09 August 2013

Autumn migration underway

August is a great time to be out birdwatching and also ringing and nest recording. At this time of year birds including finches and pigeons are still nesting, but some have already finished breeding for the year and are starting to migrate, like our BTO Cuckoos. Waders start moving through our country at this time of year and we have had reports of Swallows starting to gather and Swifts leaving the country (graph below).

BirdTrack reporting rate for Swift

With the migration and dispersal of birds there are often interesting recoveries or sightings. Some recoveries from July include a Lesser Black-backed Gull ringed on the Isle of May, Fife in 1995 and seen in Spain (2170km), a Gannet ringed on Sule Skerry, Orkney in 2005 caught by another ringer in Iceland and a Spotted Redshank from The Netherlands had its ring read in Norfolk!

Gannet colony - Nigel Clark

One of the big stories was a sighting of a Balearic Shearwater being seen North West of Annet, Isles of Scilly. Not only is it the first ever report of a Balearic Shearwater wearing a ring in UK or Irish waters, but this bird was also wearing a small geolocator. To help save this critically endangered species, these loggers record the movements and behaviour of the bird while it is away from the breeding grounds. For more information on this data-logging project click here.

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