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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!


Thursday, 24 January 2013

My small contribution to real science

Yesterday I read a short article, by Chris Lamsdell, which was hosted by Birdguides and urged all birders to send in their C-R (colour ring) sightings to the various projects which reside under the umbrella of EURING. I have been doing just that since I found my first Swedish C-R Black-headed Gull nearly twenty years ago! The range of species involved in these projects is as diverse as the number of species found within the Western Palearctic - someone, somewhere, wants to study it, using colour rings as a source of accurate data collation.

Just how close do you need to get before a metal ring code can be deciphered? This Herring Gull was in Ramsgate Harbour and the complete code was not readable - thus a waste of effort on two counts - the ringer and the ring reader!
From my own perspective, the use of colour ringing allow birds to be recorded whilst going about their daily routines, without the need of re-capture. I did hold a trainee ringers permit, many moons back, when I frequented the dilapidated H-block that was a fully functional Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory - under the guidance of one Rab Morton. Let's just say that ringing is not for me, although I concede that others get great satisfaction from this aspect of bird study. Paul. A. Brown and Wesley Attridge would go to extraordinary lengths to get "their" bird - Brownie caught the first Lesser Grey Shrike ever ringed in the UK and that's a story in itself!
I was never comfortable with the use of mist nets and fitting silly BTO metal rings - basically the data that is gained revolves around where the bird was captured and where it ended up dead/re-captured and how many days and kilometres were involved between these two dates. Any attempt at a life history is purely speculative.
A nice advert for the RSPCA Malydams wildlife rescue centre - this Herring Gull was taken into care as a displaced nestling - three years later it is still going strong thanks to the efforts of Richard and his team
Colour rings (coded or in combination) allow for the details of an individual bird to be read in the field, and as such, allow for a detailed picture of their movements to be built up over the period of the sightings. Obvious species like Gulls, Cormorants and Swans have provided masses of scientifically sound data which is able to aid conservation and educate those whose task is to plan for our future. However it is a technique which has helped unravel many mysteries of bird behaviour/movements involving many species of small passerines. I have personally photographed/recorded C-R Stonechat, Tree Sparrow (Dearne Valley RSPB - South Yorkshire), Twite and Waxwing plus several species of wader (Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling Turnstone and Avocet).

One of the most significant sightings I have reported - this bird is a female that nests on Ellesmere Island, Canada.
I found her at Walpole Bay, Thanet, where she had been originally ringed by Kevin Webb (a SBBOT ringer) two years previous. The first Canadian C-R Turnstone reported in Kent - the white flag on the left leg is the project signature.

The nice thing about these colour ringing projects is that the finder/ring reader is able to contact the project team directly, via the wonders of the cyber system, and get a rapid reply - very unlike the BTO snail mail when reporting metal ring details. It all goes pear-shaped, however, when the project is part of a student project and the sighting is long after they have gotten their qualifications and are off doing something else. I have several experiences of this type of C-R project - Twite of a Lancashire Reservoir was my first.

The Aberdeen Ringing Group were quick to send details of this bird - they had ringed it less than two weeks before I photographed it along the Ebsfleet Road (Pegwell Bay)


Sadly - I am still waiting for details of this Brent Goose - Reculver 2007


It seems unbelievable that I am unable to get any details of this adult Egyptian Vulture
- photographed on Menorca (Oct 2010) The bird has a C-R and an electronic tag.
I have reported this bird to several agencies - still no joy


A Norwegian C-R Great Black-backed Gull in Ramsgate Harbour - a very well co-ordinated project


An adult Herring Gull, on our bungalow roof, wearing a North Thames Gull Group C-R.
One of the most successful projects within the UK - the group are superbly equipped to get info back to the ring reader - usually within a few hours!


  1. very interesting read,i never know where to send the details of the ringed birds,any chance you could point me in the right direction cheers

  2. Mark,

    If you e-mail me at dylandbev1@btinternet.com I will send you the link to the C-R project website - Dyl