Thursday, 1 March 2018

March 2018 - Looking for Hens Teeth!

18th March

The snow is back!  Thankfully not as heavy as two weeks ago but it is March!  Nothing significant until Tymon Park when I saw a Tall metal on a Black-headed Gull.  Out with the camera a 100 photos later the last digit obtained!  I have never seen a Darvic from Finland, but I read a couple of metal rings annually.  I was expecting that it would be ST277.383, but surprised with a new bird. 

13th March

The probable Yellow Legged Gull was in Sean Walsh Park today.

Darker mantle on Yellow Legged Gull on Right.

11th March

I was driving passed Sandyford Inductrial Estate and over 100 large gulls on a roof - Not a single ring among them!

Hens don't have teeth.  Looking for Hens teeth, is looking for something that isn't there.  This is what looking for our 242 red ringed gulls feels like.  I am getting sightings from Arklow (60km south) Northern Ireland (100km North), and Great Black-backed in Wales and Cornwall!  However, I am getting no sightings in Dublin.

Today I did the I-Webs count, postponed from last weekend due to the snow.  I had no sooner started than sitting on a lamppost was a Ringed Billed Gull!

The one that got away was a 2nd CY Black-headed Gull with a  Green ring.  All I could see was the last 2 digits C2.  It flew off and it wasn't relocated.

The count was uneventful, there are still 81 Mute Swans on the Canal, they will probably disperse over the next month. Norwegian Black-headed Gull JC38 was recored at Portobello

At the end of the count I spotted a Herring Gull on a lamp post.  Out with the camera and I recorded the full code.

10th March

Bray Harbour - Usually good for a coloured ring or two.  The Recent storm stripped all the sand from the swimming beach and dumped it in the Harbour.  Contractors were moving it back by the truck load!  The disturbance had only minor effect on the Gulls and Swans.  Read 18 Swan rings excluding the one on a poster for a talk I am giving next Tuesday!

There on the beach was a Glaucous Gull.  It seems that these Arctic Gulls are more common than the Juveniles from Dublin!

On to Bullock Harbour which has been damaged by the storms.  Plenty of Adult Great Black-backed Gulls and two blue rings recorded, but no red rings.

On to Davitt Road and Ben Madigan Park.  No Gull rings recorded but read 18 Mute Swan rings.  40 rings in total read today but still can't find any of our Dublin Gulls - they seem to have vanished with the snow!

9th March

Grangecastle Business Park was for a time a good place to record our Gulls, so I tried this lunch time.  Plenty of Herring Gull Juveniles, in fact plenty of Gulls including another Iceland.  No coloured rings.

8th March

No Colour ringed Gulls today.  The Iceland Gull was among all the Juvenile and Adult Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  But no Dublin Red rings.

7th March

At the Stadium end of the park I spotted a Juvenile Herring Gull with a metal!  Some of the pulli we ringed last year got metal only.  Could I have last found one of our birds?  Out with the camera.  I took a few shots of the ring but I never got within 20m before it took off.  However, I uploaded the photos and considered if I had the full code.  I consulted with Gareth Platt, a fellow ring reader and he is of the same opinion, the code is GV13804.  This is again not a Dublin bird!

GV13804 - Difficult, but not impossible to read with image intensifiers!

6th March

The Park is still white but the ice has receded and no gulls in the usual lake.  On an adjacent roof top I spotted a Green ring.  I assumed it was 2ACA even though it was 60m from its territory.  I took a photo to record this new behavior and realised it was a Norwegian Black Headed Gull.  I walked nearer and took a final photo.  So good is the zoom I was able to read 3 digits of the metal.

There has only been one previous sighting since ringing and that was in Holland.  I wonder if the cold front "The beast from the East" has pushed it further west.  Future sightings will hopefully reveal all.

Black-headed Gull J25X.

5th March

Many areas still frozen but the lakes are beginning to thaw.  However the Gulls are on soft snow and sink quickly, not great for ring reading.  In Sean Walsh Park, at the stadium I spotted the top of a ring sticking up.  I moved to higher ground and photographed the following.

All I could see was ?Y42.  VY42 was ringed in 2014 as a Pullis in Denmark.  I first recorded in in November 2014 at Bray Harbour.  I recorded it again in Sean Walsh Park in March 2016 and again in November 2016.  This is only my 4th sighting in 4 years.

4th March

Bit of a thaw today but still the lakes are frozen.  I stopped into Sean Walsh Park and checked the gulls.  Most were on the water.  I idled a while watching a kingfisher.  Unusual to see one in Winter as they presumably go to the coast, maybe it came back to start nesting and didn't expect snow in March?

Of the gulls standing on the ice only the Black Headed Gull 27H0 was recorded.

3rd March

Snowed in!  Spent most of the day digging my car out - again!  Walked to the shops and stopped in Tymon Park.  The frozen lakes allowed all Gulls to be easily checked and some Swans

Mute Swan CAVI out on the ice.

The find of the day was among the Mediterranean Gulls, a German ring that I hadn't seen before and I don't think has been recorded in Dublin before.  Reply quickly obtained from Andreas, prompt as always.  Ringed as an adult on the Polish Border in 2016.  This was a first sighting since ringed!!

Mediterranean Gull ANJS preening on the ice.

Plenty of other birds around with the snow such as Redwing, Fieldfare and Wigeon
Wigeon on the ice in Tymon Park

1st March - Glaucous Gull - Larus Hyperboreus

The weather continues to deteriorate in Dublin.  The worst snow storm since 1982 is expecting to hit and the government is requesting no one to go out this evening!  However, a quick 10 minute trip to the park at lunchtime and other hardy birders were also out.  The Glaucous Gull didn't disappoint and I am sure most observed it.  The 3rd Winter Iceland was also present and there were 150+ large gulls, Herring, Lesser black-backed and Great Black Backed of all ages and subspecies.  No rings at all observed today but the strong winds and snow meant most were on the water and very few were checked for rings.  With 40cm of snow due tonight, not sure if I can go to work (and the Park) tomorrow.