29 December 2011
25 December 2011
What best to celebrate the turn of the Equionox than the recovery of a UK ringed swallow in South Africa! Andrew Pickels controlled this bird on the 30th of November in Umzumbe (in the area of Southern Kwazulu Natal), his ringing patch where he rings at a roost 2-3 times a week. This year the Umzumbe roost hosted an impressive 1-1.5 million swallows. Fittingly, the controlled swallow had been ringed by North Notts Ringing Group on the 16th of September in Retford - very close to where Andrew himself was born.
We believe that now all the UK's migrant birds have reached their furthest wintering destinations in the African continent. Of course, we are so pleased to hear that all five cuckoos tracked by BTO are alive in or close to the Congo Basin, and we also have news of other controlled birds in The Gambia (a blog post to come about this shortly - watch this space!)
To find out more about Umzumbe and about Andrew's ringing activities visit his own blog http://barbetbirding.blogspot.
22 December 2011
Luke Phillips, who works for the RSPB, told us last week about a Mediterranean Gull that is visiting Radipole Lake RSPB Reserve 18 years after it was first caught for ringing in The Netherlands.
07 December 2011
For 3 years a ringing team from Spitsbergen, Svalbard have been colour ringing Purple Sandpipers in a hope to find out the wintering distribution of breeding birds. Previously we have had 5 birds ringed on Svalbard and found here but due to this project, we are currently processing 3 reports from November alone. These were seen in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and Cleveland.
If you see a colour ring Purple Sandpiper (or Dunlin) with either orange, lime or dark green colour rings and leg flags, please let Kjell Mork Soot know (email@example.com). The details needed are:
* Date and time
* Flag and ring colour position and combination
* Location name and/or coordinates
* Finders name and contact details
* Photo if possible
He will then get back to you with the details and share the information with the corresponding ringing schemes.
Orange HHU (above) was ringed on South Cape Island on 22.08.2011 and was recaught on 06.09.2011 at Longyearbyen (191km north).
Thanks to Ole Edvard Torland for the photos.
30 November 2011
We also received 8 reports of Lesser Black-backed Gull wintering in Portugal and all but one were live sightings. Mute Swans were also very evident with lots of sightings but some hitting overhead power cables and one or two in poor condition. Unusually we didn't get many reports of Barn Owls in poor condition but we did get 12 reports of car victims. All of the ones that died were ringed as chicks this year. One bird, strangely, was seen flying straight into a wall and then a parked car before being rescued and taken into care.
There was also a nice Blackcap report "found and released" on 25th October in Tizi-Ouzou, Algiers, Algeria that was ringed near Sleaford, Lincolnshire in May this year (1839km in 174 days). Another notable passerine was a Chiffchaff ringed in Northumberland in August and was found dead after connecting with a vehicle in Candresse, France in October (1257km in 37 days!)
All the above recoveries have been processed and found in either October or November. We are still getting reports of birds found in November so this is not an exhaustive list. Thanks to Dawn Balmer for the photo.
22 November 2011
This bird was identified from its colour rings on the 8 and the 13 November 2011 in Margate, Kent, after having travelled more than 1200 km.
This represents the 9th record of a Norwegian ringed Rock Pipit to be seen in the UK. Many Scandinavian Pock Pipits of the littoralis subspecies winter in the east of Great Britain, as is shown by the 15 or so recoveries of birds from Sweden and the 9 from Norway.
11 November 2011
View The Only Way is Essex in a larger map
Thanks to Jon Evans for the photograph of the Black-bellied Dipper.
07 November 2011
When one of my trainee ringers, mentioned that he had a 'good number' of Quail on a local farm in south Norfolk, and recalling the apparent ease with which this species is caught in Belgium and the Netherlands, I decide to give it a try. However, given the low success rate when attempting to catch in the autumn, I didn't expect to to catch any. Just another exercise in put nets up and taking down again.
So on 11th June, just as the sun was setting, we carefully put up a triangle in a cereal crop. By the time the nets were set, up to 4 males were calling nearby and we got the impression that something was watching us! As I made a final check of the net I was totally amazed to watch a male pop up from within the triangle of nets and jump into the net. It was immediately extracted and processed, then I started the tape lure (having the appropriate tape luring licence) and a female immediately flew into the net and again was promptly extracted. It was an hour later though before the third and final Quail of the evening was caught.
If that wasn't reward enough, I was amazed to receive notification recently that one of the three was shot in September at Montegut-Arros, Midi-Pyrenees, France.
Four Quail were ringed in Britain & Ireland in 2010 and we are up to 7 so far this year. It will be interesting to see how many were ringed this year, once all the data is in our database.
Thanks to John Secker for the photo.
01 November 2011
Saying that, you can never be 100% sure what you will catch. While doing a routine ringing session, Maple Cross Ringing Group had a very unusual bird appear in their net. This was an Eastern Crowned Warbler, the second to be seen in Britain! It wasn't at a migration hotspot like Fair Isle, Shetland or somewhere in Norfolk but a private site at Hilfield Park Reservoir, Hertfordshire!
This bird breeds from eastern Siberia through to south-eastern China, Korea and Japan, and winters in south-east Asia south to Indonesia, so is around 11,500km off course. Birds that have been seen in Europe generally don't stay in the same location for very long and this bird was no exception, not being seen again after its release. It will be very interesting to see if this ringed juvenile Eastern Crowned Warbler is located anywhere else in the near future.
Thanks to Mike Beatley for the photos
25 October 2011
12 October 2011
Last week we received some very exciting news from Sweden.
View From IKEAland in a larger map
06 October 2011
The last decades have seen a change in the distribution of many species as a result of climate warming. If you read the abstract of this recent article you will see this affecting many different terrestrial organisms. In the bird world, a typical example of range shift towards the north is that of the Cetti's Warbler. Some years ago, the species featured in headlines like "Mediterranean Songbird Spreads", but today the Cetti's Warbler is no longer just a bird of the Mediterranean, but British in its own right - resident in many of the Southern counties of England. Cetti's Warblers are slowly (or rapidly, depending on your timescale) advancing north as can be seen in the sequenced maps from the old Breeding Atlases here.
30 September 2011
Without a doubt this will be one of the longest distance runners among the Kingfishers in the ringing database and we can't wait to hear from the Polish Scheme about the ringing details.
View Kingfishers in a larger map
20 September 2011
I have used all the recoveries that we have received from August up until now. We use two codes to say what happened to the birds. The finding condition tells us, for example, if the bird was found dead or alive. The finding circumstances give the cause for what happened to the bird, if known.
The pie chart below is of the condition of the bird reported. As you can see the vast majority of reported birds are dead but a reasonably large slice goes to ringers catching birds after that have already been ringed (this generally only includes birds travelling more than 5km from the site of ringing).
The second pie chart is of the finding circumstances. We have a multitude of codes for the circumstances but I have just highlighted those that we have had more than 10 reports.
The 'bird found' slice is when the finder just finds the bird's body but doesn't know what happened to it. Obviously the pie chart results are very specific to this time of year and the proportions change very quickly. For example this is the start of the shooting season and we get a sudden increase in the number of birds shot compared with earlier in the year.
It should be pointed out that these portions are of reported individuals, for example you would hope that 100% of all shot birds would be reported but not all birds are reported that end up in a cat's belly.
14 September 2011
Over the years there have been some odd finding places for bird rings, including at the bottom of the North Sea, a Red Kite in the engine of a plane and a Mute Swan killed by a Lion at Chester Zoo. This month's winner is quoted, "I put my sock on this morning and felt something sharp dig into my foot. Upon further inspection, and to my disbelief, I found a tiny metal ring attached to a dismembered birds leg!". We are waiting for the ringing details on this one, but the leg was small, perhaps Wren or Goldcrest sized.
With the start of the shooting season, reports of ringed wildfowl are increasing. Last month we had 2 interesting reports of Pochard that were shot in Samarskaya Oblast, Russia (3287km) and Shaturskiy Rayon (2600km), Russia, after being ringed at Welney WWT, Norfolk in 2007 and 2008 (yellow pins).
View August update in a larger map
08 September 2011
03 September 2011
So, when the warblers arrived back from Africa in April, The Swamp Things sprang into action, catching and ringing the adults, finding their nests and ringing the chicks. The first full clutch of eggs was recorded on the 8th May, and the last nestling was ringed on the 12th August, by which time several of the team were looking considerably sleeker and, at least from the shoulders up, more tanned. In the intervening three months, they monitored 257 nests and ringed 596 nestlings. An added bonus was provided by the 12 nests parasitized by Cuckoos, of which at least seven were thought to have fledged (and by now have presumably joined Clement , Martin, Caspar, Lyster, and Chris on their wintering grounds).
31 August 2011
View Sedge Warbler tour in a larger map
23 August 2011
View 1st Spanish ringed Redshank in a larger map
12 August 2011
02 August 2011
Any report about Roseate Terns is always special, just like their rings. On Monday we opened the online recoveries from the weekend to find a sighting of a Roseate tern in a breeding colony. Yes, we are in the summer that’s what they should be… but we read a bit more and discovered that the finding county was New Hampshire! After double-checking, I checked the database and found that there is only one other recovery of a Roseate Tern ringed in the UK & Ireland and found across the Atlantic during the breeding season.
Quoting the Migration Atlas [about North West population of Roseate terns] ‘dispersal beyond this metapopulation to the Azores or USA appears to be extremely rare’, this confirms that this is a very unusual recovery.
Roseate terns breeding in the UK & Ireland winter along the east side of the Atlantic in Africa, while the birds from the North American populations go to Trinidad and the Brazilian coast. Some intrepid individuals clearly add variation to the genetic pool by moving between the continents!
SR73180 was ringed by the National Parks Wildlife Service (NPWS) as a chick on 1 July 2009 in Rockabill, near Dublin (Ireland) and hadn’t been seen until the 28 July 2011 when it was spotted at a breeding colony in The Isles of Shoals, a group of islands off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine.
SR73180 hasn't bred yet but, as a two year old Roseate tern, is doing a 'late season prospection' and, possibly finding a mate with whom to return next year and breed.
Daniel Hayward, who reported the bird and monitors all the seabirds in the Isles of Shoals as part of The Terns Project, has supplied the photographs.
Thanks to Daniel Hayward for letting us know and Stephen Newton from Birdwatch Ireland for his contribution to this post.
25 July 2011
Earlier in the month we had reports from a few ringers saying that they had many male Quails ‘calling’ in their ringing sites, which coincides with the peak of birds shown by Birdtrack. These are thought to be young (3) males from more southern breeding grounds which are migrating north during their first calendar-year before their journey to their wintering grounds in the Sahel.
Quails are particularly difficult to monitor due to their fluctuating populations, skulking behaviour, long, complex migration, and mating system.
With only 3 Quails ringed during 2010 (out of a total of more than one million birds!) any recovery of a Quail qualifies for excitement, and that is exactly what happened when I found a report from Norway of a Quail found dead with a British ring.
This individual was found on the 24th May, and had been ringed just four days earlier in Sussex. Last May, Birdtrack records showed another peak in Quail numbers, probably involving birds on their way to breeding grounds.
The map below shows the only other 4 recoveries of Quails that have occurred in the last 100 years.
View Quails in a larger map
Blue: Adult female, ringed in 03 May 1965 in Cranleigh, Surrey, and shot in Zaragoza, Spain in September of the same year.
Green: Adult female, ringed in Fair Isle 23 May 1993 and reportedly killed by a Skua only a few days later in the same place.
Red: ringed as an adult female in Tielt, Belgium, the 10 May 2009 and killed by a Peregrine on 1st of July 2009 in Grantham.
Yellow: Adult male ringed in Elton, Derbyshire, and shot near Soria, Spain, on 18 Aug 2009.
18 July 2011
The plight of the Roseate Tern has been well documented over the last few years. The National Parks Wildlife Service (NPWS) has been involved in wardening the largest ternery in Ireland at Lady’s Island Lake, Co. Wexford for many years now. Since my move from Co. Mayo to Co. Wexford in 2004, this site has fallen under my responsibility as the Wildlife Ranger for South Wexford.
The annual tern wardening project generally involves management of the site, predator control and monitoring. The deployment of nestboxes, ringing and ring reading has also been done at other Irish, UK and French Roseate Tern colonies.
The task has got bigger and bigger over the last few years as our numbers of gulls and terns have increased. Mediterranean Gulls are up to 10 pairs and it has also been good news for all our tern species. Roseates have climbed from 66 in 2004 to over 150 pairs this year. Through ring reading, it is great to show the growth is due to 'home grown' individuals, but however some have relocated here from Dublin.
Our Sandwich Tern numbers continue to grow as well, with 1100 to 1300 pairs between 2004 and 2006. We are now currently just shy of the two thousand mark! Ring reading has again shown plenty of 'home grown' birds breeding but a couple from Inner Farne, Farne Islands, Northumberland and Strangford, County Down have been recorded recently.
14 July 2011
During their free time, a few BTO staff have been working hard, finding all the Reed Warbler nests on a large site near Mundford, Norfolk. This work also involves Constant Effort ringing and monitoring.
This encouraged us to think of where Reed Warblers are caught and originate from. Below is a map of Reed Warblers which were ringed in Britain and then recaught/found in 2010. You can clearly see the southward migration route and also the lack of birds in Northern Scotland.
The map is interactive so you can zoom in and out for more or less detail.
View Reed Warbler distribution in a full screen map
So where do birds from other countries, that are recaptured/found in Britain in 2010 come from? See below.
View Reed Warbler originating distribution in a full screen map
View Reed Warbler originating distribution in a full screen map
08 July 2011
We thought it would be good idea to give you a taster of these (possibly unchecked).
Lesser Whitethroat Y60214 (blue pin) was ringed at Eilat Ringing Station, Israel on 10 March 2009 and was caught by ringers at Heysham Bird Observatory, Lancs on 12 June 2011 (1791km).
Starling LC14381 (red pin) was ringed on 29 Jan 2010 near Upton Magna, Shropshire was unfortunately killed by a cat in Minsk, Russia on 22 June 2011 (2022km).
A Redwing RT32238 (green pin) didn't do much better, after being ringed at Theddlethorpe St Helen, Lincolnshire on 15 October 2009 and hitting a window in Outokumpu, Finland on 4 June 2011 (1976km).
Sandwich Tern DK31758 (yellow pin) had its ring number read, probably while roosting. This bird was ringed at Sands of Forvie NNR, Newburgh on 30 May 2008 and was seen at Foce Isonzo, Staranzano, Italy on 5 June 2011 (1662km).
View June recoveries in a larger map
Other birds of note were a Hobby ringed in Powys seen at Minsmere, Suffolk (325km) and a Great Spotted Woodpecker found dead in a Squirrel trap.