Summer Black-headed Gulls here, Chiffchaffs there…

Some indications of the origins of our wintering Black-headed Gulls and Chiffchaffs and some controls from our hirundine roost netting


Black-headed Gull (Sally Harris)

Summer Black-headed Gulls here, Chiffchaffs there…

An interesting Black-headed Gull movement came from a two-year-old bird ringed near a breeding colony in Gelderland, Netherlands in June 2012, and field-sighted at Rye Meads in November 2012 and again in September 2014.

Another Black-headed Gull ringed as a chick at Hosehill Lake in Berkshire in June 2012 was first field-sighted in Newport, Pembrokeshire in December 2012, then again back at Hosehill Lake in May 2013, and now at Rye Meads in May 2014. Presumably a young bachelor playing the field before settling down!

A Cetti’s Warbler ringed in Warrington in November 2010, age unknown, was trapped at Rye Meads in October and November 2012 and again a year later, so presumably now settled in the area.

Two interesting Chiffchaff controls: firstly an adult male ringed in July 2012 in Redcar & Cleveland, so presumably breeding in that area, was controlled in November 2013 and January 2014. A second control was ringed in October 2013 in Falsterbo, Sweden and trapped here in December 2013. Both of these birds reflect current thinking that the birds that winter at Rye Meads come from northern Britain and Scandinavia, whilst our breeding birds move on to Iberia and North Africa.

Our success in ringing many migrating Swallows and Sand Martins in the Autumn of 2014 threw up a series of controls. These included birds ringed in the nest or as juveniles earlier in the year in Northumberland, Cheshire, Leeds, Suffolk, Herts, Cambridgeshire, and at Broadwater GP in London, and interestingly a cluster of three birds from the same site at Hatfield, Herts, including two siblings; also two ringed the previous Autumn on passage at Icklesham in East Sussex, plus adults ringed on Autumn passage in 2012 in North Yorkshire and at Gibraltar Point, Lincolnshire.

We did also catch some Spring Swallows in 2014, which included a bird ringed as a juvenile in July 2013 in Loire-Atlantique, France, so fairly likely to have been French bred; so was it a case of migration overshoot, or was it on its way to breed in the UK somewhere?

Of the Sand Martin contingent, we controlled another from the same site in Hatfield, as well as a very interesting bird ringed the previous Autumn as an adult in Orkney: either a Scottish or a Scandinavian bird on the long trek to sub-Saharan Africa for at least the third time.

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