Rings And Things

After a spell of bleak weather it was nice to be volunteering at parkrun in Stanley Park on Christmas Eve. A bonus was that the park had reopened following the avian flu outbreak and I was able to get a WeBS count in. The highlights of this included over 100 Gadwall and a Little Grebe.

I kept an eye out for colour ringed birds. I noted five Black-headed Gulls with blue Darvics. Both the ones I got phone snaps of had been ringed in the park and not recorded anywhere else.

Not pictured is 2L78, a bird ringed earlier and with quite a track record of sightings. These show it moving regularly between the park and two Cumbrian sites, Bowness on Lake Windermere and Grange-over-Sands ‘duckpond’. It would be interesting to know where, if anywhere, it breeds.

I tried not to get too close to the Mute Swans, given they have been hit hard yet again by bird flu. Nevertheless it appeared through my binoculars that one of the Darvic ringed birds (4DAA) had become entangled in fishing line. Mel and Justin from Brambles Wildlife Rescue were on site so I alerted them and they were able to remove the offending material.

The Darvic ring had to be cracked open to enable all the line to be safely removed. You can see the remains of the ring in this shot, and the retrieved line behind it.

The end of the year is a time of looking both backwards and forwards in birding, as in many other walks of life. I was curious to know when I first did counts in Stanley Park and was astonished to find out it was 20 winters ago (I should add my current stint has only been since 2014). Looking at the results from back then highlighted changes that were also evident in home videos of our daughters we’ve recently been viewing. Greylags used to be present in large numbers, these days its Mute Swans that are the dominant large waterfowl. Fingers crossed they bounce back from the latest setback.

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