Sunday, 11 June 2017



I was at Antrim Marina on Thursday the 8th of June, the main reason was to record the 'resident' colour-ringed Black-headed Gulls, from Adam McClure's Northern Ireland Project.

While there, a Common Gull with a Blue colour-ring arrived.  Straight away, I thought that this gull was perhaps   2AJP   and a few moments later, I confirmed the ring with my telescope and took some photos.

  2AJP , was ringed as a chick on the 29th June 2013, by Shane Wolsey on the Copeland Islands in County Down.  It's first re-sightings were made in March 2014, at Poppintree Park in Dublin City, Republic of Ireland.  Local 'Ring Reader', Graham Prole, recorded it on the 1st, 8th and 15th.  Graham has his own interesting Blog and it can be read (here).  The distance from Copeland to Dublin, is 150 kms / 95 miles, South-South-West.  The duration on the 15th March, was 8 months and 15 days, since being ringed.

Common Gull  -    2AJP   -  Poppintree Park, Dublin City, Rep. of Ireland (March 2014)
(Photo Courtesy of Graham Prole)

As far as I'm away, there were no further sightings until the 13th June last year (2016), when Suzanne Belshaw recorded it for the first time at Antrim Marina.  Suzanne, was helping me to record the 'resident' Black-headed Gulls there.  The gulls are well watched at this site, so it could not have gone un-noticed in the weeks before that date.

It was obvious, that having reached breeding age,   2AJP , had chosen the Antrim area in which to nest for the first time.  Common Gulls are known to nest on the rooftops of the local Tesco Warehouse at Kilbegs, but they might also be nesting on the nearby 'Torpedo Platform' (formerly used to test torpedos in World War II).  It's more than likely,   2AJP   used the 'Torpedo Platform'.

Over the next two months,   2AJP   was recorded on numerous occasions, by Suzanne, Neville McKee and myself.  It was last recorded on the 15th July 2016, on a joint visit to the Marina by Suzanne and me.  At this point, it had been 3 years and 23 days, since   2AJP   had been ringed as a chick.

Common Gull  -    2AJP   -  Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland  (13th June 2016)
(Photo Courtesy of Suzanne Belshaw)

Interestingly, my recent sighting on the 8th June 2017, is just 5 days earlier, than that of Suzanne's initial sighting last summer.  It is certain that   2AJP   has returned to breed, the duration now being 3 years, 11 months and 10 days.  The distance from Copeland to Antrim Marina, is 46 kms / 28 miles, West-North-West and from Dublin to the Marina - 146 kms / 91 miles, North.

Common Gull  -    2AJP   -  Antrim Marina, Co. Antrim, N. Ireland  (8th June 2017)

My thanks go to Graham and Suzanne for supplying their photos.