In late June, on my regular drives up to North Wales in search of Nightjars, I had noticed a late pair of Grey Wagtails popping into a roadside cutting near Cerrigydrudion and had ear-marked it for a closer look in case there was a brood to ring. In early July, Paul and I stopped to have a look and noticed that the male of the pair was wearing a BTO ring. Needless to say we put a net up to try and catch him (especially as I know there aren't many active ringers in that area) but he wasn't carrying food and was having none of it.
This morning on the way past Damian Clarke and I noticed the female in the road carrying a big beak-full of insects. She was soon joined by the BTO-ringed male and the nest, containing three perfect ringing-age pulli, was quickly located. Thankfully it was quite low down on the cutting so a net was soon in place and not long after a single adult threw itself in. Now normally this would have been the wrong bird but in this instance it was the one we were after.
A quick look at the ring number told me it was actually one I had ringed myself!! Checking my records when we got back showed that it had been ringed as a chick the previous year on the River Ithon near Llanbadarn Fynydd some 64 km south of where it was nesting.
The interesting thing was that I had found the nest, on a small riverside cliff, whilst I was doing our Dipper RAS but didn't have all the necessary gear to get to it so I had returned the following day with Lloyd and a rope and harness. I'm now really glad I did as I nearly didn't bother!