13 November 2017

Meds, Reds and Rockits

The BTO ringing recoveries team are in daily contact with other ringing schemes all over Europe and occasionally even America or Africa. European ringing schemes are part of EURING, which is the coordinating organisation for European bird ringing schemes and strives to coordinate and maintain good quality data and research for the benefit of wild birds.

Part of the EURING protocol is for member schemes to use a standard set of codes when referring to birds that have been ringed or recovered. The data can then be more easily shared and understood by other ringing schemes. In the autumn, contact between the ringing schemes increases as migratory birds cross borders and seas; many foreign-ringed birds are found in Britain or Ireland as well as BTO-ringed birds being found abroad.

Looking at recent records (from October until the time of writing), there have been quite a few reports of foreign-ringed birds reaching our shores. Mediterranean Gulls from Poland are becoming a regular occurrence, with eight individuals reported since October. Other recently seen Mediterranean Gull were originally ringed in Belgium, France, Denmark and Hungary.

Ringed, colour ringed and unringed Mediterranean Gulls. Photo taken by Dawn Balmer

A sighting on 2 October of a Norwegian Little Stint on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides was really exciting, so too was a Peregrine from Finland which was seen in Norfolk.

The recovery rate for Redwing is very low, but recently there has been a scattering of interesting recoveries, as the birds start to arrive here en masse with the cold northerly air flow. A Redwing wearing a Finnish ring was caught at Wolverhampton Racecourse in early November. Another Redwing was found freshly dead after hitting a window at Charlestown of Arberlour, Moray on 24 October after being ringed 387 days previously at Akureyri, Nordur, Iceland. The most outstanding report was a Redwing which was caught at Rhostryfan, Gwynedd, Wales wearing a ring from the Czech Republic on 31 October. This bird was ringed on 10 November 2014 at Olomoucky Kraj 1,508 km away!

Redwing with a lot to eat. Photo taken by Tom Wallis

On 6 November, a non-ringer reported that a Greenfinch had hit their window at Hoddesdon, Hertford; unfortunately it didn't survive. This bird was wearing a ring that was put on in The Netherlands and if the species is confirmed, this would be the 10th record of a Greenfinch from there being reported here.

A juvenile Norwegian Rock Pipit was caught at Poole Harbour, Dorest on 3 November. It was ringed (and colour ringed) at Maletangen, More og Romsdal (1,464 km). This is one of seven Rock Pipits to be reported to us since October, all of which were colour ring sightings apart from this recapture and a bird hitting a window in Whitburn, Tyne and Wear. More information on the recoveries can be found on the Online ringing reports page.

The Norwegian Rock Pipit. Photo taken by Shaun Robson
As you can see from this round up, we are receiving lots of reports of birds ringed in more northerly countries, but we will soon also be getting records from our more southerly ringing scheme colleagues of 'our' birds that have been seen or caught whilst moving further south for winter.


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