Monday, 26 December 2011

Southport Stunners

I've just returned from spending the week down in Manchester with the gang and had a fab time. One of the main highlights of the week was getting to join in on my first Southport ringing session with Ciaran & Kane. I have heard many stories about the infamous Southport and so was quite eager to experience ringing at the site first hand. We started off our visit with a spot of Coot catching (what else!) and caught a good number of Coots to add to the ongoing colour marking project. We then moved onto Black-headed Gulls.

Ciaran and Kane started a new project in The North West of England back in March this year. The project aims to find out more information about Black-headed Gulls by using uniquely coded blue darvic rings. More information about the project can be found Here. If you see any Black-headed Gulls with a blue darvics on, starting with the number 2 then please email - bhgulls'@'

And finally Ciaran makes his debut on my blog with his favourite  BHG -  2A00

After visiting a few more local catching sites we decided to stop off for lunch in good old McDonalds (a very handy place for mucky ringers!). Whilst sitting in the car eating our (very healthy!) lunch we decided to do a bit of multi-tasking by setting up some potter traps for Starlings. To our surprise not only were the Starlings extremely keen on the potters but so too were the local Black-headed Gulls. Unfortunately the gulls could not quite work out how to access the delicious Mcfrench fries but the Starlings did and so I got to ring my first Starling. I had been warned by many a ringer that Starlings are very messy birds and should be handled with care so whilst sat in my dear little Chillibug (yes I named my car) I took extra care not to get any 'mess' inside. To my surprise the little fella was very clean and well behaved - is this a unique bird or have people been pulling my leg?!

Great wee birds and check out the plumage...oooft!
After lunch we started the old 'lets cover Gillian's car in gull bait and poo' game (not my favourite game!). We had great success, catching many Black-headed Gulls and my first Common Gull!

Common Gull

After we left the now very much loved Southport we travelled over to Preston docks for some more gulls. On the way we couldn't resist a quick stop off for some light Coot catching and the guys caught these beauties whilst there!

Three wet, scruffy, happy ringers!

This was my first time at Preston docks and what a catching site! It's almost as good as my wee Linlithgow ; ) Whilst at Preston I decided to give gull grabbing 'a la car' a try and to my surprise I was rather good at it and ended up catching quite a few. Unfortunately though my arms can't quite reach the gulls on the sunroof so I had to go for the windscreen option. I really enjoyed catching them from the car and will definitely be doing it again soon.

A new edition to the North West project (photo Ciaran Hatsell)

A great time was had by all and I must say I can definitely see the charm of Souhport and look forward to my next visit there. Thanks goes to Kane & the gang and to McDonalds who I personally think should start sponsoring us, purely for the amount of mentions they get on our blogs - free gull fries perhaps?!

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