22 February 2013

Wintering Rosefinch

Orfordness in Suffolk often seems to generate some interesting 'Demog Blog' stories, including Norwegian colour-ringed Little Stint, Finnish-ringed Turnstone, German-ringed Avocet, Polish-ringed Kingfisher and Norwegian-ringed Dunnock.

Their most recent claim to fame passed across my desk at the BTO (well in my remote office in Cornwall) recently, in the shape of a Common Rosefinch ringed on Orfordness on 20th October 2012 (photo below courtesy of David Crawshaw). This was the second record for the site and was caught in a short net at the same time as seven Lesser Redpoll and a Yellow-browed Warbler in what was a busy day at the site. Remarkably, it was then recaught in northern Belgium (207km from Orfordness) on the very unseasonable dates of 1st and 4th December! Winter records of Common Rosefinch in western Europe are few and far between, so why this bird chose to winter in Belgium is a mystery, but seemed to be doing OK, weighing more than it did when first ringed.

This is only the second BTO-ringed Common Rosefinch to be found abroad. The first was a bird ringed at Fair Isle Bird Observatory recaught two weeks later on the Faeroes, and to be honest most of the records of foreign-ringed birds have been in the Northern Isles. In fact, 1990 was a bit of a purple (or scarlet) patch at North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory (Orkney), with a German-ringed bird recaught there in June 1990 and a Norwegian-ringed bird recaught there in September 1990, just eight days after ringing! The only other was a Swedish colour-ringed bird seen on Fair Isle in September 2011, just nine days after ringing.

Interestingly, within the UK, there are just two movements: a bird from Fair Isle to Spurn Bird Observatory (17 days) and from Isle of May Bird Observatory to Orkney (eight days). Bit of a Bird Obs theme developing as well...

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