Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Colour-ringed Whimbrel and Rock Pipit

During 1986-88, Murray Grant colour-ringed 97 Whimbrels to monitor brood survival and return rates of adults. Although sightings of these birds were reported from Fetlar until the 1990s, there had been none since. This summer, Allan Perkins was working in Unst and Fetlar studying the breeding success of Whimbrels, due to the worrying decline in thier numbers in the last few years. On 9th May he was rather surprised to spot a colour-ringed bird on Fetlar, although it was 31st May before he could confirm the colour-ring combination. It had originally been ringed as a breeding adult on Fetlar on 1st June 1986. At 24 years, this is easily the longevity record for this species and, as Whimbrels don't normally breed until they are two or three years old, this bird may well be over 26 years old.

More detail, and photos, are on the BTO Demog Blog.

A colour-ringed Rock Pipit which was breeding on Whalsay this spring is now known to have been ringed in at New Aberdour in North-east Scotland in February. It is the first proof of a Shetland breeding bird emigrating for the winter, although there is a a previous record of a Shetland-bred chick being found in Scotland. There are also several other records of full-grown birds ringed in Shetland and found in Scotland in winter. Although these could be migrants, the evidence would seem to suggest that a proportion of Shetand Rock Pipits leave the islands in winter.

In addition, a colour-ringed Starling seen on Out Skerries recently does not appear to be a Fair Isle bird - although it's origins are still being tracked down.

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