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Ring Watching At Antrim Marina: Unfortunate Dutch…


      Antrim Marina – Monday third October 2022       

My tenth weekly go to to Antrim Marina, noticed one other poor exhibiting by the Black-headed Gulls.  With over a 120 birds being current final Monday, general numbers current at anyone time in the present day by no means exceeded the 60 mark.  It was a uninteresting, cloudy day with a slight breeze and occasional spits of rain at first, however by 12:30 the rain got here on fairly closely.

On my arrival, about 50 Black-headed’s have been current, and numbers went up and down like a yoyo.  The color-ring of –  2CSR , was the primary to be learn at 09:05, with –  2FDK , being the eleventh ring learn at 09:38.  After this time, there have been massive gaps in ring sightings, with the nineteenth and last ring of –  2AAA , being learn at 12:03.  I am at all times glad to report –  2AAA , because it was the primary gull to be ringed belonging to Adam McClure’s former Northern Eire Examine.  At 9 years, 10 months and 21 days since being ringed, I am hoping –  2AAA  will surpass the ten 12 months mark.

After I arrived, I used to be looking out for 35 colour-rings which have been recorded to this point this autumn/winter, which incorporates one hen that was caught and ringed final month.  I had 16 absentees altogether in the present day, which is sort of a excessive quantity, and no new returnees have been recorded.

All in all, this go to was very gradual and boring.  Conversations with a few Antrim folks, noticed them telling me of excessive numbers of gulls in a few of the cities housing estates.  That is no good to me, as I can’t go spherical peoples homes searching for ringed birds.

Color Ringed Black-headed Gulls Recorded at Antrim Marina on Monday third October 2022

 2CSR   2FHX   2FFA   2FHV   2FHP   2CSB   2FIF 
 2FFF   2AAB   2FIA   2FDK   2CTC   2FFX   2FIK 
 2ABL   2AAK   2CJT   2ABN   2AAA     

Color Ringed Black-headed Gulls Recorded at Antrim Marina This Autumn/Winter however Absent As we speak

 2AAN   2ABA   2ABS   2ACV   2BRA   2CSA   2CSK   2CSL 
 2CSX   2FFC   2FFP   2FHA   2FHC   2FHJ   2FIH   2FIJ 

Different Birds at Antrim Marina

There have been no Mute Swans current once I arrived in the present day, however the common 4 cygnets arrived with out their dad and mom at 10:55.  They shortly got here handy for a feed of bread, and at 12:10, their dad and mom arrived.

Mallard numbers remained pretty static with round 50 on my arrival, with probably the identical quantity current once I departed simply after 12:30.

The one Widespread Gull seen throughout my go to, arrived at 09:33 and was nonetheless current once I departed.  Actually shocked by the shortage of visiting birds at this stage of the autumn season, and nonetheless no signal of the metal-rung Scottish hen.  No signal of the resident Herring Gull, however the one which appeared at 11:09, is more likely to be the identical hen that appeared right here final Monday.

A single Hooded Crow and simply 4 Jackdaws have been recorded, and a small flock of Lengthy-tailed Tits fed amongst the branches of the Crack Willow tree for a brief interval. 


      From Steven Fyffe and Suzanne Belshaw       

On the twenty ninth September 2022, I acquired an electronic mail from Steven Fyffe, which contained a number of pictures of a colour-ringed Black-headed Gull, noticed at Woman Bay, on Lough Neagh, Co. Antrim.  Steven thought the Orange ring might need learn – 1215 or probably 1715.  Trying by the sequence of pictures, I used to be certain that the colour-ring was Pink, however I couldn’t make out the code.  If it was a British-rung hen, the code would start with the quantity 2, which is the case for all colour-ringed British-rung Black-headed Gulls and Widespread Gulls – this I defined to Steven in my reply.  I recommended that the hen could possibly be Scottish, because the Borders Ringing Group, use Pink Darvics at their Elvanfoot web site in South Lanarkshire.

I additionally copied Suzanne Belshaw into my reply, with the hope that she would go to the location if she had time, and will maybe ‘nail’ this one.  Suzanne has a Nikon P900 digital camera, which like my Nikon P1000, can zoom out over lengthy distances.  Suzanne duly obliged, and on the next day discovered the gull at Woman Bay, and captured the code –  22L5 .  Having despatched an electronic mail to the challenge concerned and with no reply being acquired, I submitted the hen to the BTO by its colour-marks solely.

On the identical time, I submitted one other couple of ring sightings, and I’ve already acquired recoveries for these birds, however nothing for –  22L5 .  With it now being Friday seventh October, there’s nonetheless no phrase of a restoration for this hen, which makes me suppose, that the unique ringing particulars haven’t as but, been submitted to the BTO and subsequently a restoration can’t be generated.  In these circumstances, the BTO will contact the ringer or ringing group, to request the small print.

Black-headed Gull  –   22L5   –  Woman Bay, Lough Neagh, Co. Antrim  (30 Sep 2022)

(Ready for the Ringing Particulars)

(Photograph by Suzanne Belshaw)


      From Cameron Moore       

Cameron Moore has been in contact concerning a juvenile Herring Gull that he noticed on the Whitehead seafront in County Antrim.  Later, after the photograph arrived, I emailed Graham Prole who’s the ringing coordinator for the Irish Midlands Ringing Group.

 K09:D , was ringed as a chick, on the 18th June 2022, on Eire’s Eye Island in County Dublin, Republic of Eire.  21 days later, the gull was nonetheless on the island when noticed on the ninth July.  Cameron’s sighting on the first October 2022, comes 3 months and 13 days since being ringed.  The gap from Eire’s Eye to Whitehead, is 151 kms / 94 miles (N).

My because of Graham for supplying the small print, and to Cameron for his sighting report and photograph.  A few weeks in the past, Cameron was on the cellphone to me, to state that issues have been very quiet at Whitehead almost about ring sightings, particularly these of Sandwich Terns.  I’ve learn stories that some Sandwich Tern colonies have been severely affected by outbreaks of ‘Fowl Flu’, which can have had led to the shortage of birds noticed on passage this autumn.

Juvenile Herring Gull  –   K09:D   –  Whitehead, Belfast Lough, Co. Antrim  (01 Oct 2022)

(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2022, on Eire’s Eye Island, Co. Dublin, Republic of Eire)

(Photograph Courtesy of Cameron Moore)


      Dying of –  T61:D     

While searching by the European colour-ring Birding (cr-birding) Fb account, I got here throughout a photograph exhibiting the stays of a Juvenile Nice Black-backed Gull –  T61:D .  The entry date was given because the twenty second September 2022, however the photographer Hilary Thompson gave no particulars as to the place the hen was discovered.  Within the feedback, I requested for the situation of the discover, however haven’t discovered any reply.

The gull was ringed as a chick, on the 18th June 2022, on Eire’s Eye Island in County Dublin, within the Republic of Eire.  It is was first re-sighted by James Younger, on the twelfth September 2022, when the younger gull landed on his fishing boat, simply off the coast from Portavogie in County Down.  The period on the time, was 2 months and 25 days since being ringed, and the gap from Eire’s Eye, was 124 kms / 77 miles (NNE).  

I cannot add Hilary’s photograph, as I’ve not acquired permission so as to add it to this submit.  Trying on the photograph of –  T61:D  taken by James Younger, the hen seems to be completely wholesome, however on the newest, 10 days had handed when the gull was discovered lifeless.

Juvenile Nice Black-backed Gull  –   T61:D   –  At Sea, Portavogie, Co. Down  (12 Sep 20220

(Ringed as a Chick, on the 18th June 2022, on Eire’s Eye Island, Co. Dublin, Republic of Eire)

(Photograph Courtesy of James Younger)


      Ballykelly and Myroe Ranges       

On Saturday 1st October, and once more on Sunday 2nd October, I visited Ballykelly and the close by Myroe Ranges located on the shores of Lough Foyle in County Londonderry.  Saturday noticed robust winds with occasional heavy showers of rain, while Sunday was pretty calm.  Two weeks in the past, I recorded 10 colour-ringed gulls at these identical websites over two days, and having famous 1000’s of gulls, this spurred me on to have one other go searching for rings this weekend.

It grew to become a irritating two days, as having scoped many a whole bunch of legs, I solely discovered one colour-ringed hen on every day.  On Saturday, I discovered a colour-ringed Oystercatcher on the Myroe Ranges, and on Sunday, re-sighted a Black-headed Gull which I recorded at Ballykelly a fortnight in the past.

I took a really lengthy distance {photograph} of the Oystercatcher on the Myroe Ranges, which had it is steel ring positioned on the proper tibia, with one yellow ring on every tarsus.  I made a search on the Worldwide Wader Examine Group Database, so as to discover out the place this hen had come from.  The one match that I might discover, was that of a Spanish challenge, the place the yellow ring on the proper tarsus ought to have numerals inscribed onto it.

A Spanish Oystercatcher in Northern Eire didn’t appear proper to me, so I emailed Wader knowledgeable Richard de Fue, for his opinion.  Richard replied to say that this hen was more likely to be from the Waddensea space within the Netherlands, and each rings ought to have letters.  these rings, it might seem that the lettering has worn away.  Even at that, if the letters have been nonetheless current, I doubt if I might have captured them from the gap between the hen and myself.  Pity about this one, as it might have been my first Dutch Oystercatcher.

Color-Ringed Oystercatcher  –  Myroe Ranges, Lough Foyle, Co. Londonderry  (01 Oct 2022)

The Black-headed Gull that I re-sighted at Ballykelly was that of –  2JH7 .  Two weeks in the past, I first got here throughout this hen on the shore at Ballykelly, and in the present day it was feeding in a discipline simply inland from the identical shore.  I managed to seize the code, regardless of this being one of many longest distance pictures that I’ve ever taken, efficiently capturing the code.

 2JH7 , was ringed as an grownup male, on the twenty eighth February 2021, at Blackness Fort in Falkirk, Scotland.  My two sightings are the one ones for this hen, with the period since being ringed now being 1 12 months, 7 months and 4 days.  The gap to Ballykelly, is 246 kms / 152 miles (WSW).

Black-headed Gull  –   2JH7   –  Ballykelly, Lough Foyle, Co. Londonderry  (02 Oct 2022)

(Ringed as an Grownup Male, on the twenty eighth February 2021, at Blackness Fort, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland)

Two weeks in the past right here at Ballykelly, I noticed a Black-headed Gull colour-ringed –  2Y37 .  I submitted this hen by its colour-marks, however have but to obtain a restoration.  Nonetheless, whereas on my BTO DemOn account, I seen {that a} steel quantity had been added to my sighting, which meant the BTO has the ringing particulars, although a restoration has but to be despatched.  I used the steel quantity as if getting into a brand new sighting and located a ringing date – twelfth June 2021, with the hen having been ringed as a chick.

This ties in with two different Black-headed Gulls on my Ring Studying Spreadsheet –  2Y57  &  2Y52 , each having been recorded in Northern Eire.  All three of those gulls have been ringed as chicks, on the twelfth June 2021, on the Wildfowl & Wetland Belief Nature Reserve at Martin Mere, in Lancashire, England.

Regardless of not having a restoration, I used to be in a position so as to add the period and distance for –  2Y37 .  Noticed on the seventeenth September 2022, the period is now 1 12 months, 3 months and 5 days since being ringed, and the gap to Ballykelly, is roughly 314 kms / 195 miles (NW).



Chickadee Day and Life Lists


Yearly I rejoice March 2 as “Chickadee Day,” the anniversary of my seeing my first chickadee in 1975. This yr, a number of folks expressed shock that I nonetheless bear in mind the precise date I noticed that first chickadee, however that’s the day I began my life listing, and I would actually by no means seen a single chickadee within the 23 years earlier than then.  

Most birders, together with those that are most diligent about preserving lists of the birds they’ve seen, noticed chickadees and different frequent birds lengthy earlier than they began preserving a chook listing. Earlier than the eBird app, lots of people checked off the birds they’d seen on some type of guidelines card or in a favourite subject information, not bothering to enter dates for the on a regular basis species they’d already seen earlier than they grew to become severe about itemizing.   

After I began, I’d by no means recognized any wild birds besides pigeons, Home Sparrows, robins, cardinals, a single Blue Jay I’d seen after I was seven, and a pair of Sandhill Cranes who flew over our class on a subject journey at Rose Lake Wildlife Administration Space close to the Michigan State Campus someday round 1973. I’d by no means have had a clue what these extraordinary birds had been besides that our professor referred to as them out. They had been stunningly lovely and memorable, however I by no means thought to write down the date down.

Sandhill Crane

One thing about birds appeared so great and wonderful that when my mother-in-law gave me a subject information and binoculars for Christmas after I was 23, I made a decision that in contrast to my ordinary haphazard approach of doing issues, I used to be going to be extraordinarily diligent with chook watching. Earlier than I ever took my new binoculars exterior, I learn that Peterson information cowl to cowl, then learn each the Golden Information and Joseph Hickey’s A Information to Chook Watching. Two and a half months later, the day I got down to be a chook watcher, the one species I noticed was the chickadee, which remained alone on my life listing for 3 days, after I noticed Mallards on the Purple Cedar River. 4 days after that, I noticed each starlings and Home Sparrows. I’d seen cardinals all through my childhood however didn’t rely one on my life listing till that March 17. I noticed my first pigeons on the nineteenth, robins on the twentieth, and Blue Jays on the twenty third. The one remaining chook I’d already seen however didn’t have on my life listing was the Sandhill Crane. It took over two years, till April 30, 1977, for me so as to add that species, at Stevens Level in Wisconsin, after we’d left Michigan. It will be effectively over a decade earlier than I lastly noticed cranes once more in Michigan.

My daughter began a life listing in 1988 when she was 4, however she stored it up solely till she reached 50 species—the benchmark at which I’d promised her I’d give her a model new copy of the Nationwide Geographic Society Subject Information to Birds of North America. My older son Joe was by no means in the least considering preserving a life listing, and Tom wasn’t till, when he was six, I dragged Russ and the children to Grand Marais to see a particularly uncommon Fork-tailed Flycatcher on Could 6, 1992. 

Fork-tailed Flycatcher
I photographed this Fork-tailed Flycatcher in Mexico in 2006, however it seems just like the one we noticed in Grand Marais in 1992.

Once we bought to the place the flycatcher had most just lately been seen, two Canadian birders had been already looking. Once we discovered it, their triumphant exuberance, together with the truth that the chook actually was spectacular, impressed Tom to begin a life listing, too. However in contrast to his mom, Tom didn’t begin with this wonderful rarity as his Quantity One chook and go from there. I’d dragged him to an area wetland that very morning after we noticed some birds on the feeder, so he began his life listing with these, placing the flycatcher at round #25. It had taken me over 2 months to get my very own life listing that lengthy.

However that’s the purpose. There isn’t a proper, or incorrect, method to maintain a life listing. Now most birders, together with me, put their sightings into Cornell’s eBird app and let the software program maintain monitor, offering invaluable knowledge for ornithologists and different scientists in addition to private pleasure for the person birder. However even utilizing eBird isn’t a requirement to be a chook watcher. So long as you get pleasure from watching birds, as my birding pal Erik Bruhnke says, it’s all good.  

Grandma showing Walter a chickadee
Will Walter maintain a life listing? Solely time will inform.


What Are 12 BEST Chicken Baths In 2023? (I personal #5!)



What’s the greatest chook bathtub for my yard?

This can be a frequent query requested by many chook feeding lovers. Sadly, it’s not one that’s straightforward to reply.

The issue is that birdbaths are available MANY totally different kinds, colours, and supplies and there are HUNDREDS of choices accessible to buy.

For instance, are you on the lookout for an ornamental bathtub in the midst of your backyard? Or do you want a water supply that attaches to your deck?

On this submit, I’m sharing 12 totally different chook baths so that you can take a look at. I attempted to incorporate a big number of totally different kinds and kinds, with the hope that you will discover a product that matches your particular desires and wishes.

Right here is how my record of the 12 BEST chook baths is organized:

I hope you get pleasure from and discover the proper birdbath. On the very least, I believe you’ll get pointed in the fitting route!

Pedestal Birdbaths: (4 choices)


When somebody photos a birdbath, a pedestal bathtub is what most individuals consider first.


To me, they’ve the “traditional” or “conventional” birdbath look, which is a spherical bowl supported by a sturdy pedestal. The typical top off the bottom is often round three ft.


best bird baths

View Right this moment’s Value


This chook bathtub incorporates a easy design, which features a primary steel stand that helps the water bowl. This product is ideal if you would like a low value and aren’t on the lookout for one thing fancy to brighten your backyard. Are you able to say, minimalist?


One good characteristic about this product is that you could warmth the water! Within the chilly winter months, you’ll be able to plug the tub in to maintain the water from freezing. Having an open-source of water in freezing temperatures is a superb option to appeal to birds in winter.


Listed below are another notable options:


  • Thermostatically managed (150 watts of energy) that ought to hold the water between 40-50 levels Fahrenheit. The included wire is comparatively brief (15 inches), so you will want to buy an out of doors extension wire too.


  • The bowl has a textured floor and rim that’s specifically designed to assist a chook’s talons grasp and land.


  • The diameter of the bowl measures 20 inches throughout and a couple of inches deep. The stand measures 30 inches excessive.


View Value – Amazon


This birdbath is a strong addition to any yard. It offers the looks of a giant, concrete bathtub, however it’s truly solely ten kilos! The sunshine weight makes it EASY to maneuver and clear.


And talking of straightforward cleansing, the water basin may be eliminated, which lets you take the highest to your hose for scrubbing and hosing.


Perhaps the very best half about this birdbath is that it’s heated! A built-in extension wire runs up the center of the pedestal. The heater (120 watts) is thermostatically managed. One good characteristic is that the facility wire may be hidden whereas the heater is just not in use.

  • Farm Innovators features a 3-year guarantee on this heated birdbath! Please click on right here to learn extra particulars.


best glass bird baths

View costs on Amazon!

Pink Glass   |   Hummingbird


Each of those glass chook baths are the identical, aside from the actual fact they characteristic totally different designs. I believe I’m keen on the gorgeous pink glass, however I do know many individuals can’t resist one thing with hummingbirds. 🙂


Having both of those baths in your flower backyard would make an ideal ornament, along with offering a water supply for birds. In truth, this product may also be displayed indoors!


The glass bowl is 14.25 inches in diameter and the stand reaches about 22 inches excessive. In case you don’t like both of those designs, ensure to see a bunch extra by the identical firm, Grateful Gnome, HERE.



View costs on Amazon!

Copper   |   Inexperienced


I included this product as a result of, for an reasonably priced value, you get a lovely wanting birdbath (that works). I just like the vintage copper end, however in the event you don’t, it additionally is available in inexperienced.


The tub is constructed from resin, which implies it’s weather-resistant and can assist protect its classic look. The development can be tremendous sturdy, and it shouldn’t break if it by chance falls.