Monday 26th MarchThe Ecology and Conservation of Riverine Birds
Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
Posted by pete marsh
Please could someone 'sticky' this. Thanks.
A lot of Grey Wagtails have been individually colour-ringed whilst on autumn migration through Heysham and Middleton nature reserves. When we first started this, we assumed that the vast majority were reasonably long-distant migrants. Whilst we have had some distant sightings, notably on Skokholm 10 days after ringing, many have spent the winter in the local area and all the breeding season sightings so far have been in south Cumbria. We ringed 162 in autumn 2014, courtesy of a good breeding season and calm September weather and so there should be a higher proportion than usual on territory his spring/summer
Please could you all look out for colour-ringed Grey Wagtails on e.g. the rivers and tributaries running into Morecambe Bay from the south lakes. Even part-reads will be of considerable interest, especially if on territory in the breeding season, when there is a chance to check it out for more detail. Please contact PMrsh123@aol.com or text 07532433043 as soon as possible after the sighting. Thanks
They will have a combination of red (2014) or pink (2015) and BTO metal (please note which way round) on the left leg and a variety of two-colour combinations on the right leg which allows them to be individually identified. There may be some older birds with white or pale blue rings accompanying the metal BTO ring on the left leg (e.g. currently wintering at Crook of Lune)
More detail Heysham Obs blogsite (see links)
Thanks very much.
Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 20/05/2016 08:39AM by pete marsh.
Latest one which has led to a lot of correspondence as it seems to have lost one of the right leg colour rings. Scotland's finest photographers will hopefully be attempting to read the metal ring so we can individualise it - because it has lost a ring it becomes "one of 17 birds ringed at Heysham or Middleton in autumn 2014!". It is about half way along the A702 between the M74 and Edinburgh at Fairliehope and definitely nesting and presumed to be the female. Thanks to all involved with this bird so far.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 30/05/2015 10:32AM by pete marsh.
We've passed the 50 mark for ringing Grey Wagtails already this autumn - better than I expected given the poor breeding season for a lot of species
If you are checking Grey Wagtails for colour rings and do come across one five things to bear in mind to help narrow it down to a particular bird:
a) telling PALE BLUE from WHITE a little tricky (changed now to a MEDIUM BLUE - see below)
b) please note whether LIME GREEN or DARK GREEN
c) as per above, please note whether MEDIUM BLUE or DARK BLUE
d) the same colour may have been used on both right leg rings so you might get the impression of a 'long' ring (of the same colour)
e) It is important to know which way round the metal and colour rings are on the left leg (as well as the two colour rings on the right leg) as Middleton NR is COLOUR over METAL and Heysham NR METAL over COLOUR using the same right leg colour combinations. Therefore a failure to note this means it could be one of two birds and therefore not possible to document.
We have ditched the problematic GREY and BLACK colour rings, not noticing one of these two colours almost certainly led to two birds not being individually identifiable last year, and have added what has been described as 'Barbie doll PINK'! This PINK been used as the site ring (on the left leg with the metal ring) replacing the RED site ring used last year which we used with every available combination of right leg colours as a result of the excellent passage
Please send any sightings to PMrsh123@aol.com as soon as possible so that there might be a possibility of re-connecting with the bird if there are any queries on the ring-reading. Thanks very much.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 18/09/2015 11:48AM by pete marsh.
Returns from last autumn's ringing so far have included birds at Etherow Country Park near Stockport, Stoke on Trent, Chester and Lunt Meadows near Seaforth
Now is the time to look for them on breeding territories - note that one of the birds caught last autumn was ringed as a nestling by the 5-gate road ford upper Roeburndale, so that does include local birds as well as e.g. south Lakes. Thanks
Don't forget to please inform us if you only catch a glimpse of a bird with a colour ring. It could easily be on territory and a follow-up visit with a scope could determine the full details. Thanks
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/04/2016 09:35AM by pete marsh.
A female with colour rings seen very briefly in upper Hindburndale this afternoon but it is not known exactly where its territory is between Stairend Bridge and the aqueduct on the Mill Beck tributary and we couldn't relocate it in the short time available
If you see it, please note the colour ring on left leg and whether it is above or below the metal ring. That will sort the ringing site (whether Heysham NR or Middleton NR) and the year of ringing out BUT................
............to identify the individual bird, need to know colour and position of the two colour rings on the right leg. Thanks in anticipation if you are up there
83 in total for autumn 2017 and surprisingly no re-sightings as yet - probably because Grey Wags have had so many obscure bits of puddle and other waterbodies to use this wet autumn so far! Please do keep an eye open for them over the course of this winter. Please note that the site ring on the left leg now includes ORANGE. So the left leg, unless its an incredibly old bird, will be a combination of RED/Metal or the other way round, PINK/metal or the other way round, ORANGE/metal (haven't used metal over ORANGE yet)
The right leg should be a combination of two easy to see colours (we've ditched the greys and blacks!) but you will need to record whether light blue or dark blue and similarly light or dark green. All the other colours are single tone (even white :-)).
PLEASE let me know if you only glimpse "a colour ringed bird" as it can be followed up if its eg on winter territory. Thanks. PMrsh123@aol.com
At least one not fully read colour-ringed bird in the roost at White Cross (up to 42 birds) and one similarly at Bank End Farm needs the right leg sequences confirmed. Both ringed in autumn 2017 at Heysham or Middleton. Please do let us know if you see any, even part-read as they should be in residence now with plenty of second chances to read them fully
An interesting report just received from Sandbach (Cheshire) of one which has visited a garden for the last two winters and ringed in 2013. The dark blue colour rings had discoloured slightly and the red seemed a little faded otherwise they had done well to still be in place and recognisable. One assumes that this adult is still moving north to breed??
Also another bird wintering relatively locally near the Jeremy Lane/Cockerdsands road junction
Please do keep reporting these more local sightings and they contribute to the distribution pattern. Thanks
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