21 November 2020

Cornwall is a colourful place (for rings)

Over the years various members of the group and local birders have reported a wide variety of colour-ringed birds in the county. As we run a long-term urban gull project, not surprisingly our most-reported species is Herring Gull, but what about other species? A quick look at the numbers from the BTO's DemOn (Demography Online) database gives us records of over 4,500 colour ring reads of 26 different species, summarised by year here:

As expected, other gull species feature right at the top, followed by species that we run RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) projects on: Kittiwake, Jackdaw and House Sparrow. We don't ring any smaller gulls ourselves, so all of the records of Mediterranean and Black-headed Gull resightings come from other schemes, often abroad. In fact a lot of the larger gulls are from abroad as well, with French Great Black-backed Gulls topping the table, closely followed by Belgian and French Mediterranean Gulls.

Polish-ringed Black-headed Gull at Swanpool, Falmouth (Mark Grantham)

French-ringed Great Black-backed Gull at Southerly Point, Lizard (Terry Thirlaway)

Belgian-ringed Mediterranean Gull at Coverack (Mark Grantham)

Irish-ringed Lesser Black-backed Gull on Copperhouse Creek, Hayle estuary (Mark Grantham)

Lower down the list are some more unusual species, details of which we've blogged about before, including:

Some of the other more unusual resightings include these smart birds:

Green A61 was seen at Lizard Lighthouse in March 2018 before being seen back on
Skokholm Island where it was ringed just nine days later (Terry Thirlaway)

This Dutch-ringed Sanderling was a regular on Marazion beach in winter 2016-17
and also once in January 2018, but was also regularly seen on
autumn passage in The Netherlands (Ben Porter)

This Dutch-ringed Sandwich Tern at Sennen Cove had been seen
three weeks previously in Tyne and Wear (Clive Richards)

We're always keen to receive new sightings though and can help in tracing birds with the different coordinators, so if you're lucky enough to see any colour-ringed birds then drop us an email with details - westcornwallringinggroup@gmail.com