This photo of a colour-ringed Kentish Plover at Rye Harbour (Sussex) appeared on BirdGuides recently, taken by Martin Casemore. Now any colour-ringed bird is worth chasing up and the first port of call is normally the excellent European Colour-Ring Birding website. But a colour-ringed KP is something special and this bird was tracked down to a German project.
It had been originally ringed as a breeding adult at St Peter-Ording (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany) in May 2009. It returned to the same site again in 2010, arriving on 14th April, but its nest was destroyed and it then moved 20km east to a possible alternative breeding site. It was seen there in June 2010 but then not since, so its arrival in Sussex was even more unexpected.
Kentish Plovers have been being ringed along the Wadden Sea coast of Germany since the early 1990s and this is the second bird to be seen in the UK, following a female seen in 1994. This bird was ringed as chick in May 1993, also at St Peter-Ording, and was then seen at Spurn Point on 13th April 1994.
There are just two other records of foreign-ringed KPs in the UK: a French-ringed bird was shot in Avon in 1972 and a Dutch-ringed bird had its ring read in Kent in 1988.
Thanks to Martin for the photos of this bird and to Rainer Schulz and Dominic Cimiotti for the prompt response with its history.