25 June 2009

Spoonbills and Barnies on the move

Reports of colour-ringed brids are always nice to receive, as they almost all have really nice histories attached to them. Just this week we've been following some commuting Spoonbills and a Barnacle Goose.

One of these four Spoonbills at Caerlaverock was ringed in The Netherlands in June 2006 and has been previously seen wintering in Spain. Two Spoonbills currently hanging out at Cley Marshes NWT reserve in Norfolk also have colour rings, also originally ringed in The Netherlands. One was ringed in June 2006 and has spent its winters in Cadiz, Spain (as the Caerlaverock bird had), and the other was ringed in June 2007 and has been seen rather more frequently! Click the pins on the map to view the sighting dates around the country for this bird.

View Spoonbill in a larger map

We also heard of Barnacle Goose Red BP, which was a feral bird ringed in July 2005 in Bedfordshire. It has since been seen in Swindon, Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire (9 May 2009), Cheshire (16 May), South Yorkshire (17 June, pictured below) and now Rutland Water, Leicestershire (from 18 June).

Many different species will be ringed, so do keep an ewye out for them. One photo we couldn't resist using is this one taken by Phil Kenyon of two birds from a local Dipper project.

18 June 2009

Kestrel chicks on BBC Midlands Today

Birds will always take advantage of a good opportunity, as these Kestrels show. After finding a broken window at Aston University in Birmingham, they took up residence, and have bred for 15 years. They starred on the local news recently when they were ringed.

Thanks to Tony Kelly for sending this on to us.

15 June 2009

Finnish Turnstone in Suffolk

Its not exceptional for us to receive a record of a Finnish-ringed Turnstone (this is the ninth in 100 years!) but one with photos is always nice.

This bird was ringed as a chick on 29 June 2008 Hamina in southern Finland, right at the southern edge of their world range. Just 49 days later it was seen, and had its ring read, at Orfordness on the Suffolk coast - 1,835 km from Hamina.

Thanks to Dave Cranshaw for the photo and to Landguard Ringing Group for letting us know.

12 June 2009

It doesn't always go to plan... (Starlings and Little Owls)

The best laid plans and all that.....

The last couple of nights have seen over 1,000 Starlings feeding over the sports fields on the UEA campus in Norwich, roosting in 2m high Elders - perfect for catching! So we hastily assembled a crack ringing team from BTO and UEA, expecting a catch of at least 2-300 birds. So we all gathered next to the somewhat empty-looking fields, with only a token five Starlings flying around looking lost. Our catch???...

Yep, one out of five! All wasn't entirely lost though, as on the way, a car load stopped off at a hollow tree near Thetford, following up a hot tip from a local walker. Inside.....

We don't ring many Little Owls locally, so this was a real pleasure!

Thanks to all of the 23 ringers who turned up for the Starling roost (and to the 'event organiser' who shall remain anonymous), and to Kate Risely for the photos.

11 June 2009

Foreign ringed birds here in the UK!

The office here gets a lot of records of foreign-ringed birds that have been found in this country and part of my job every week job is to process a batch of these records and send the information to the ringers and finders.

This week's batch had three rather diverse reports; from Greenland, France and The Netherlands. The first was Sanderling 8223222 ringed at the Zackenberg Research Station in Greenland on 5th July 2007 and had been recaught by the Wash Wader Ringing Group at Wainfleet Marsh, Lincolnshire, on 30th August 2008. We have records of 66 foreign-ringed Sanderling in Britain and Ireland but this is the first from Greenland!

Similarly, we don't get many reports of foreign Nightingales and so far they have all been caught by BTO ringers, this latest was no exception. Ring number CB22174 is only the second from France and was found at Haddon Hall on 10th June 2008. In the past we have also had reports of one from Denmark (caught several times at a site in Cambridgeshire in different years), one from Spain and one from Guernsey.

Reports of foreign-ringed Green Sandpipers are even rarer - there have only ever been two: one from Germany was found in Basildon, Essex, under unknown circumstances, and one from Sweden was shot as a Bar-tailed Godwit in Kent. This latest bird was from The Netherlands, and was rather bizarrely hit by a car at Stainfield, Lincolnshire!

08 June 2009

Dirty weekend in Cambridgeshire

As part of the BBC's Dirty Weekend, Wicken Fen Ringing Group recently played host to Sue Dougan from BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

You can listen to Chris Thorne talking to Sue (and suffering a Magpie in the hand) below.

03 June 2009

Suffolk Marsh Warbler that almost got away

It took five years to make it through the process, changed identity a couple of times, but the second foreign-ringed Marsh Warbler to be found in Britain has finally come to light.

When a slightly odd-looking Reed Warbler wearing a Norwegian ring was caught on the Suffolk coast in August 2004, no one at the time realised its true identity.

After a fair bit of investigation across the North Sea in Norway, this bird was actually pinned down as a Marsh Warbler. This could also be confirmed retrospectively from photos taken of the bird at the time, which have come to light recently (above). It was actually ringed as a young bird in Norway in July 2004, caught on autumn passage.

We have very few international movements of ringed Marsh Warblers, but the map below nicely shows where birds are coming from on migration, and where our birds are heading in the autumn. Green markers show the movement of the bird mentioned above, with blue markers showing where British-ringed birds have been found and red markers showing where birds found in Britain originated.

View Marsh Warbler in a larger map

Thanks to the ringers in Suffolk (who shall remain anonymous) for sorting this out and letting us know about the cock-up.

01 June 2009

Incestuous Peregrines in Bath

We've just been sent some footage of the ringing of a young Peregrine from a most strange pairing!

This is the offspring of a pair of Peregrines on Bath Cathedral, which starred on the BBC recently. The male parent, though, is actually a chick hatched from the same nest in 2007, so is now breeding with his own mother! We only know this because these birds are ringed, so we know a lot more about their unusual life histories.

You can see the news footage here and to keep track of the Bath Peregrines, subscribe to the study group blog here.

Thanks to Ed Drewitt for letting us know about this unusual pairing!