24 July 2009

Peregrine prey...

More London buses! We rarely hear of anything REALLY exciting being found below Peregrine nests, but this week was an exception.

First in was a Hobby ringed in the nest in Herefordshire in 2007. Just its leg and ring were then found in the nest of a Spanish Peregrine on 9 May 2009. This nest was at Balmaseda, near Bilbao in northern Spain, only a short hop from the UK, and it had probably been caught on spring migration.

The other, even more unlikely report, was of a Quail leg found underneath the Peregrine nest in Lincolnshire. We thought this must be a mistake, but the Belgians confirmed this was correct. It was ringed on spring migration, on 5 May, so wquite a quick mocvement. Its been an amazing year for Quail nationally, with huge numbers of sightings, and this gives us some idea of where they arrived from.

We've only ever had two recoveries of ringed Quail (but we have only ringed 59 in 100 years), and this is actually our first ever foreign movement.

The Hobby was also the first to be found in Spain, and the map below shows the other foreign movements. Foreign-ringed birds found here are in red, and BTO-ringed birds found abroad are in blue.

View Hobbies in a larger map


  1. Comment from the BENELUX quail group.
    2009 has indeed been a very good quail Season for Belgian ringers specialised in this species. With a record number ringed and controlled. For the second year we also have an increased effort on the autumn migration but few ringers to the north are familiar with these techniques.

    We would welcome contact with Uk and Irish ringers willing to participate. Surprisingly, location and habitat are not prime considerations.

    Lyndon Kearsley

  2. Perhaps of interest - here in Lothian, where we've also had a bumper influx this summer, one presumed female Quail retrieved from under a Peregrine nest (Torness) on 3 September - dead about a week and in good condition (no ring of course!). One would assume most likely a migrant, perhaps taken offshore, rather than plucked from above the corn...

    Stephen Welch