Tuesday 16 August 2016

PSS Ringing + Blawit and BHG Recoveries

John, Dineka and I were out again on Sunday morning in what were forecast to be perfect conditions.  We were on site for around 06.15 and set the usual nets minus the yet to be cleared West Ride.  Unfortunately the forecast proved wrong and we were hit with a prolonged spell of misty rain.  We waited it out for over an hour as the forecast maintained there would be no rain and took down a few of the furthest nets.
There were a few new birds about in the bushes with a couple of calling Willow Warbler, Song Thrush, Goldcrest and Blackbird.  Other birds around included the first arrival of Snipe with c25 feeding on the open mudflats, a single Great Crested Grebe and a flock c30 SwallowsBlackcaps were again conspicuous in their absence with no birds heard or seen for a few weeks now.  At this time of year we would expect to catch 4/5 birds per session so it may hint at a poor breeding year.  Any Blackcaps we catch from now to December are quite possibly migrants from elsewhere.  The few Willow Warblers we heard today are likely to be the last of the year.       


Despite the rain stopping play we managed to catch a nice mixed bag of birds, if not numbers and it was clear that there were some birds moving with the capture of our second Whitethroat for the year and site (they don't breed at PSS), plus a juvenile Stonechat and Sedge Warbler.  We also managed a new ringing tick for the site in the form of a Pied Wagtail.  There are usually a few pairs around the estuary although they don't often venture near the nets.  We also get autumn movements of White Wagtails but they tend to stick to the mudflats.  The feeders failed to attract many birds but they are still being heavily used so I'll put that one down to the weather. 

Portstewart Strand 14/08/2016                                     
                                       New     Retraps
Bullfinch                          1
Dunnock                          1
Goldfinch                         5           
Lesser Redpoll                                 2
Meadow Pipit                   1
Pied Wagtail                     1
Reed Bunting                   1
Robin                                1                        

Sedge Warbler                  1
Song Thrush                      2
Stonechat                          1
Whitethroat                       1
Wren                                 1

Total                                17             2        

Pied Wagtail

Gary from the Northern Ireland Black-headed Gull survey has been out ring reading on the North Coast and has picked up the first mover from the Black-headed Gull chicks ringed at Inch this year.  Surprisingly it was one of the 39 birds ringed on the 8th of June without a colour ring that he spotted at the East Strand, Portrush (in our broader local patch); 34 miles from Inch.
With 122 birds now bearing colour rings we are expecting a number of recoveries and it will hopefully paint a better picture of the winter movements of these birds.  Whilst out, Gary also picked up the returning BHG from Finland at Christie Park, Coleraine plus a partial ring read on a Sandwich Tern - DK6678#  Ring a bell to anyone?

Black-headed Gull movement

The ringing details of the latest colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit have arrived and it is the second bird we have picked up from Charente Maritime, Moëze (A) on the west coast of France, roughly 30km south of La Rochelle. 
It was ringed on the 7th of March 2009 as a 2+ year female and sighted on the Bann Estuary 2613 days later at a distance of 686 miles.  The bird was re-sighted three times around the Moëze area  - 24/08/2010, 08/03/3012 and 07/12/2012.  It was also sighted in Conyer, Kent (B) in England on the 14th of October 2011 and located exactly a month later on the north coast of France near Pontorson (C), 214 miles away.     

Colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwit Movement

Details of the last bird from Moëze are available from the post on the 12th of May 2015 -

We plan to have our first go at catching roosting Swallows this Thursday so hopefully there are birds about.  Once we finish up with the Swallows we plan to head to Rinnagree for another Storm Petrel session.

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