It has been a few months now since Curlew Country released their latest group of young headstarted Curlew. They’ve had time to feed up, explore and get to grips with their new flight capabilities – learning to fill those big wader footprints! After the release in early August, we were thrilled to see some of the young birds in nearby fields, as well as getting reports from local supporters of their whereabouts in the surrounding areas. After a few weeks however, these sightings dwindled as the birds join others and make their first migration to their chosen wintering sites.
All of the birds we release are fitted with colour rings, creating a unique combination that allows them to be traced back to us if they are spotted again. This can still be quite a tricky business, and usually requires either a powerful telescope or camera lens to clearly read the rings on the Curlews’ legs. Luckily for us this year has already proved great for Curlew spotting, and 3 of this year’s birds have already been sighted!
Two birds were spotted in Wales, having travelled around 60 miles from their release sites to be seen in Tywyn and Mawddach (photo of headstarted Curlew above courtesy of L. Westlake). The real star of the show however comes from the bird that has been spotted multiple times down in North Devon, around 120 miles away! Interestingly, there have been some reports of Shropshire ringed Curlews all the way from Spain, you can read more about this on the Ruffled Feathers blog here.
Sightings of colour-ringed birds really helps us to understand more about these wonderful waders, so if you see one, please submit your sighting! Tony Cross, Curlew Country’s ornithologist has worked for many years helping to grow our knowledge of various waders and other species through the ringing programme. You can follow this link to send your sightings directly to the mid-Wales ringing group: https://mid-walesrg.shinyapps.io/mwrg_sightings/