The importance of being ringed

I’ve been a trainee bird ringer for quite some time, and having begun to understand the reasons for ringing and why it continues, as well as the research questions it helps to answer, I find myself looking out for ringed birds while out birding. It’s a great thing to do and adds another dimension to shifting through flocks of birds. It can be hard picking out ringed birds and noting down all the details, but thankfully the use of colour rings and darvic rings has helped. I thought I’d summarise some of the interesting ringed bird sightings from this year (all from Hill Head or Titchfield Haven).




There’s always a small flock of sanderling in the winter at Hill Head and a number of them are usually colour ringed. The sanderling pictured (W3RGBY) was ringed in Iwik village, Banc d’Arguin, Mauritania on 27th November 2013 and seen here on patch on 10th May 2015 – a very long distance travelled indeed! A number of other sanderling that overwintered on the beach had originally been ringed on Hayling Island.


Two of the colour ringed Avocets

Two of the colour ringed Avocets

H4 – a female ringed as a chick in Dunkirk colony, Cambridgeshire, UK in 2013 and usually spends the summer at Titchfield Haven.

GWX/YL – ringed as a chick in Diolet, Guerande in 2006, and spends its time in northern France and southern England. It was seen at Titchfield Haven on 7th July 2015.

BY + GB, LN + GB and BG + GB were all ringed as chicks at Needs Ore Reserve near Beaulieu, Hampshire, on 25th June 2014, 21st July 2014 and 3rd June 2014 respectively and have all spent most of their time in Hampshire, mostly at Titchfield Haven in the summer months.

A 6th avocet with a yellow flag “AC” on each leg, was also ringed as a chick at Needs Ore on 3rd June 2015, and spent a while at Titchfield Haven after fledging before returning to Needs Ore on 15th July 2015.

Black-tailed Godwit

WNG YRY was originally ringed in Seaton, Devon, on 7th February this year before spending most of it’s time at Titchfield Haven and Lodmoor RSPB.

Mediterranean Gulls

R07A was ringed as a second year bird on 30th December 2008 in Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, France and spent much of 2012-2015 in Total, Antwerpen, Belgium before being picked out on 17th July 2015 at Hill Head.

R65C was also ringed as a second year bird in Le Portel, Pas-de-Calais, France, this time on 26th January 2013, and seems to have mostly remained there until it was seen on 7th July.

37V6 was ringed as a chick in Zandvlietsluis, Antwerpen, Belgium on 25th May 2007 but has spent most of its time at Montreuil-sur-Loir, gravières des Bretonnières, Maine-et-Loire, France, before being recorded at Hill Head on 7th July.

Common Gull

A common gull with a red darvic ring – 2AHB was ringed in March 2012 at Pitsea Landfill site in Essex. The sighting on 9th October 2015 at Hill Head is the only report of it since being ringed.

Common Gull 2AHB

Common Gull 2AHB

You can see the map here:

Herring Gull

A herring gull with a white darvic ring – A5PF was also seen recently at Hill Head but I haven’t heard back about it yet. It’s likely to have ben ringed in Fairlight, East Sussex so I’ll update once I know for sure!

Herring Gull (not headless, honest!)

Herring Gull A5PF (not headless, honest!)

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