Whew!! Heading off to England for a week tomorrow, and realising how useless I am at maintaining this blog lark!!
So, what's been happening?
With apologies to those of you who have sent in other stories of interest:
With the luxury of two (Stuart Bearhop and Kerry Mackie) canon-netters present, the first catch of the season was carried out, on the traditionally more difficult inter-tidal zones at Strangford Lough, on 04 November 2015. Catch site was Cross Island (for those of you who know your old stones, it's on the way down to Nendrum Abbey) and a respectable 11 birds were caught. More importantly, these 11 birds included 7 young. This is important, as the young become birds of "known age". To date, one of these families has been recorded, the other yet to be - perhaps you'll be the first to do so?
On the Moray coast, Bob Proctor continues his almost daily records of 36WW, one of our birds, with an unringed mate and 2 young. What makes this of particular interest is that there is a single juvenile, the only other bird nearby, which sometimes seems to be accepted by the family, at other times not. Currently, as of today, the message appears to be not. An interesting insight into possible adoption, initially sparked off by Patricia Watson, who had a pair with 8 juveniles!!
Then there is 2DRR. I recorded it the day after ringing, in March 2013, as having a speckled breast, and wondered would that continue following moult. The answer to this is a resounding yes! Variably recorded as leucistic since then, I was delighted to again report it from Pig Island, Strangford Lough on 02 November 2015 as "having a speckled breast". So clearly these plumage aberrations are not a one-season wonder. That is based upon this bird, but we have unfortunately not caught many of these untypical birds.
Bruce Taylor reports 4ARR, a Dublin-ringed bird, staying on the Isle of Barra between 31 October 2015 and 03 November 2015. Usually these birds are "Scottish islanders" due to weather conditions on their way in to the main wintering grounds, but it possibly indicates that there are more birds yet to arrive.
Finally, today, as part of my WeBS count on the southern shores of Strangford Lough, I recorded 222 brent geese (none there last month), and managed to read 10 ringed birds located out on one of the roost islands. The southern area holds the most of the geese which stay on Strangford Lough for the remainder of the winter, so perhaps this is an indicator that birds are moving nearer you (if you live away from Strangford Lough, of course!!)