Promoting observation, free range exploration, sense of place and citizen science, through the field notes of a naturalist.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

German nein Dutch

Some people twitch tits I prefer rings - this is of course a reference to the Newport Wetlands penduline tit and my interest in citizen science through the reading of birds carrying rings! Now as a lapsed 'C' permit bird ringer I know how tricky it can sometimes be sorting out a poorly stamped inscription on a little aluminium ring. So imagine the complexities of reading same ring in the field but attached to the leg of a frantic black headed gull drunk on an elixir of water soaked bread. This was just the scenario last Sunday when it seemed that every card carrying National Trust member had descended on Tredegar House Lake with a dog ( usually a water loving Labrador or spaniel ) and a bag of kitchen scraps. 

Most, if not all of these well meaning individuals had only one objective and that was feeding a family party of mute swan. But where bread is involved it's always reduced to a raucous feeding frenzy akin to that outside Ali's Kebab Emporium in the wee small hours of a Saturday morning.

Now part of the ring readers field craft is to keep a keen eye of those wildfowl feeding Sunday strollers, as the resultant gathering of the avian masses is where the rings are. One such gathering of an excited family attracted most of the gulls from around the lake and at least two black headed gulls were carrying those shiny things but with the photographic difficulty factor close to ten on the photographic difficulty factor scale I decided to concentrate on the one that kept alighting on a small boundary wall. Sixty plus images later I felt I had enough to sort out a number.

Later that evening I had secured  a number believed to be from the German ringing scheme. This was subsequently submitted and to my surprise a couple of days later I had a reply from Frank Moors of the Dutch scheme with details of the bird that was ringed in the Summer of 2012 at Griend in Holland. The only drawback was that the information was supplied in Dutch and translation was somewhat painful.

That afternoon at Tredegar Lake there were also at least two Mediterranean Gull, four tufted duck and six little grebe along with singles of cormorant and heron.

That same day I called in to Riverside, Newport as the tide was out. Amazingly the first bird I set eyes on was the colour ringed redshank first noted almost exactly a year to the day in the same location. The contrast between the response to reporting bird rings to the BTO and that of continental schemes is that one year on I am still waiting for a reply!      

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