Monday, 11 May 2015

The wonder of Whimbrels in common have we

Over the past week or two Mid Wales Ringers and the Pembrokeshire Ringing Group have once again been targeting some of the many Whimbrel that pass through West Wales at this time every year on spring migration from their wintering areas in West Africa to more northerly breeding grounds. 

A few years ago I registered a colour-ringing scheme and we have since individually marked nearly 250 Whimbrel, including 40 this year so far. These birds are mainly birds caught by lamping at high tide. The Pembrokeshire Ringing Group have piggy-backed off this scheme, colour-ringing another 50 ish of the birds they have caught down there but this time mainly  by setting mist-netting at night. 

Sightings have been few and far between but have included birds in Brittany and Scotland, We also had the first North African recovery of a British-ringed Whimbrel found dead on a beach in Morocco. 

Last week I had and email from a birdwatcher in Portugal who had seen one of these colour-ringed birds sunning itself on a beach in the Algarve but unfortunately he never managed to get close enough to read the inscription so we can't say exactly which bird it was.

It is a bit disappointing that we have not had any sightings on the breeding grounds in Iceland and elsewhere yet but good things come to those that wait, I'm sure we will eventually. 

Hopefully the BTO will then be "making good use of the things that we find" in the next Migration Atlas. 

Thanks to Brendan for the Whimbrel flight shots.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Our furthest flung recovery ever!

 11 Feb
JHB, South Africa: On the hottest day recorded in JHB since Barn Swallow with tag on1973 a little fellow presumably overtaken by the heat of the day (it was 5:30pm and I was watering the garden) swooped down and proceeded to sit under the sprinkler. He looked very small and I decided to take a closer look. He didn't fly away and I was able to pick him up. I thought I'd better help dry him off a bit so that he could at least fly away to roost. While drying him off I noticed he had a tag on with the following inscription:Museum,London, SW7 Z115431
I'm going to keep him a little longer because he seems a bit weak, he was alone and I didn't see any other swallows around. I did enter the tags details onto a website called
Its just that the bird is so small.
Many thanks Charlene Tucker 

Thank heavens Charlene did enter the details on that website because Charlene's 'little fellow' was actually a Swallow ringed by Mid Wales Ringers at Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust's Cors Dyfi Reserve on 20th July 2014 just 9,335 kms from where it was found taking a shower! I really hope it survived and was released because I'd like to think we might retrap it there this summer. Now that would be amazing!!