There a range of colour-marked birds to look out for in the CWP, including the locally marked neck collared Canada Geese and locally marked Black-headed gulls.
The Canada Geese are worth looking out for now, as the post-breeding flocks begin to flock together prior to moulting – it is therefore possible to finder larger flocks beginning to gather with a number of marked individuals present. A flock of 18 geese (with Greylag Geese too) at Shorncote, on Saturday, included 8 marked geese. Monitoring the survival of these birds, and understanding which birds associate together, is a key part of the research project by Exeter University.
Large numbers of the local breeding Black-headed gull population have been colour-ringed over the past 10 years, yielding some fascinating data regarding international movements of our breeding population. Our birds typically move westward during the winter months, and are often recorded in southern Ireland for example. Many return to breed in the CWP and are often noted moving between breeding colonies. Three such birds were also at Shorncote Reedbed on Saturday, including the following.
Bird 1: 28/05/10 Cokes Pit, Somerford Keynes, Gloucestershire (hatched here)
25/04/11 Tamucumshin Lake, Wexford, Eire (312 km, W, 332 days)
20/06/15 Shorncote, Gloucestershire (2 km, N, 5 yrs 23days)
Bird 2: 29/05/07 Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire (breeding colony, Lake 9)
22/03/09 Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire (1 yr 297days)
01/04/09 Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire (1 yr 307days)
12/04/09 Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire (1 yr 318days)
19/04/09 Cerney Wick, Gloucestershire (1 yr 325days)
02/06/09 Cleveland Farm, Wiltshire (2 km, SSW, 2 yrs 4days)
11/04/10 Cleveland Farm, Wiltshire (2 km, SSW, 2 yrs 317days)
03/05/10 Cleveland Farm, Wiltshire (2 km, SSW, 2 yrs 339days)
03/06/10 Cleveland Farm, Wiltshire (2 km, SSW, 3 yrs 5days)
20/06/15 Shorncote, Gloucestershire (5 km, W, 8 yrs 22days)
A host of other colour ringed birds may turn up in the CWP – for example also at Shorncote Quarry on Saturday was a Spanish-ringed Lesser Black-backed gull.
Its worth keeping your eyes peeled and if you see birds of interest please let us know. Gareth Harris.