Thursday 30 September 2021

Pushing boundaries

Since the formation of the Mid Wales Ringing Group (and the start of the Dunlin colour-ringing project) in 2016 we have individually colour-marked over 6,000 Dunlin. The colour-marking has massively improved the recovery rate of our marked Dunlin and so far we have had over 450 sightings from a wide geographical area. Two recent sightings though have greatly extended the boundary of the area that Ynyslas Dunlin are know to either come from or go to. Olivier Gilg recently informed us of the sighting of LP0, a Dunlin ringed by Paul and Silvia on 23rd August 2020, seen on territory in NE Greenland (where it was being attacked by a breeding Sabine's Gull!).  


Ynyslas Dunlin on breeding ground in NE Greenland image © M.-A. Forin-Wiart/GREA

We also recently heard from Arnold Kristjuhan informing us of a sighting of NH5 (a bird ringed by me on 18th October 2020 in front of the Pillbox on the Dyfi salt marsh whilst trying to catch Curlews for the ECHOES project at Tareste, Hiiumaa, Estonia. These two records greatly extend the northern and eastern limits for our Dunlin recoveries so far. The furthest south an Ynyslas Dunlin has so far been recorded is at Pirang Shrimp Farm in the Gambia.

Of the 450+ sightings submitted so far, foreign movements of Dunlin to or from Ynyslas have included Greenland (3), Iceland (4), Faero Islands (1), Norway (3), Sweden (5), Finland (2), Estonia (1), Denmark (4), Germany (4), Poland (2), Republic of Ireland (23), The Netherlands (5), France (30), Switzerland (1), Spain (62), Portugal (15), Canary Islands (2), Morocco (2), Mauritania (124), Senegal (1) and The Gambia (1)

 (NB these totals may contain more than one sighting of the same individual)

So next time you see a flock of Dunlin, and rapidly ignore them in search of something more exciting, take a moment to think that in the summer some of those birds may have spent their time dodging Sabine's Gulls, Arctic foxes and even Polar Bears and may be heading off to spend the winter dodging Black Kites, Jackals and Crocodiles, it's amazing really that there are still so many of them!

Friday 24 September 2021

New Colour-ring Reporter App


Thanks to the IT skills of Stephen Vickers we now have an automated colour-ring reporter app. If you click the link on the top right of the website you will see the above screen and there you can input your sightings of any of our colour-ringed birds. The app will then generate an immediate output detailing the ringing information and any subsequent re-sightings. I hope you like this exciting new development and that this may encourage a few more birders to submit their colour-ring sightings directly (in return for instant gratification!).

Wednesday 15 September 2021

Where do you think you're going?

Photo by Alex Jamieson

An email popped into my inbox today with details of a sighting of a young Kestrel, ringed earlier this year in one of Red Liford's nest boxes near Lledrod in Ceredigion. Given the location and the distance of the sighting I was a bit sceptical that the report was correct but, if it was, wanted to post something on the blog. I sent the finder an email to see if they had any photos of the bird and thankfully, not only did they have photos but several (not posted here) confirmed, without any doubt, that the bird in question was one that we had ringed and was not one from another scheme with similar rings. It was photographed (looking very sorry for itself) in heavy rain on Rattray Lighthouse in Aberdeenshire, just over 600km NNE of where it had hatched!

We get disappointingly few records of our ringed Kestrels but since colour-ringing started we have had recoveries from West Yorkshire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Gloucester, Wiltshire, Suffolk and even Spain. This current movement to North Scotland is totally unexpected and unprecedented. 

I really hope the bird in question survives and in a way I hope it doesn't attempt the return journey, at least not until we get some better weather next year.