Colour-ringed Curlews UPDATE

In the 2020/21 season Mike Smart and Chris Wells observed 32 of the 41 Curlews colour-ringed by a BTO/WWT project in autumn/winter 2015/16. This indicated a pretty high survival rate but since the beginning of the 2021/22 season four more of the 41 have been seen, which means that at least 36 out of these 41 colour-ringed birds had survived until the 2020/21 winter. In most cases there were multiple re-sightings; very few of the 36 are included on the basis of a single sighting.

So far in 2021/22, 25 of the 41 ringed birds have been re-sighted. It is very striking that birds ringed near Peterstone (at Rhymney Great Wharf) are nearly always recorded at the Peterstone roost while those ringed near the lighthouse are normally ringed either near the lighthouse or at Goldcliff.  Mike and Chris intend to continue observations for the rest of the 2021/22 winter (until the birds depart in spring 2022) in the hope of seeing more of the 16 “missing” birds.  Reports from others are a huge help so please  continue to keep an eye out for colour-ringed Curlews and send details or photos to Mike Smart at smartmike143@gmail.com .

Since autumn 2019 at least one of the head-started birds, raised from eggs and released at Slimbridge in July 2019 with a numbered ring, has repeatedly been seen in the Goldcliff area, always just too far away for its ring number to be read. Then, in November 2021, a local Gwent birdwatcher managed to take a photograph at Goldcliff of individual number 50, which had been seen after release in July and August 2019 at Slimbridge but nowhere else since. It may well have been on the Usk estuary throughout the ensuing period, perhaps departing to an as yet unknown breeding site in summer 2021.

In addition, three ringed Curlews from other ringing schemes were recorded in autumn/winter 2021.