04 November 2016

Fire with red and yellow

It has been an exciting time in the Demography team over the past month, with data and news arriving in earnest. In terms of bird migration, the winds were coming from the east, bringing rare birds with them to our shores, as described in the BTO Bird Migration Blog.

Yellow-browed Warbler featured very highly last month, with another bumper year, see BirdTrack reporting rate graph below. At the beginning of October, Fair Isle Bird Observatory counted 72 and Cape Clear Bird Observatory managed to ring its 60th Yellow-brow of the autumn. West Cornwall Ringing Group have also been doing very well for this species with 56 ringed so far this autumn.

The Online Ringing and Nest Recording Report shows recoveries for Yellow-browed Warbler are few and far between, with exchanges only occurring between Britain and Ireland and the Channel Islands, Norway and the Netherlands. This year however, we have heard that one was caught at Brownstown Head, Ireland wearing a Russian ring! Hopefully we will get all the data soon.

Yellow-browed Warbler, taken by Lee Barber

Another autumn visitor is the Firecrest and we have just received the ringing details of a Firecrest recaptured a few years ago by the Teifi Ringing Group wearing a Belgium ring. This bird had travelled 566 km in two months and 10 days.

Whilst migration of small passerines is starting to reduce, thoughts now move to the influx of winter birds such as thrushes and Waxwings. Redwing in particular have been arriving in large numbers, and some ringers are getting close to 1,000 birds ringed this autumn. We will have to wait and see if our 2016 ringing total for Redwing beats the 11,743 ringed in 2015, but it is looking good so far.


  1. Hi, following that link to Teifi, it looks like one of the Redwings that had moulted half a tail, rather than the Firecrest.

  2. Update: The Russian ringed Yellow-browed Warbler was ringed as a first year bird, six days previously at Rybachiy 55'4N 20'43E.