Wednesday 25 July 2018

Wednesday 25th July

Another hot and sunny day. With both tides covered, interest again focused on the amassing assemblage of returning waterbirds and in particular, their colour rings.  The truly cosmopolitan sources of the gulls and terns that use this site as a staging post on their international migratory journeys was clearly in evidence today with reads of 12 rings on Mediterranean Gull, of the 70+ present, most were ringed in France and Belgium, also from Langstone Harbour, Hampshire and Germany.  A colour-ringed Black-headed Gull, also seen here in 2016, was ringed in Denmark in 2013. Of the six Great Black-backed Gull with rings, these were ringed in past years in N France and Dorset.  And of six Sandwich Tern reads, two with colour-rings were ringed in Wales and Scotland (details to follow on the others).
Oystercatcher numbers increased again and individuals colour-ringed here in Feb 2018, but absent over the summer, were among those being re-sighted today.  Also among those Oystercatchers returning (seen yesterday) were individuals from older ringing schemes here, ringed in 1997, 1992 and the oldest in 1989 – 29 years ago!  These are impressively long-lived birds. 

Other counts within the recording areas of the estuary included c.985 Black-headed Gull, 540 Oystercatcher, 272 Curlew, 153 Redshank, 78+ Sandwich Tern, 48 Dunlin, 25 Whimbrel, 22 Great Black-backed Gull, seven Ringed Plover, five Bar-tailed Godwit, four Common Gull, three each of Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank and Knot, single Shelduck, Turnstone and Lesser Black-backed Gull, and the resident Slavonian Grebe.
In the evening, four Swift and c20 Swallow joined gulls and terns anting overhead.  A juv Peregrine flew through and from the largely ignored bushes two Willow Warbler were heard in passing.
A Belgian ringed Mediterranean Gull - Lee Collins

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