Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Ringing common terns in December?

Ok, so I wasn't ringing common terns in December, but if you read on you will see why I've choosen to name this post that.

I had a day off and a few hours free this afternoon, so my 11½ month old son and I headed off to “feed the ducks”.  This is code for “try and ring some black-headed gulls”.

Stopping off at the local supermarket to buy some gull-bait, a.k.a. white pan loaf, we were treated to the sight of several waxwings bouncing about on a fence at the side of the car park.  They looked fantastic in the winter sun and none of them were colour-ringed...I checked!

When we arrived at our site, I had a quick scan of the mixed flock of gulls which were lined up around the marina waiting on some well meaning person to come along with a loaf of Tesco’s finest to try and feed the mallards and swans.

The only colour-ringed bird which I saw was one of the two which ringed at the same location last month, “2AAA” – does this count as a 50% re-sighting rate?!

Anyway, we spent about an hour there, managing to catch three new birds which were all duly ringed and fitted with nice, orange colour-rings on their left legs. 

The time was also used to speak to several people who were out enjoying the beautiful weather and I explained about ringing, what I was doing and hoping to achieve.  They were all very interested in the project and I was surprised at how many of them thought the gulls flying 'round their heads were common terns!

Find out about Grampian Ringing Group’s waxwing colour-ringing project by clicking here.

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