Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Back Again!

Buzzard courtesy of David Cookson.

First to get the business of the photograph having nothing connected to the post out of the way, but an excellent image of the Buzzard which I appreciate having the permission to use....Thanks David.

Birds are truly amazing creatures in many different ways and I'm particularly intrigued by the way they have the ability to return - year after year in some cases - not only to the same country but virtually to the same spot and I suppose the Swallow has to be the perfect example of this as it returns to the same garage at the same house to nest under the same roof as it did last year.

Every time I've visited Conder Green again this winter I haven't failed to be amazed to find the Common Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, and Greenshank all back here again this year. Great Grey Shrikes - Dalton Crag today - are another example of a bird which has the habit of turning up in successive winters at the same location and you could go on about this kind of example.

This winter has been a particularly hard one across most of Europe and its not surprising that birds have found it necessary to move to find sufficient food and you would have expected the Waxwing to have been a species seen regularly this winter in the UK but apart from a very few sightings they didn't begin to appear here until February and in relatively small numbers even then. But winter 2010 has turned out to be an exciting and truly surprising winter after all for one village in Scotland all because a Waxwing returned having been ringed as an immature female the previous February in Kintore near Aberdeen.

This bird is only one of three confirmed records of a Waxwing returning to the UK in a subsequent winter from c.4,500 ringed birds and although there are many re-sightings and recoveries of dead birds, once the Waxwings leave their remote breeding grounds very few are ever heard of again.

But how about this....Another truly startling recovery was of a bird ringed as an adult male in Aberdeen in 2005, unfortunately and sadly this individual was killed by a cat twelve months later in Russia in a village east of the Ural Mountains almost 4,000 km north-east of Aberdeen where it was ringed the previous year.

I estimated in excess of 600 Black-tailed Godwits from the Clock Tower at Morecambe this mid-afternoon.


Brian Rafferty said...

Pete. Great read as always and full of interesting facts. Looks like we will have to wait another year for a waxwing irruption to our part of the country. One of our most beautiful visitors and loved by all birders.

Take care.

Pete Woodruff said...

Glad you found the piece interesting and kind of you to say so, good to hear from you once again Brian too.