New Year - New Gull

December 31st

I took my boys to Broadmeadows and challanged them to see who could read the most Swan rings! Between us we read 35 different Swan Rings!  As there were only 49 Swans and some were unringed, I reckon we got them all!

December 30th

Today at lunch I went looking for the Yellow ringed Black Headed Gull 217G, but instead got a new Darvic ring at Tallaght Community School.  
Iain replied very quickly that it was ringed at Elvanfoot, South Lanarkshire in 2014!  Why have I not seen it before!  I did see a red ring last winter but failed to read it, probably the same bird.  No other sightings since ringing.  It is their first project BHG reported from Dublin.

December 25th

A short Christmas day walk at Sandycove.  Very busy with the Traditional Christmas day swim.  The water temperature is probably above 10 degrees as it has been so mild recently.  Anyway lots of Med and Black Headed Gulls, but only 2 colour rings recorded.  Where are they all hiding?
Mediterranean Gull 2XK2 was a first sighting for me!

December 19th

At Sean Walsh Park, the Danish Black Headed Gull VY42 made a brief appearance.  The photo isn't good enough to post, I will try again tomorrow to get a better shot.  

December 18th

Today I spotted a CR Godwit.  I watched it for 30 minutes and it wouldn't put it's other leg down.  Eventually the tide covered the rings and I never saw the other leg.  I assume it is RO-OZ who has been sighted around this area.

On the way home I passed through Sandyford Industrial Estate and checking out the roofs spotted a CR Herring Gull from Irelands Eye.  Although only ringed this year I have not recorded it before

December 3rd

I-Webs this morning which means my focus is on counting, but I do keep an eye out for Coloured Rings.  At Harolds X, I spotted a Green Ring, Quickly identified as Norwegian. However too far away to read accurately so out with the camera.  To my surprise it is one I haven't recorded before.  So I came home and input into the Norwegian Website with instant access to it's life history!

Ringed in 2014 as an adult it has never before been reported from Ireland.  Another 1st for me.

Norwegian Black Headed Gull JC38 at Harolds X

Saturday, 5 November 2016

November 2016 - Reading Brent Rings

November 27th

Read 13 Swans at Portobello, early this morning - nothing startling although a couple I hadn't seen since they were ringed.  I traveled across the city to Bull Island to have a look for CR Waders.  I read some Brent Geese rings while I was looking through waders.  They were in the long Grass and when photographing Brent, it takes a lot of shots before you get each one with both rings showing!

Brent CLBY (CL, Blue Yellow)
Uning my car as a hide, I did see one Black tailed Godwit but it took off as soon as i had spotted it.  The record shot I think is inconclusive. It looks like RL Blue LL Orange over Green.

I read another 14 Swan rings at Broadmeadows before stopping at Fr Collins Park on the way home.  Bird of the day is this Norwegian Black Headed Gull,  Although annually a regular at this location, my first sighting this winter.

November 26th

Reading Swans again today.  Some times it takes ages to read them, other times they are most obliging! Maganed to only read 14 today which is low by my standard - but I only had 30 minutes.
CAKN on the Grand Canal Dublin

November 20th

At Bullock Harbour there were plenty of Gulls, but only one coloured ring.  0JH was ringed in 2010 and was a regularly seen Herring Gull at this location, but I hadn't seen it since February 2016.
Herring Gull 0JH at Bullock Harbour

November 13th

The weekend was spent reading Swan rings.  But I do keep a look out for CR Gulls or anything else with a coloured ring.  At Broadmeadows Estuary I did spot two Brent Geese with not only Coloured Rings but GPS Collars as well.

Brent Geese at Broadmeadows Estuary.

November 11th

Sean Walsh Park has been very quite for rings this year.  But today a new juvenile appeared.  Blue 2L38.  It is my first from this project in the North West of England.  I have emailed off the details and await the reply

November 5th 

Today was the Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Conference at Oxford Island on Lough Neagh so a day without ring reading - almost.  At Lunch time I nipped around to Kinnego Marina to see if any of the Northern Ireland Black Headed Gull study birds were around.  We read 3 Coloured rings and a metal ring and back in time to hear about "Brexit, the uncertainty, threats and opportunities"! Once again a great conference.  My thank to the organisers.
NI Black Headed Gull 2BPN

November 3rd

I was away with my family so no birding - almost.  Driving along Salt Hill Prom in Galway I spotted a flock of Brent on the Beach.  I quickly pulled over and grabbed my Camera.  36 Brent and 1 with Coloured rings.  BYCX was in Strangford Lough in October and interestingly had gone to Galway last year as well.

When I say no birding almost, we were heading into Galway to eat and happened to Park beside Nimmo's Pier (I was driving).  Quick scan of some Gulls and Camera out as a yellow ring spotted.
201H had been spotted over 50 times at this location before, but a first for me.