Thursday, 4 September 2014

It's Those Swallows Again!

Huw, Ian and I spent a pleasant couple of hours 'working' the Swallow roost last night again. We managed to ring 101 plus singles of Sand Martin and Reed Warbler. We thought that perhaps about a thousand Swallows were roosting, but there could have been more. The attendant raptor this evening wasn't a Hobby unfortunately, but a juvenile male Sparrowhawk instead.

We had very little else other than five Moorhens, a Teal and a Greenshank calling in the twilight!

We received details of some recoveries from the BTO yesterday and amongst them was quite an interesting Sedge Warbler that we had ringed at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park on 15th August 2010, and ten days later on 25th August 2010 it was controlled (re-captured by other ringers) 900 km south at Plaisance, Saint-Froult in France! See Google Earth image below.

 Movement of Sedge Warbler L141611

Interesting as this movement is, it isn't anywhere near as amazing as that of a Willow Flycatcher from North America that I heard about through the BTO Ringers Yahoo Group. Details of this amazing bird as controlled by the ringer in southeastern Mexico can be found below:
"We always speak about amazing migration achievements in Shorebirds. Here I want to show you something amazing. You know Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), these little guys can fly from North America to northern South America during migration. They weigh 14 to15 g and they cross through where we are, in Minatitlan Veracruz (southeastern Mexico). Yesterday we caught around 120 of them, and one was already banded. We checked it out, thanks to BBL, and found that this bird was banded in Harrison Illinois, USA on the 30th of August 2014. We recaptured it yesterday, 1st September 2014, two days later and 2200 km away. That means this bird flew about 45 km/hour for 48 hours non stop. That is an achievement!"

As Manuel says that is an achievement indeed! If you think about it, that 45 km/hour is an absolute minimum as what we don't know is how long the bird had been in Mexico when Manuel trapped it, probably not very long. I've ringed a good few Willow Flycatchers in Canada and they are only just a little bit bigger than a Pied Flycatcher! The more we learn about migration the more amazing it becomes!

 Willow Flycatcher

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