Sunday, 21 April 2013

More colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits

On Thursday morning I had a meeting in Belfast, so heading in early to beat the traffic, I spent an hour or so in the hide at RSPB Belfast Lough Reserve.  I was checking to see if I could spot any more colour-ringed Black-tailed Godwits, after spotting two there last Sunday morning (see here).

One of the first colour-ringed birds I saw was one of the same birds I'd seen on Sunday, YYRX.

Photo by Keith Stevens

This bird was originally ringed in Alftafjorour in Iceland back in May 2003 and has since been re-sighted 28 times in Iceland (1), Northern Ireland (12), Norway (1), Faroe Islands (1), England (8), Portugal (1), France (1) and Wales (3)!

Red - Ringing location
Blue - Locations where YYRX has been re-sighted

Another bird I saw was GGOR(flag), which had been ringed as a chick in northern Iceland in July 2007.  It has since been re-sighted 8 times, all in Northern Ireland - 6 times at Belfast Harbour and twice on Strangford Lough.

Photo by Ronald Surgenor

Three other colour-ringed birds which I recorded had all been ringed at Mahee Island, Strangford Lough by Kerry Mackie. 

During my hour at the reserve I got chatting to Ronald Surgenor, who took the photo above, and after I left he saw and photographed several other colour-ringed birds, including RYO= and LNWX.

Photo by Ronald Surgenor

Photo by Ronald Surgenor

These godwits have been colour-ringed as part of a study called Project Jaðrakan, the main aim of which is to "unravel the population dynamics and migration strategies of this graceful bird".  You can find more out about the project by visiting their website by clicking here.

Many thanks to Keith and Ronald for letting me post their photos here and, as always, to Pete Potts for passing on the fascinating history of these cracking birds.

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