Sunday, 5 September 2010

My name is Nathalie and I'm addicted to reading bird rings

My apologies... Another post mostly about colour-ringed gulls...

I was doing my patch walk by the Thames yesterday as I often do on a Saturday morning and getting increasingly annoyed by 2 guys in kayaks. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt, but they kept on getting close to shore or alighting at the pier and pontoon. It was close to high tide and then birds have very little space to go to, which is good for me if I want to check for rings, but not that good as a lot of the birds just bugger off to the Wetland Centre. I had just got to Crabtree Wharf before them and had (thankfully) just finished counting the cormorants there (21) when one of the kayaks decided to hold onto the Wharf and all the cormorants and most of the gulls flew away. Nearly all the cormorants ended up going to the Wetland Centre, the gulls landed on the river but some came back. I locked onto a preening Black-headed Gull with a red ring. I didn't even need to check my notes this time to know I had already seen it as it has a pretty memorable code: A1 :)

I saw this gull in pretty much the same spot on 22 September 2009 and had a reply the same day form the ringer, Frank Majoor, that the bird had "been ringed as a first winter bird in November 2006 in Hilversum, a town in the Netherlands, some 30 km south-east of Amsterdam and 25 km north of Utrecht, according to Wikipedia". This makes it a 4 year old bird.

While I was taking photos, a 'friend' arrived saying "See, I've got a ring too!" and, yes, it had... Slightly broken, but still legible, and not one I had seen before: white CC1H. Checking the colour-ringing site told me afterwards that this bird should be from Finland. I have reported it, I'll blog the result if and when I get it.

Then I noticed that there was 1 Cormorant left and recognised it immediately. Unfortunately not because it had a ring but because it has some netting around its neck. I saw it a few times last year around October and November but had not seen it since and was beginning to wonder.

If you compare the photos with last year's you can see the netting is pretty much unchanged, that's sturdy stuff :(

Doesn't look too comfortable swallowing...

More photos of the gulls, as well as 2 oldish Tufted Ducklings, the first I have seen on the river, in my gallery.

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