26 October 2009

Our first Iccy movement

Following the news of breeding Icterine Warblers this summer in Scotland (see here), we have recently heard news of our first ever foreign movement of the species (if a bit belatedly...)

R533992 (above) was ringed at Dungeness Bird Observatory, Kent, on 14th May 2009, a day when three Icterine Warblers had turned up at the Observatory! Just six days later it was recaught at Zuydcoote, in northern France. This actually isn’t a huge hop though, as the two sites are only 70 miles apart, the distance from Dungeness to central London!

Coincidentally, when I checked the details with Dave Walker at Dungeness, he told us he’d also just seen a Stone Curlew at the Obs, a rather unusual autumn record. Perhaps not surprisingly this was colour-ringed, and we are just waiting for details now…..

20 October 2009

Blue Tits on the move???...

We rarely hear of long-distance movements of Blue Tits, so it was quite exciting to hear last week of a Belgian-ringed bird in Norfolk. This was recaught by David Fuller at his site near Garboldisham. You'd imagine this would be juvenile dispersal, but we found out today that BLB-10945741 was ringed at Essen, northern Belgium, on 10 October 2008, almost a year previously!

View Blue Tits in a larger map

The map above shows all foreign movements of Blue Tits, with blue pins marking BTO-ringed birds found abroad and green pins marking foreign-ringed birds found here (the red pins show the movement of David's bird). It is interesting that of the 10 movements of BTO- ringed birds, seven were ringed in Kent and no less than four were ringed at Dungeness Bird Observatory! There have only been four foreign-ringed birds found here (all recaught), and one of these turned up at Dungeness as well!

So the Blue Tits in your garden might not be as uninteresting and resident as you might think.....

19 October 2009

Mystery German Sparrowhawk

After seeing ringing on BBC AutumnWatch, one viewer sent us this fantastic photo of a ringed male Sparrowhawk that visited their garden in Lysted, Kent, last winter.

Nothing too exciting about this until we realised that this wasn’t on of our rings but one from Germany! Zooming in you can just about make out the letters "OLAN" and "MAN" which are actually part of the address "HELGOLAND GERMANIA". Unfortunately we can only make out part of the number, which is ---642-

We have only ever had 15 reports of German-ringed Sparrowhawks in this country, but we don't hold out too much hope of being able to track this one down unless we can read more detail on the ring!

Thanks to Graham Low for reporting this and for the excellent photo!

14 October 2009

Belated Broods?

Every year we receive a few reports of late broods in September and October. However this year, we seem to be getting ten times as many! Even now in October, House Martins and Swallows are still feeding their young in the nest. Surely such late fledging must be costly for post juvenile survival- especially during their migration back to Africa!

However, it's not just Hirundines which have been making the most of the mild weather. Redpoll, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Blackbird and Bullfinch are just some of the species which have continued to breed late on in the season. BTO ringers have reported an incredible number of young birds still undergoing their post juvenile moult.

The BIG question- Is this an abnormal year or will climate change make this a more regular occurrence?

Thanks to all BTO nest recorders and ringers, and thanks to John Harding for the photo.

12 October 2009

Migrating Kingfisher

OK, so its hardly the longest movement in the world, but its always nice to have one of your birds do something interesting. SB45298 was a bird we (as in University of East Anglia Ringing Group) ringed at one of our sites near Norwich - the lovely Whitlingham Sewage Treatment Works. It was ringed (along with three others that day!) on 27 June 2009.

As so often with ring recoveries, there isn't a happy ending though, as SB45298 hit a window and died on 9 October. But this was in Stowmarket, Suffolk, 55km (35 miles) from Norwich. Occasionally Kingfishers will move around in relation to cold weather, but that's hardly the case right now, so this is a rather unusual movement.

In the 100 years of ringing, we only have records of 15 foreign movements of Kingfisher, shown in the map below - eight foreign-ringed birds found here (in blue) and seven BTO-ringed birds found abroad (in red).

View Kingfishers in a larger map

Thanks to Dorian Moss for the photo.

09 October 2009

Ringing on AutumnWatch

After our appearance on SpringWatch in... the spring... there will be a bit of a ringing focus on AutumnWatch this evening.

The team have been out filming recently in various parts, with Martin training to ring in Sussex and Kate and Chris seeing it in action at Portland Bird Observatory in Dorset (below). So keep an eye out for us on BBC2 later this evening - 9pm.