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!