13 September 2016

Who ringed the Plover?

The BTO Online Reports map for Ringed Plover shows a very broad distribution of recoveries of birds that visited Britain or Ireland at some stage during the year. By looking in detail at the time of year they were ringed and subsequently found, we can start to tease apart what is going on. Thanks to the Gulf stream making our shores relatively warmer than those further north, thousands of small waders winter here and some birds that have bred here move south to winter in France, Spain and even Africa.

Ringed Plover recoveries. Purple: ringed in Britain & Ireland, Orange: found in Britain & Ireland

At this time of year there will be a mix of birds moving south and birds that have just arrived. Telling the difference between these is where ringing comes into its own. As we have posted previously, Lee Collins spends hours throughout the year looking at birds' legs at Dawlish Warren. One of his recent finds included this colour-ringed Ringed Plover (below).

Ringed Plover - photo by Lee Collins
After a little searching it became clear that this bird was ringed 42 days previously at Dufour River, Byulot Island, Canada! This is currently the second report on our system of a Ringed Plover from Canada. This bird was ringed while 'he' had an active nest with eggs (which hatched two days later), so assuming they were not predated, he must have made a very quick trip to Dawlish Warren from Canada. He was one of 73 birds fitted with a geolocator. When these birds arrive back in Canada, and Don-Jean Leandri-Breton resumes his nest study, hopefully the retrieved geolocators will provide information on when and where these birds have been since the geolocator was added.

To get the full effect of how remote the ringing location is, just zoom out of the map below.

Photo taken by Don-Jean Léandri-Breton

Photo taken by Don-Jean Léandri-Breton

For more information see the Dawlish Warren blog.

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