23 September 2016

A splash of gold

Back in March BTO Ringer Roy Pearson ringed a Goldcrest in his garden and has recently received some exciting news about his Goldcrest.

At 09:00 on 25/03/2016, I ringed a female Goldcrest in my garden in Boston, Lincolnshire. The bird weighed 6.9g.

Female Goldcrest. Photo taken by Anne Carrington-Cotton

This was subsequently caught by a ringer at 08:00 on 02/04/2016 at Griefswalder Oie, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.  This is close to the Baltic Sea and the Polish border, a distance of 931 km from where it was ringed (see map below). The duration was an amazing 8 days.

This is all the more remarkable as I ring very few Goldcrests in the Fens and is only the second recovery of this species in nearly fifty years of ringing.  The other recovery was also this year, but on this occasion the distance covered was merely a few hundred metres.
Eds write:
A ringer is nearly twice as likely to catch a foreign ringed Goldcrest in this country than to have a BTO ringed one found abroad. Around 22% of BTO-ringed foreign recoveries are found in The Netherlands followed by France (19%), then Belgium (16%). The bird in Roy's report is also one of the most-travelled BTO-ringed Goldcrests.
In a month's time we should reach the peak in Goldcrest sightings, as shown by BirdTrack (below); the sightings are currently following a similar reporting rate to last year (however there was an unusually high number of birds reported last October as previously posted). So if you see a ringed Goldcrest and are up for a challenge, have a go at reading the ring (usually 6 digits). It might have words like 'Norway or 'Sweden' as well.

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.