We’re asking birdwatchers to look out for colour-ringed and dye-marked waders and ducks on and around the Severn Estuary.
The British Trust for Ornithology and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust have recently started a project to understand more about the home ranges of three species of wader (Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin) and a range of duck species (primarily Shelduck, Pintail and Shoveler) on the Severn Estuary between Newport and Cardiff. As part of this work, Redshank and Curlew have been colour-ringed and Dunlin and Shelduck marked with yellow dye, which stains a small part of their plumage and will be lost when the birds next moult. In addition we have put state-of-the-art tracking devices on some of the Curlew, Redshank and Shelduck, which are already giving us fascinating information about how these birds use the estuary through the winter during both the day and the night. Work is ongoing, and we will be trying to mark more birds of these species during January and February 2016.
The work is funded by Tidal Lagoon Power, to provide high quality scientific information for the environmental impact assessment for a proposed tidal power lagoon (Tidal Lagoon Cardiff), and to inform their conservation and biodiversity programme – the Ecosystem Enhancement Programme (EEP)
If you see any colour-ringed or dyed birds when you are birdwatching either on the Severn or elsewhere, we would be very grateful for any sightings of these birds.
We are particularly interested in any records of birds with yellow dye. Birds of different ages have been marked on different parts of the body so please record the location of the dye and, if possible, the total number of birds in the flock, the date, time and location (ideally including a six-figure grid reference). Any records of colour-ringed birds on the Severn would also be extremely valuable, even if the full combination was not read, and we will give all observers information on the history of any these birds.
We are very keen to follow up any records quickly and would be grateful if you could phone the BTO on 01842 750050, or email Emily Scragg (Emily.Scragg@bto.org) with any records of colour-marked waders as soon as possible. Please contact Ed Burrell (Ed.Burrell@wwt.org.uk) with any records of colour-marked ducks.
Please pass on this information to any of your birdwatching contacts who may be interested in recording these birds. Many thanks in advance for any records you submit.
Further details of the marking schemes are provided below:
Redshank have yellow over white colour rings on the left tarsus (below the “knee”), and a colour over a metal ring on the left tibia (above the “knee”), plus two colour rings on the right tibia.
Curlew have orange over white colour rings on the left tarsus, a single colour ring on the left tibia, the metal ring on the right tarsus and two colour rings on the right tibia.
Dunlin adults have yellow dye on the breast, while first-winter Dunlin have yellow dye on the undertail/flanks/rump.
Shelduck have yellow dye on the normally white plumage on the neck/upper breast.