Cracking The Code

I had work business on our Mereside estate today so did my lunchtime birding at the waste transfer station. Almost instantly I got on a colour ringed Herring Gull. Whilst it was moving its legs in and out of view it was clearly N:37B.

The best shot I managed

I’ve submitted the bird to the ringing scheme involved, but they also have a website http://www.nwgulls.org.uk where they show past recoveries. This bird happened to feature and the details are obviously at the top of the post. It’s not a significant recovery in one sense, but in another sense all recoveries are significant.

You may (or indeed may not) be wondering about the colon in the ringing sequence. That’s at the tamer end of colour ring curveballs; the Brent Geese that winter in South Cumbria have had codes including playing card suits before now. At the simplest level this is because colours and combinations eventually get used up and solutions are needed.

Coincidentally I saw an explanation today of how there’s a little more to it than that, which I reproduce in case some readers find it interesting.

And if this all sounds a bit esoteric and irrelevant to normal life in Blackpool Stanley Park Lake reopens tomorrow. With a smartphone or a bridge camera you could easily get involved in this Citizens Science by reading and reporting some ringed gulls.

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