25 October 2011

Tystie gets a Bus Pass

Although the summer days are long gone and we have just put the clocks back to the winter time, we have recently received news from Dr J G Greenwood (BTO ringer) about a Tystie (Black Guillemot) which was ringed by him in Northern Ireland and has broken the longevity record for the species.

The Black Guillemot wearing the ring EP35353 hatched on 27 June 1988 and was ringed nine days later in Bangor Marina, Co Down, Northern Ireland, by Dr J Greenwood.
Only 23 years and 22 days after ringing this bird was spotted by the ringer himself in the same place. Although this is not a grand old age for a seabird in general, in Black Guillemot years EP35353 is probably eligible for a bus pass by now.

Dr Julian Greenwood has been studying the Black Guillemots and their responses to the rise in the temperature of the sea in Bangor Marina for 25 years, his article in British Wildlife 2010 is a great read about the success of the joined forces of an ornithologist and the construction company on the Bangor Marina. It is thanks to Dr Greenwood's dedication that there are now more than 30 pairs of Black Guillemots using artificial nesting chambers in the marina.

Previously, the oldest Tystie was 22 years and 11 months old and lived on Fair Isle, Shetland, all its life... as far as we know.

Thanks to Edmund Fellowes for the photo.

12 October 2011

September Swedish Sweeties

Last week we received some very exciting news from Sweden.
One piece of news came from Fair Isle where they heard that a coloured ringed Common Rosefinch seen amongst a flock of 15 birds in early September had in fact been ringed as a juvenile on 25th August on the west coast of Sweden (see map in yellow). There are only two previous records of Common Rosefinches ringed abroad and found in the UK - one came from Germany and the other from Norway, so this is a FIRST from Sweden!

Direct from the Swedish ringing scheme, last week we heard about a Wryneck that had been ringed as a pullus, one of a brood of 9, on 26th of June 2011, in Svinno, Sweden. It was subsequently found dead, 'possibly killed by a cat', near Bideford in Devon on 28th September (see the red pins in the map). Wrynecks now breed in the UK very rarely, but every year a couple of dozen Wrynecks are ringed with BTO rings. 1965 was a particularly exceptional year, with 114 birds ringed! Wrynecks ringed abroad and found in the UK are a very unusual event, and this Wryneck found near Bideford is only the fourth Wryneck ever recovered with a foreign ring - all of which have come from Scandinavia.

Visit the online ringing reports to find out more exciting stats about ringed birds.

View From IKEAland in a larger map

06 October 2011

Cetti's to the Conquest of Northumberland

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.

On 2nd of October 2011 ringers from the Natural History Society of Northumbria Ringing Group controlled a Cetti's Warbler. This is, as far as we are aware, the first time that a Cetti's Wabler has been captured by ringers in this county. The bird in question GBT X586751 had been ringed as a 3J the 26 June 2010 by Tees Ringing Group, just a few kilometres south in Billingham, Cleveland. This ringing event is important because it could be the first evidence from ringing of the species moving north and conquering a new county. Perhaps in a few years the Cetti's Warbler will be an established BIRD OF NORTHUMBERLAND! We can't wait to find out from the next Atlas just how far Cetti's Warblers has spread.

To read an article about Cetti's Warbler and ringing data go here.
(Photo of a Cetti's Wabler in the hand by Dawn Balmer)