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Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings

Posted by pete marsh 
Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
March 04, 2015 12:12PM
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 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.
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 03, 2015 12:26PM
Latest: one Melrose sewage works on 25th March
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 08, 2015 08:12AM
Latest one on territory at Killington bridge on river lune
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 19, 2015 08:45PM
Latest sighting Marbury country park female seen with male on 17/4/15 - very unexpected potential breeding record?
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 22, 2015 06:03AM
Marbury country park bird still there paired up on 20/4
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
May 30, 2015 10:30AM
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.
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
September 18, 2015 11:37AM
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 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.
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
October 22, 2015 11:45PM
There is a colour-ringed bird around Eagland Hill but no individually identifying details seen yet (seen 15/10/15) . Please keep an eye open. Thanks
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 07, 2016 07:55AM
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.
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
May 18, 2016 08:12PM
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................ 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
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
September 23, 2016 08:20PM
Latest sighting a 2014 ringed bird identified as adult female at carsington water, Derbyshire on 28th August 2016
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
September 17, 2017 04:36PM
50 have been colour-ringed ringed so far this autumn despite a lot of unfavourable weather. Please do keep an eye open. Thanks
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
October 31, 2017 12:19PM
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.
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
November 15, 2017 11:48PM
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
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
January 02, 2018 11:16PM
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
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
August 28, 2018 08:31AM
Belated report in winter 2016/7 of an autumn 2016-ringed bird on the River test in Hampshire - this is the most southerly report we have had so far
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
September 04, 2018 06:23PM
We've started this autumns colour Ringing project but the birds have not been cooperative with even a flock of three all completely avoiding the net! Just to stress please carefully check the tone of any green or blue rings as we are using light and dark. All the other colours are single tone. Thanks
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
October 01, 2018 02:24PM
45 ringed this autumn so far with not many more to come as per usual passage period. Not a bad effort considering ringer availability the lowest for many years
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
April 26, 2020 09:07PM
A decent set of sightings of breeding birds in spring 2020 by people undertaking their daily exercise. Territorial birds seen at Killington Reservoir north side, Cockermouth, Brock near Catterall, Teviot Haugh Roxburgh, Blackpool north shore and what may have been a glimpse of last years breeding bird at Crawshawbooth
Re: Grey Wagtail colour ring sightings
August 16, 2020 05:51AM
the Furthest north Scottish sighting just received - Ceres, near St Andrews, Fife. Presumed to be territorial female but a bit late to be certain
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