Call of the Curlew - Monitoring of Ringed Curlews at Goldcliff Lagoons


Yesterday morning at Goldcliff Lagoons I was introduced for the first time to a  gentlemen named Mike Smart by my friend Nevile Davies.

Mike has a huge amount of knowledge about Curlews and their conservation, particularly in the United Kingdom. He is very keen to know what colour ringed Curlews we have visiting the Newport Wetlands area including  Goldcliff Lagoons.

Mike is a key member of the Curlew Forum Steering Group and their aim is to keep Curlew Projects connected and to make information and advice on Curlew conservation accessible to all. He is also involved in local conservation activities with the Gloucestershire Naturalists’ Society and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.(From the website)

Nev and I spent a few hours with Mike and learned a great deal about Curlew monitoring and how they are ringed. It was really fascinating.

I would recommend you visit the Curlew Forum Website and learn what the group does. In my opinion anything that we can do to help this iconic wader species that is in decline in the UK would be fabulous.

Nev and I are going to start sharing our sightings of colour ringed Curlews with Mike and also would appreciate any reports that our friends, followers  and readers have. Please let us know if you see any coloured ringed Curlews and if you would be so kind, send us the pictures. We will send our sightings onto Mike so he can report to the BTO.

Interestingly on Saturday there was over a hundred Curlews on Becs Lagoon that were colour ringed.

Nev took some pictures of the ringed birds with his super zoom camera and Mike later did some research on them and established the following which he has permitted me to share on my blog -

In all we saw today five birds that had been ringed by a BTO team led by Steve Dodd and Dave Coker in winter 2015/16.

 All will have had an orange ring over a white ring on the left tarsus (this is the marker for Usk birds; the marker for Gloucestershire birds is yellow over white) and all will have had a BTO metal ring on the right tarsus. 

The really significant rings which allow you to identify individuals are the single coloured ring on the left tibia, and the two coloured rings on the right tibia.

 Thus a bird with a Black ring on the left tibia, and a Black ring over a White ring on the right tibia would be noted as Black Black White (NNW): N=Nero is used for Black to avoid confusion with B=Blue. You need to read all three of these to identify an individual, one leg is not enough!

The five seen were -

NNN (Black Black Black):  ringed 14.12.15 at Lighthouse Saltmarsh; metal ring FA 95806; re-sighted on 15.01.16 at Lighthouse Beach.
NNO (Black Black Orange): ringed 14.01.16 at Newton Farm, metal ring FA 95838: this one appears to be a re-ringing of a bird previously ringed FR 74668
NNW (Black Black White): ringed 15.12.15 at Lighthouse Beach, metal ring FA 95812; three re-sightings on 27.12.15 at Lighthouse Beach, on 30.12.15 at Lighthouse Field and on 05.01.16 at Lighthouse Beach;
NBR (Black Blue Red): ringed 15.12.15 at Lighthouse Beach, metal ring FA 95828; no re-sightings known to me; 
NBO (Black Blue Orange): ringed 15.12.15 at Lighthouse Beach, metal ring FA 95825; three re-sightings on different times of the day all on 27.12.15 at Lighthouse Beach. Your picture DCSN 6188.  Important to point out that we saw NBO and NBR together, and definitely distinguished the red ring below on the right tibia from the orange one; in the pictures the difference isn’t very striking.



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