Friday, 4 March 2016

Old'un Goldie

Last night parental duties prevented me from making the utmost of some absolutely perfect lamping conditions but I did manage to sneak out to a site just down the road for an hour or two!

The catch was small, one new and two re-trap Woodcock but I did also catch a ringed Golden Plover. At first glance in the beam it looked VERY interesting as the ring was clearly aluminium and there were no colour-rings. A foreigner?? Luckily it sat tight otherwise I'd have been cursing for weeks! Whilst not as interesting as I'd hoped it did prove to be our oldest recorded Golden Plover to-date. I had ringed it originally with an old D ring back on 14th November 2009 at the exact same location to within 50m!

Now sporting colour rings! Hopefully our paths might cross again in another 6 years when it will be the oldest Golden Plover recorded under the BTO ringing scheme!

When originally caught this bird was aged as an adult i.e. at least a year and a half old so although officially only 6 years, 3 months and 18 days have elapsed it is at least 7 years and 9 months old. The current longevity record for a British-ringed Golden Plover stands at 12 years and 29 days so still a way to go yet! Waders as a group are generally long-lived and compared to some other species of comparable size this figure is fairly low. The current record for Oystercatcher stands at 40 years, 1 month and 2 days, for Grey Plover it is 25 years, 1 month and 18 days, for Lapwing 21 years 1 month and 15 days and for Knot 27 years, 3 months and 29 days. Even Dunlin stands at 19 years 3 months and 26 days! Given all the problems they face with habitat destruction, climate change and illegal hunting etc I am constantly in awe that such small creatures can stay out of trouble for so long! 

This link to the BTO's longevity pages may be of interest and may provide a few surprises!

I suppose with such big eyes it isn't that difficult to watch out for yourself!


  1. Nice one mate, I'm sure with the amount that we have been able to colour ring in recent years, it's only a matter of time ;)

  2. I reckon so! Over 800 colour-ringed now I think :)


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