In 2010 we started a colour-ringing project on Whimbrel passing through West Wales in the spring to try and find out more about where they were coming from, where they were going to, and if it was the same birds using the same staging post each spring.
To date we have colour-ringed over 150 Whimbrel and up until recently had received just three local resightings and a dead bird recovered in North Africa (albeit the first African Whimbrel recovery North of the Sahara). In the last few days we have received a significant boost to our results. Firstly on 21st April, John Kemp photographed a Whimbrel on South Uist in the Outer Hebrides which had been ringed on spring passage in 2013.
Photo by John Kemp, 21st April 2014, Kilpheder, South Uist, Outer Hebrides
Then on 29th April, Marc Rapilliant photographed one at Pleubian, Brittany that had originally been caught on spring passage in May 2010. Whimbrel are long-lived birds so we hope that this is just the dribble before the gush!
Photo by Marc Rapilliard, 29th April 2014, Sillon de Talbert reserve, Pleubian, Brittany
This year's spring passage has only just got underway, and signs are it may be fast and furious. I had a flock of over 100 whilst surveying Chough sites in North Wales just a couple of days ago. So far we have caught just five new birds but one of our best sites has been destroyed following repairs to the recent gale damage and another is strangely devoid of birds this year, again possible due to the effect of the storms. Hopefully things will improve over the next two weeks, our peak passage period.
Our sum total of knowledge on West Wales Whimbrel to date.
Green marker is ringing location, Blue Markers are sightings and Red marker is a dead bird recovered.
Please feel free to add sightings!!