Thursday, 13 September 2018

Things Now Really on the Move...

Latest reports on the geese are as follows:
At the North end of Strangford Lough this evening on receding HW, Alex Portig (the counter!!) and myself recorded about 6,000 birds now present. Despite good conditions for reading towards dusk, we only managed to identify seven ringed birds, as they continue to be WAY out on the mudflats following the tide. No families recorded, despite large samples being examined.
However, the first family this winter (3 juveniles) has now been recorded, and came from the Isle of Rum from Sean Morris, the family including a marked bird which had lost a ring.
From the nearby Isle of Skye, a small group of 13 adult brent held 3 marked birds, reported by regular observers Martin Benson and Bob McMillan.
Christine Cassidy and Lindsay Hodges also recorded the first ringed birds from Lough Foyle, in a flock of about 120 geese at Ballykelly.
The new season is clearly under way................

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Today's Report...

Alex Portig was out at the north end of Strangford Lough again today, and reports a significant influx:
South of Sewage Works: 1,000
Storm Outfall at Patton's: 500
Floodgates: 230
Castle Espie: 150
So, numbers now up to about 2,000 birds, but currently no easier to ring-read!!

Friday, 7 September 2018

Not Much Happening on Strangford Lough...

Recent monitoring at the north end of Strangford Lough indicates that migration proper has yet to start. Alex Portig and myself have been taking a look every few days, but numbers appear to be hovering around the same (300 - 400) since my last post.

This is the usual scene at this state of the season - Alex on his bike, able to easily negotiate the 3 km+ long bank, and myself plus my dog, Bonzo on foot definitely less able!! The photograph, taken a couple of days ago, illustrates the extreme distances we are trying to read across - the birds here can (only just, as mini-dots!) be seen way out on the mudflats near the water's edge. Heat-haze is constantly an additional problem at this time of year. Just four ringed birds picked up today - often we wonder why do we do this!!!!!!

The answer to that is that often these "early" birds can move on, never to be seen again elsewhere, so therefore very much of interest for overall bird survival analysis. Whilst obviously an imperfect example, the very first bird read this winter, H-B- (H blue right leg, left leg-ring lost) was only picked up once last winter, possibly/presumably the same bird?, in the autumn last winter at the north end of Strangford Lough.