Sunday 6 January 2019

Other Ringing and Recoveries

I updated on our ringing activities since early summer at both Portstewart Strand and Lough Neagh in previous posts but we weren't just limited to those sites. Through this time we continued our summer Storm Petrel ringing, seven/eight trips to Copeland Bird Observatory between us and a few other bits a pieces.

There was another new species for the group in Grey Heron caught by Ken and James on the 9th of June. Usually when river ringing we are fearful of these massive brutes blundering into the nets and ripping them to shreds but on this occasion it stuck with out any damage to the bird or net and was extracted quickly. Handling Grey Herons is a two man job so no pictures were taken.

One of the nicest birds in this time was this stunner of a Long-eared Owl caught at the University campus in Coleraine by John and Ken on the 4th of July.
Long-eared Owl

We had our first Long-eared Owl recovery but in unfortunate circumstances. One of the chicks ringed at the University campus back in 2011 (pictured below) was hit by a car on the 13th of June this year around 9.5 miles away near the town of Ballymoney. Although sad circumstances, it is interesting to see the dispersals of the birds.

The Storm Petrel season was a poor one yet again and it really is on a downward trend and so to is effort because of it. This year it was just the three visits with catches of 5, 16 & a control and 17 & a Redshank.

As well as our control, we had two birds recovered making it a hat-rick of bird observatories.

The controlled Storm Petrel was ringed at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory, Orkney, Scotland on the 2nd of August 2018 and controlled by us 18 days later at Rinnagree Point at a distance of 529km.
North Ron is one of those enviable observatories that see and catch what we would deem rare by the bucket load - check their blog out here -

A Storm Petrel ringed by us Rinnagree Point on the 17th July 2017 was caught at Skokholm Bird Observatory, Pembrokeshire, Wales on the 11th August 2018.  398 km distance and 390 days.
Skokholm, like North Ron, makes us very jealous and we'd love just a fraction of their birds! Visit their blog  -

The final bird was one of our 2016 birds ringed on the 1st of August which was retrapped at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory on the 9th of June this year. We have never caught a bird before the 1st of July so perhaps these guys have picked up breeder (which arrive earlier) on route to its breeding site. I'm not sure if they breed on the Calf again yet after the recent eradication of rats. 174km distance and 677 days.
You can keep up to date with these guys on Facebook -

Storm Petrel Movements

I haven't updated the Storm Petrel control maps or info in a while but you can click on the tabs above to check out all the other movements.

This control isn't particularly impressive but considering I just caught my first Greenfinch retrap a few weeks ago, it is nice to see where they go. The said bird was ringed at Castlerock on the 7th of Jan 2018 and found dead by a member of the public 4km away in Articlave on the 15th of May 2018, dead within a week. It was presumably breeding along the local hedgerows which are quite good and hold a population of Yellowhammers, the only decent one I'm aware of in the wider area.

Back in March I updated about the ringing in Kens garden and the good numbers of Siskins and a brilliant control all the way from Cape Clear Bird Observatory 454 km at the very south of Ireland. ( The Siskins continued to visit and 78 new birds were captured. One of these birds itself was then controlled elsewhere making its way to Salsburgh, North Lanarkshire, Scotland. It was originally ringed on the 13th of March and recaptured on the 6th of May - 54 days apart, 193km away. This is the second of our Siskins that has been controlled at this same site following one from my parents garden in the Loughan a few years back.

Siskin to North Lanarkshire 

I've finished with a picture of the Portstewart Strand Cuckoo just because its a stonker bird!

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