19 November 2009

Groppers going north, south AND west!

We don't get many reports of ringed Grasshopper Warblers and most of these are just short distance movements. This last autumn though we had three very contrasting movements, with details just processed recently.

The first was a bird (ring V680191), ringed at Titchfield Haven, Hampshire, on 5 September. It was then recaught by ringers at Villeton in southern France six days later, having travelled 728 km south! This is only our seventh Grasshopper Warbler movement to France, so was quite a surprise.

In complete contrast was X749276, ringed in Sussex on 13 September and recaught by ringers six days later (coincidentally) on Orfordness in Suffolk. So this bird had left the south coast and headed 146km northeast in a week, rather than south!

Even more bizarrely, AP40279 was ringed in The Netherlands on 13 September, which travelled due west before being killed by a cat in Caerphilly just three days (and 643km) later! This is only the third foreign-ringed Gropper found in the UK, after two Senegalese-ringed birds were found within 35 km of each other in 1992 (and only seven days apart).

The map below shows all three movements, with the ringing locations in blue and the finding locations in red.

View Groppers in a larger map

It is interesting to think if these birds were just taking different routes south or if one got slightly lost...

For more details on some of the BTO's work on migrants, have a look at our 'Out of Africa' pages on the project blog.


  1. I'm sure Northern France can't be 728 km south of Titchfield haven!

  2. Oops, yes, well spotted, should be southern France! Edited now...