30 November 2010

The first Barnie causes a twitch

There are very few reports of UK ringed birds in America and the majority are Manx Shearwater (8) and Great Skua (3). We have also had single reports of White-fronted and Canada Goose, Turnstone, Kittiwake, Arctic, Roseate and Common Tern.

Yesterday we received an email from Jack Rothman informing us of the first British ringed Barnacle Goose to be recorded in America! Barnacle Geese in North America are rare anyway but one with a known origin is brilliant. This bird was seen at Orchard Beach, Bronx which is 5204km from where it was ringed.

Barnacle Goose 1291347 was ringed by Steve Percival on 13/11/2002 and was seen frequently on Islay until March 2005 when it disappeared. One of its parents and a sibling where ringed at the same time and are still seen around Islay.

View Barnacle Goose in a larger map

Thanks to Keith Michael for finding the bird and Jack Rothman for letting us know and also for the photo.

29 November 2010

Redpoll... but which one?

Winter is a good time for ringers to be catching Redpoll, as you an tell from the previous post.

The plumage and biometrics of Redpoll are looked at very closely by ringers which need to separate them into the current 3 species, Lesser (the most commonly caught Redpoll), Common Redpoll and Arctic Redpoll. Sorby Breck Ringing Group were out ringing and they came across something very interesting.

This is actually a Lesser Redpoll that had already been ringed by the group. Interestingly when it was ringed it looked like any other Lesser Redpoll and lacked all this white. This condition is likely to be Vitiligo, which means this bird could get whiter with every moult but start out looking like a normal brown Redpoll. This condition is most commonly seen in Blackbirds and Jackdaws but has also been recorded in Redpoll.

The graph below shows the number of Redpoll ringed in 2009 by month.

Many thanks to Geoff Mawson (for the photo as well), David Williams and John Wint for letting us know.

23 November 2010

A first for a Common Redpoll

The Redpoll complex has always provided a few challenges with identification for birdwatchers but being able to take measurements and ring individual birds provides much more quantitative information.

Pete Smith from Wintersett Ringing Group was ringing at Wintersett Reservoir, Wakefield on 15th November and had a great ringing session. He caught 53 Lesser Redpoll (above) and 14 Common Redpoll, 2 of which were already ringed! One was ringed at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire on 21/10/10 (104km in 26 days) and the other was wearing a Norwegian ring!

We have had very few recoveries of Common Redpoll (5 from the UK and 2 from The Netherlands) so this is the first from Norway!

Thanks to John Wint and Pete Smith for letting us know and Tommy Holden for the photo.

22 November 2010

Colder temperatures bring in the birds

Every week we receive reports from Ringing Schemes all over Europe and today we have received a batch of records from Stavanger (Norway).

This included 2 Norwegian ringed Robins, both caught by UK ringers, one at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire (ringed 170 days before in Rogaland, Norway) and the other at Hartlepool, Cleveland (ringed 18 days before in Buskerud, Norway).

With this cold weather Brambling should be quite settled in the UK now and one such bird was controlled at Spurn Point, East Yorkshire which was ringed in Sept 2009 in Rogaland. On the other end of the seasonal scale a Chiffchaff was controlled also at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire which turns out to be the 8th from Norway! It was ringed 69 days before (23.7.2010) at Grimstadvatnet, Hareid, More og Romsdal.

View Chiffchaff from Norway in a larger map

And finally a Kestrel was reported freshly dead and very thin at Swanley, Kent on 19th Sept 2010 which had been ringed as a chick on 30 June 2010, 1326km away at Galasflota Nord, Hedmark, Norway.

Thanks to Stavanger and Dawn Balmer for the photo.

18 November 2010

New Bird Observatory in the Gambia

Volunteer ringers from the UK have just returned from their first trip to the Kartong Bird Observatory, to help understand bird demography in the Gambia. During the 11 day trip more than 800 birds were processed and measurements taken. The majority of the birds ringed were African but there were some Palearctic migrants which were just arriving including Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Olivaceous Warbler, Yellow Wagtail, Sedge and Reed Warbler.

During the nights it was very dark, due to the new moon and provided great lamping conditions for Long-tailed Nightjar, Painted Snipe, Senegal Thick-knee and Spur-winged Plover. Local bird guides and birders will be able to take part in reporting leg flagged Spur-winged Plovers throughout Gambia and the movements of the whoosh netted Hooded Vultures will be very interesting (below).

Ringing demonstrations were run mid week to introduce the local school children to bird conservation and it was received very well with many fascinated faces. Some notable birds were Yellow-crowned Gonolek (pictured), Levaillant’s Cuckoo and Blue-breasted Kingfisher (1 of the 6 species of kingfishers caught).

Future annual expeditions will provide more valuable data, with the next trip being March 2011. Maybe more new birds will be added to the Gambian list like Cassin's Honeyguide as on this occasion.

08 November 2010

Sedge Warblers in Senegal

Last week we received details of two Sedge Warblers found in Senegal. These birds were controlled by ringers from the Aranzadi Scheme (Spain). This is what bird ringing is all about, ringers from different countries mapping the home range of migrant birds across the continents!
During 2009 an impressive 22,399 Sedge Warblers were ringed in Britain and Ireland.
The ringing recovery tables show that about 80 other Sedge Warblers have ever been reported in Senegal and almost all come from Parc National de Djoudj. All of these birds were found by ringing expeditions to Djoudj by the British and Irish, French and the German Schemes.
T620003 was ringed in 2 August 2009 in Titchfield Haven, Hampshire, and X395199 was ringed exactly the same day in Southbourne in Dorset. Both were controlled while wintering after the 4,000 km long journey to Africa.
In the future we hope to see more recoveries of breeding migrant birds in their wintering quarters as part of the study of long distance migrants carried out by BTO/RSPB/Birdlife in Ghana and Burkina Faso.
Photo of Sedge Warbler by Dawn Balmer

View Sedge Warbles in Senegal in a larger map

03 November 2010

There's more at Whitby than the seaside... update

We have just received news about the foreign ringed Pallas's Warbler that we reported a couple of days ago, which was caught by Wilf Norman near Whitby Lighthouse, North Yorkshire on 31 October 2010.

View Pallas's Warbler in a larger map

This bird was ringed on 27 Oct 2010 at 11am, only a few days before it was recaptured! It was originally caught at Nijefurd, Warns, Friesland, Netherlands (52°52’54 N, 05°24’20 E). It is also interesting to note the northward movement into this country. Reverse migration?

Thanks to our colleagues in The Netherlands and to Wilf Norman.

02 November 2010

A Dunnock from Norway... and other places, update

Having reported on 2 foreign ringed Dunnocks previously this autumn I thought that was our lot, especially considering we have only ever had 31 foreign ringed Dunnocks found in this country before.

Its turning out to be a bumper year for this species with new records of 1ER56285 from Sweden, caught by Ian Marshall at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire and 10980683 from Belgium caught by Keith Bowden near Grantham, Lincolnshire.

The graph above shows just how many foreign Dunnocks have been processed up to this year and how good these recoveries really are.

Thank to Ian and Keith for letting us know about these birds.

01 November 2010

There's more at Whitby than the seaside

We have just received word from Wilf Norman, that he was ringing on one of his regular ringing sites yesterday (31/10/2010) near Whitby Lighthouse, North Yorkshire and he had a surprising catch.

This has been a good site over the years with a Blackcap in particular, which had only been ringed 2 days before in Denmark. Even with this great bird he was not expecting to catch 2 Pallas's Warblers in 1 day, one unringed bird and the other ringed with Y97899 from The Netherlands!

To put this in to perspective, we have only ever had 2 recoveries of Pallas's Warbler both in 1982, one bird ringed at Dungeness in Kent, which was later killed by a Kestrel and the other ringed on Fair Isle, Shetland and found dead a day later.

We will let you know the ringing details as soon as we can.

Thanks to Wilf Norman for letting us know and for the photo.