Frustration Always Rings Twice

Bird News: Ibsley Waterblack-necked grebe 1, goosander 35+, goldeneye 11+, yellow-legged gull 10+. Centre lesser redpoll 3+.

A very busy day on the reserve today. The largely fine weather coupled with the closure of many schools seemed to have brought out more visitors than for some days. We also had the Lower Test Volunteer team in felling the diseased alder trees near the Centre, it seems we lose more each year. Jim and Michelle were busy with an education volunteer training session and on top of all this the fencing of the northern boundary of the reserve was cracking on at a good pace.

I seemed to spend a good bit of time moving between these various activities checking all was going to plan. On the way I did not see many birds but I did come across a few fungi. On the Dockens Water path running east one of the shaggy parasol mushrooms still stands.

shaggy parasol

Returning to the tree felling I came across a small clump of sulphur tuft fungi on a pile of logs that resulted from last year’s felling of diseased alders.

sulphur tuft

Sometime ago I put up some rails in the lake outside the Goosander hide, these were to provide some more attraction for birds close to the hide. I hoped they would be used by perching gulls, cormorants and similar, incidentally I thought that it would also mean they would be close enough for any colour-rings to be read. Since I put them in I had not really been over to have a look at how they were working, but this afternoon I did. There were lots of gulls on the lake at 3:30 when I got there and several on the perching rails, including a couple of yellow-legged gull.

yellow-legged gull, sub-adult, probably 3rd winter

The one above is not quite adult, the brownish markings in the tertials and dark band on the bill give this away, but at any range in the roost would be hard to spot. The mid-grey mantle and yellowish legs, or here just leg, identify the specie. An adult also hopped onto the perch for  a time as well, one of at least seven or eight on the water nearby.

yellow-legged gull, adult

This particular one is not as clean white-headed as most at this time of year, still cleaner than almost any herring gull, but well-marked for a yellow-legged. I then realised that there was a colour-ringed adult lesser black-backed gull as well and that I could easily read the code printed on the ring.

lesser black-backed gull, ringed

The code is A2C4 engraved in white on a black ring. It is usually quiet straight forward to track down the scheme that has ringed such birds, there is a good website that lists all the schemes operating in Europe, but this one has foxed me so far, several scheme seem to use similar codes, but none are just right, so where it comes from will have to remain a mystery for now.

Then I spotted another ringed bird, this time a herring gull with a faded white ring engraved in red with B+V, obviously form a quite different scheme. I got home hoping to find out where two of our gull came from, after one disappointment it was all up to the herring gull. However it was not to be, I could not find a scheme to match this bird either.

herring gull ringed

Obviously it is interesting to know where the birds come from but it can also be of more importance than that, especially if the bird has been seen many times during the years since to was ringed. Our great white egret is colour-ringed and so we know it is the same bird every year and that it is now eight years old. Hopefully these gulls will also give up some interesting information if I can ever track down where they came from.


6 thoughts on “Frustration Always Rings Twice

  1. The cr-birding site is always the first port of call for these things, but I have failed to find any schemes that exactly matches either of these birds, similar ones yes, but nothing quite right. Mind you the site being rejigged at present and I found this makes some bits harder to get to grips with. I will try the two suggestions you made Paul, but I think I have checked both those schemes already.

    Any more suggestions out there?



  2. Bob

    I’m pretty sure that Peter Rock is (still) the large gulls cr co-ordinator for europe. He’s always pointed me in the right direction when I couldn’t get a match on Dirk Raes’s website.


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