Sunday 24th / Monday 25th April
Bonaparte's Gull still present on the Otter for the last couple of days. Also this evening (Monday) a first year Mediterannean Gull and a Whimbrel.
Below is one of three colour-ringed Shelduck that have been frequenting the Otter Estuary during the last week or so. It turns out that these birds have been colour-ringed on the Axe Estuary (approximately 13 miles east of the Otter, as the Shelduck flies), by the Axe Estuary Ringing Group. To date, 95 birds have been fitted with yellow darvic rings during the winter of 2010/11.
The above bird HV is an adult male, first colour-ringed on the Axe on 26/3/11 and this is the first re-sighting of the bird. I have recorded two other birds that appear to be paired up AT (a female) and HF (a male). It turns out that the female bird was first ringed on the Axe on 15/12/07, but a colour ring was only recently fitted in December 2010.
Shelducks are fairly well studied through ringing recoveries. Most British and Irish adult breeding birds have a well defined moult migration with the peak movement during the first half of July when birds congregate in the Heligoland Bight of the Wadden Sea. Here they join birds from Scandinavia and the Baltic.
However, some British and Irish birds avoid the above journey and instead moult locally in large estuaries, in particular, Bridgwater Bay on the Severn Estuary, the Forth in Scotland, the Humber and the Wash in East Anglia.
Recent counts on the Otter have been up to 27 birds, so if you are making a visit for the Bonaparte's Gull, keep an eye out for colour-ringed birds.
If you see any birds here (or elsewhere) Neil Croton from the Axe Estuary Ringing Group will be very happy to hear from you! He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org