Colour Ringing

Please keep an eye open for colour ringed birds whilst you are birding in the area. Of particular interest are:

Colour Ringed Black-Headed Gulls:

Black headed gulls breed on a number of lakes in the CWP. Since 2004 members of the Cotswold Water Park Ringing Group have fitted nestlings with Darvic rings as well as BTO metal rings. Each bird has a unique 4 digit code which can be read through a telescope.

The purpose of this project is to monitor the birds movements and to study their return to the CWP to breed. A significant number have been sighted away from the CWP and we now know that many of the CWP birds migrate South and West in winter to Ireland, Wales, Cornwall and Spain. A few also stay in the CWP over winter and a large number of the adults breeding in the CWP were ringed here as nestlings.

The CWP birds have a white Darvic ring with black engraving fitted on the lower leg. All of our birds begin with the number 2 (reading from the foot up) followed by a letter and two numbers . The following letters have been used – A,C,D,E,H,K,N,P,T ,V,X and Y.

When reporting sightings please record:-

  • · Date seen
  • · Darvic ring number
  • · Which leg the Darvic Ring was an.
  • · The location (pit number or Grid reference).

Send sightings to

All sightings will be acknowledged and you will receive a full sighting history of the bird concerned.

Other gulls

Most other species of gulls found in the CWP may be colour ringed. In the past, re-sightings have been made of:  · A Common Gull from Sweden,  Black Headed Gulls from the Solent as well as France and Germany, Mediterranean Gulls from Belgium, France and Holland and Lesser Black Backed Gulls from various projects around the UK

Grey Heron; Richard Hearn has been studying the Grey Herons of the CWP and Severn Vale for several years, with many birds now wing tagged. If you see any wing tagged birds, please let know, recording the presence of tags on each wing, tag colour and the 2 digit inscription. Please also note the presence of any colour rings too.

Little Egret; A number of Little Egrets may also be observed wearing colour rings; please let us know the colour, position and inscription of rings on any birds in the CWP.

Little Ringed Plover; The CWP Ringing Group have also been colour marking Little Ringed Ploverss in the CWP for several years and small numbers of colour ringed birds may be observed by keen-eyed birders!  Please record the position of all colours and the metal ring and their colour.

Re-sightings; If you see any colour ringed birds in the CWP, please inform us, recording:

  • · Date and time,
  • · Exact location using lake numbers if possible,
  • · Species and if possible age and sex
  • · The type of colour mark (rings, wing tags etc),
  • · exact colours of rings and their exact location on the legs (left or right, tibia or tarsus) including any metal ring.
  • · the inscription if there is one; letters, numbers, horizontal or vertical lines.
  • · The activity of the bird (feeding, loafing etc)
  • · Total flock size if appropriate, e.g. for gulls and waders.

Please also let us know of the presence of other birds of the same species nearby, your name and contact details (so we can send you further information on your sightings). Photographs are welcome provided birds are not disturbed or effected by the activity.

Alternatively, please look at the European Colour Ring Birding website at for further information on colour ring studies in Europe. From this site, you may also be able to contact the project who originally ringed your re-sighted birds. If you contact the projects direct, please send copies of the life histories to us so we can include them in the Cotswold Water Park Ringing Group (CWRG) Database.