Recent recoveries, with comments

In the early tradition of ringing reports, recoveries were often commented, placed in the context of state-of-the-art knowledge. Early Swedish recoveries were published that way by the professors Einar Lönnberg and Hjalmar Rendahl of the Swedish Museum of Natural History. I also remember the delight with which i read Ernst Schüz's and Rudolf Kuhk's comments to German recoveries in "Die Vogelwarte" for many years, the commentary always transferring some of their own enthusiasm for the topic. The same tradition has been nursed by the Vogelwarte Hiddensee as well. With growing amounts of recoveries (and less overview on the part of ornithologists), ringing reports today tend to be mere, uncommented data sheets, including an avalanche of trivial, blurring matter, a regrettable development that has wasted much basic knowledge - and a didactic resource. This collection of commented Dunlin recoveries is an attempt to connect to the old tradition. CP

To Dorset 4.1.03; to Schiermonnikoog 12.3.03; to Langenwerder 10.7.03; to Cap Ferret 9.11.03, Haute-Garonne 30.9.04, Campos del Puerto 2.12.95; from Vasa Sacos 12.2.02; to Luvia 8.7.04; to Stavsten 29.1.05; from Meaño 25.9.03; from Venezia 1991, Ferrara 2002; from Hungary, autumn 1999 - to Italy, late summer 2002 - to Sweden, spring 2007; to Helsinki area 4.8.07, a sighting; from Eastern Sivash, Ukraine, 28.5.04; to and from Crossness Sewage Works, UK,; Winter mortality in 2010; A rare spring control of a migrating schinzii, from Lumijoki, Oulu area; Spring bird from Falsterbo peninsula, 21 May, to Poland, 3 October; More on the same theme: a bird with "adult buff" medians from Falsterbo peninsula, 8 August, to Poland, 3 August; New casualties: Sussex, 4 December, South Denmark, 16 January;

Since most of my recoveries are controls, two digits have been replaced with "--" in ring numbers in order to discourage fake sightings or catches. There aren't many of them around (i suspect them from a few individuals in some Balkan states), but the possibility cannot be neglected. Maybe i'm over-cautious; printed ringing reports are always available to prospective forgers. [CP]

A. Dorset 4.1.03.

Stockholm 337--11, ringed 1c Ljunghusen, Falsterbo Canal (55.24 N, 12.57 E) 28.9.91 - controlled by ringer, Poole Harbour (50.41 N, 1.57 W), Dorset, ENGLAND 4.1.03, 03h. 1122 km WSW, 11 y, 3 m, 7 d.

This bird comes from the first nocturnal catch when I started my Dunlin study on the Falsterbo peninsula in 1991; one of them is still going strong! There is a similar retrap of a Nidingen bird from Poole Harbour in the Swedish 1999 report: 1c Nidingen (57.18 N, 11.54 E) 13.8.84 - Poole Harbour 12.2.99; 14 1/2 years! Link to Poole Harbour Study Group and Google map of the whole "harbour". The oldest Falsterbo bird reported by Roos 1984 was controlled at Schiermonnikoog, HOLLAND after 12 years and a month, in addition there are two regular recoveries of adult-ringed birds after 10 years. Added in the Report on Swedish Bird Ringing for 2000 is a bird Falsterbo - Ottenby after 11 years, 5 days. Is Dorset a preferred midwinter resort of ultra-adults? And is 10 - 12 years some critical age when Dunlin start to get complacent? So far I myself have been involved in two birds of similar age, but there is one or two from Ottenby in every Swedish annual report:

Stockholm 336--03 controlled, 3c+ male (inner primary ranking: 0, no moult), Skanör (55.24 N, 12.54 E) 18.7.01 - ringed 1c, Ottenby (56.12 N, 16.24 E), 20.8.90. 236 km WSW, 10 y, 10 m, 28 d.

Stockholm 345--50 ringed 1c, Skanör 7.10.99 - controlled by ringer, Ottenby 20.7.09. 9 y, 9 m, 13 d.

B. Schiermonnikoog 12.3.03.

Autumn-ringed juveniles from the Baltic to the Waddensea are of interest, new recoveries is one way of correcting the biased picture offered in Goede, Nieboer & Zegers 1990.
Stockholm 3447451, ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 0), Skanör (55.26 N, 12.50 E) 4.10.95 - ring found (bird of prey) Schiermonnikoog (53.29 N, 12.50 E), HOLLAND 12.3.03. 482 km WSW, 7 y, 5 m, 8 d.

This is not a particularly late juvenile. In October and November 1994 and 1995 high water levels forced late Dunlin to forage on pasture at Foteviken and I had a few good night catches; four birds ringed after mid-October have been retrapped in Dutch/Belgian waters in subsequent years, from August to April. A cohort of alpina birds with well-developed wind flat routines, containing moulting adults in the last stages of moult well into October. I suggest: the "50° to 70° E Dunlin"; not the staging "beyond-70° E Dunlin" (long bills, long wings, low ratio of ranking 0), not the Baltic-wintering "this-side-of-50° E Dunlin" (medium bills, medium wings, grey medians, medium ratio of ranking 0):

Stockholm 3454179 ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 0) Foteviken (55.27 N, 13.00 E) 15.10.95 - controlled by ringer, Richel (53.17 N, 5.08 E), Vlieland, HOLLAND 14.8.98. 561 km WSW, 2 y, 9 m, 29 d.

Stockholm 345--12 ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 0) Foteviken 21.10.95 - controlled by ringer, Simonszand (53.30 N, 6.22 E), Groningen, HOLLAND 12.8.02. 478 km WSW, 6 y, 9 m, 21 d.

Stockholm 342--43 ringed 1c Foteviken 2.11.94 - controlled by ringer, Zeebrugge (51.20 N, 3.12 E), West-Vlaanderen, BELGIUM 4.1.96. 792 km WSW, 1 y, 2 m, 2 d.

Stockholm 342--82 ringed 1c Foteviken 3.11.94 - controlled by ringer, Den Helder (52.58 N, 4.47 E), HOLLAND 22.4.95. 600 km WSW, 5 m, 19 d.

C. Langenwerder 10.7.03.

Roos 1984 lists half a score of birds ringed at Skanör in the first decade of July (7.7 - 10.7) and recovered in Great Britain and France, and a remarkable control: 7.7.65 - 5.7.69. In general ringers avoid catching with nets or traps in late June and early July because of ongoing breeding, at any rate many sites are not accessible. The method to be preferred is nocturnal netting with tape lure on ordinary beaches, preferably with wrack-beds, but alas wrack beds are "cleaned away" on the Falsterbo peninsula (leading to increased erosion of beaches). In 2003 I took two females with this method as early as 29 June near the Falsterbo Canal; I believe that the early date could be pushed forward to 22 - 23 June, but remember: the really dark night ("bright" Nordic nights 5.5 - 7.8, luminous clouds in July adding to the bird catcher's difficulties) lasts for an hour or less by this time of year, nets should be erected by daylight! The early phase of adult migration is underrepresented in materials, and special efforts are called for in order to repair this deficit. Here full dates for the Langenwerder control:
Stockholm 346--70, ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 0), Skanör (55.26 N, 12.50 E) 12.9.00 - controlled by ringer, Langenwerder (54°02' N, 11°30' E), GERMANY 10.7.03. 175 km SSW, 2 y, 9 m, 28 d.

D. Cap Ferret 9.11.03, Haute Garonne 30.9.04, Campos del Puerto 2.12.95.

Adult Dunlin with adult buff coverts become progressively rarer in the Sound area in September, but the second wave of juveniles in September has some very eastern origin and may be connected with them. As always these juveniles are accompanied by 5 - 10 % adults from their "own" area. On September 26th 1998 a 2c bird in fresh plumage except for c10 % remaining nuptial belly-patch and one juvenile covert over tertials was caught at Ljunghusen. It had well-developed adult buff coverts in both wings. This bird was found recently shot at Cap Ferret (isn't the cape proper a nature reserve?), France in November 2003; it joins the cases of "adult buff" birds wintering(?) in W. Europe adduced by Gromadzka 1989. There is already some degree of proximity to the Mediterranean at this place of residence in early November; Narbonne is only some 400 kms away.
Stockholm 3455965, ringed 2c (inner primary ranking: 0), Ljunghusen (55.23 N, 12.56 E) 26.9.98 - recently shot Cap Ferret (44.47 N, 1.08 W), Gironde, FRANCE 9.11.03. 1541 km SW, 5 y, 1 m, 14 d.

And even more interesting an inland recovery, to the north of the Pyrenées in 2004, I think I am on the right track in my hint above. Roos 1984 lists a bird shot at Toulouse in March (No. 383; dates or finding circumstances from France can not always be trusted, since "la chasse", the notorious hunting on beaches often is involved), and I think I have seen one or two other Swedish recoveries of the same character. Two inland recoveries from the Haute-Garonne area could justify a stocktaking of the materials from a few other major European schemes!

Stockholm 3494463, ringed 2c female (P1 shed and grown to 80 %; inner primary ranking: 0, weight 57 g - indicating some 1500 kms of continued journey if all extra weight was fat), Skanör (55.24 N, 12.54 E) 22.7.03 - dead, unknown circumst., Sainte-Foy-Peyrolières (43.29 N, 1.08 E), Haute-Garonne, FRANCE 30.9.04. 1569 km SW, 1 y, 2 m, 8 d.

I think this one belongs in this context, too, and the next target for these birds could be Tunisia or Egypt:

Stockholm 344--60, ringed 1c Skanör (55.24 N, 12.54 E) 15.10.95 - controlled Campos del Puerto (39.26 N, 3.10 E), Mallorca, SPAIN 2.12.95. 1926 km SSW, 48 d.

E. Vasa Sacos 12.2.02.

Lisboa D3--49, ringed 3c+, Vasa Sacos (38.50 N, 8.57 W), Santarem, PORTUGAL 12.2.02 - controlled by ringer, 3c+ male (no moult; inner primary ranking: 2), Ljunghusen (55.23 N, 12.56 E) 14.7.03. 2454 km NE, 1 y., 5 m., 2 d.

This is my first recovery south of the Baltic area of a bird with inner primary ranking "non-0". Its bill-length at control was 34.0 mm, wing-length at ringing 126 mm, at control 122 mm, no remiges were shed before or on migration. The neck-band was white and distinct, very clearly indicating a male, but the measurements suggest female sex. It should be added here, that long-winged and long-billed females of distinct eastern origin may have as white neck-bands as short-winged and short-billed males of evident western origin, so measurements and other morphology should be involved in sexing, if possible. In the present case I based sexing exclusively on neck colouring. It is interesting to note that all recoveries from Portugal listed by Roos 1984 concern adult birds - but there is a strong adult bias in ringing totals, 10 : 1. This is the curse of older Swedish ringing materials. I have one earlier and more remarkable Portuguese recovery, showing a very swift and target-oriented movement by a juvenile Dunlin, however. The whole Baia de Sétubal area is extremely spoiled by the tourist industry and repugnant to the human eye, but the remarkable production of some marine and coastal habitats seems to go on much the same as before; they should still be able to support resting and maybe also wintering waders:

Stockholm 349--77, ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 0), Skanör (55.24 N, 12.54 E) 17.8.02 - controlled by ringer, Lagoa Santo André (38.05 N, 8.47 W), Setubal, Baixo Alentejo, PORTUGAL 6.9.02. 2515 km SW, 20 days.

About the salt marsh area of the Tejo (Tagus) estuary. The whole estuary covers a surface of 320 km2, some 40 % of this surface is influenced by tidal variations with an amplitude of 2 - 4.6 m (i.e. at least twice the amplitude of the ocean), some 18 - 19 km2 of the area is covered by saltmarshes, with nature reserve status since the mid-70's. (Suggested additional reading: The new bridge over the Tagus Estuary, or how not to develop a project, by Joćo Joanaz de Melo. No longer available Dec. 2007; the author has attained professoral status). I snatched a map from "Wildlife fauna and integration of organic matter into marine food webs", a joint report from Instituto de Oceanografia:

[tejo mouth]
Tejo estuary with areas affected by tidal water rise in red colour.

F. Finnish birds from the Turku-Pori area; adult before 15 July, juveniles before mid-September.

Two days earlier than the above Langenwerder date, and on the Bothnian Gulf flyway: my second bird from Finland:
Stockholm 345--91, ringed 1c (inner primary ranking: 1), Ljunghusen (55°23' N, 12°56' E) 3.9.99 - controlled by ringer, Kuornoori, Luvia (61°22' N, 21°23' E), Turku-Pori, FINLAND 8.7.04. 826 km NNE, 4 y, 10 m, 5 d.

The first recovery applies to a bird of the Baltic wintering population, also controlled rather early in the season:

Stockholm 340--87, ringed 2c+ Skanör (55°26' N, 12°50' E) 25.2.93 - controlled by ringer, Säppi (61°29' N, 21°21' E), Turku-Pori, FINLAND 13.7.93. 835 km NNE, 0.4.18.

All morphology indicates that the wintering population is western alpina (Kola peninsula - White Sea area), so we should expect many adults to arrive rather early, by the Bothnian flyway. But the route taken by juveniles is obscure, i haven't seen many recoveries of Finnish-ringed juveniles, there seems to be an "Ottenby bias" (mainly adults ringed) in the Finnish ringings as well. Maybe they don't have many juveniles going their way? In 2009 i controlled another bird in this flyway, however, a juvenile, and again it was ringed pretty early in the season:
Helsinki KT5--98, ringed 1c Luvia, FINLAND 4.9.09, 21h - controlled by ringer 1c, Ljunghusen 16.9.09, 00h. 826 km SW, 12 days.

G. Måkläppen, Falsterbo 25.12.00, Höllviken 26.8.03, Skanör 30.7.04 - all ringed as adults - to Stavsten, Trelleborg 29.1.05.

Stockholm 346--73, ringed 2c+ (inner primary ranking: 2), Måkläppen, Falsterbo (55°23' N, 12°49' E) 25.12.00 - controlled by ringer, Stavsten, Trelleborg (55.22 N, 13.05 E) 29.1.05. 16,5 km E, 4 y, 1 m, 4 d.

Stockholm 349--98, ringed 2c+ (inner primary ranking: 0), Höllviken (55°25' N, 12°56' E) 26.8.03 - controlled by ringer, Stavsten, Trelleborg 29.1.05, 6.2.07. 11 km SE, 3 y, 5 m, 11 d.

Stockholm 350--95, ringed 2c (inner primary ranking: 0), Skanör (55°24' N, 12°54' E) 30.7.04 - controlled by ringer, Stavsten, Trelleborg 29.1.05. 10,5 km ESE, 6 months.

Three wintering adults controlled by Peter Olsson, all three ringed by me as adults on the Falsterbo peninsula. The two last ones are the first ones from the "local" summer migration retrapped in winter; so far only Henning Behmann had such birds from Bottsand at the Bay of Kiel, Germany. Also note the stubborn recurrence, typical of all Baltic wintering sites: Falsterbo, Bottsand, Vresen in the Great Belt. (To "Wintering and spring staging Dunlin Calidris alpina in the south Baltic area").

The slow advancement of the knowledge about wintering and staging Dunlin in the Baltic puts on a burst of speed with three recoveries like these. Among field-workers i can trace a feeling that the whole thing is some sort of a hoax: there are no Dunlin in the Baltic area in winter. Then suddenly they are everywhere, both in winter and early spring. I believe that the crucial factor prompting birds to exploit the resources of the Baltic is predation, not food. It took me ten years of field work and literature study to realise the extent of predation by falcons and sparrowhawks on wintering waders - Dunlin, Knot, Golden Plover, Iceland Redshank, Godwits - in the North Sea and Irish Sea areas; predation is what makes these birds liable to test situations of poor or uncertain food supply in other areas. What about the renowned fidelity of waders to wintering sites then? Here benefits must be related to costs; there is no point in clinging to a site where you are going to be eaten. (But Iceland Redshanks weathering severe winter conditions in southernmost Scania in 2006 were really harassed by one Gyrfalcon and several Peregrines, during freezing conditions Baltic winterers may be jumping out of the frying-pan into the fire...). At any rate there is a possible extra food source connected with Baltic highs that cannot be disregarded; with easterly winds and high pressure most wind flats become available. And Baltic highs tend to be "dependable", once established; "Felix und Petrus zeigen an, was wir vierzig Tag' für Wetter ha'n" [Felix and Peter (21 Feb.) show what kind of weather we will have for forty days]. If the high fails, staging Dunlin could - at least in theory - cross the Continent for the Mediterranean, supported by tailwind, or return to the Waddensea. We are talking about spring here! At stake in such cases may be the ensuing breeding synchronisation rather than the migration journey in itself; some provisional fattening compensating for a 500 or 1000 km flight can always be obtained in a week's time in the month of May. (cf. Zwarts et al. 1990) We won't know much about such movements until the overall European field-work enters a new level of sophistication, and the likelihood for that is low right now. (I think all migrants "probe" in that way, the Sahel wintering populations for one example; departure is essentially dynamically regulated, not genetically clocked. Several parameters interact to trigger any dynamical system that governs departure, and early departure is easily undone if favourable conditions change for the worse. In recent years the change in departure and arrival times due to climate change has been one favoured arena for Darwinist stupidities). As for such "odd" or irregular movements: much neglected information is likely to be hidden in the inaccessible British, Dutch, East German and Polish data bodies. [CP]

H. Meaño 25.9.03.

My first control of a Spanish-ringed Dunlin; the ring was on the tibia of the left leg, and i nearly overlooked it, first putting a Swedish ring on the right tarsus. These birds obviously head directly for Iberian Atlantic tidal beaches and arrive there very early, ignoring the temptations of the Waddensea. (Many Nature reserves in Galicia are under local administration and not optimally protected. The case seems to be much the same throughout Spain, many valuable areas gradually being wasted by tourism infringing on them from all sides).
Icona T06--27, ringed 1c, Meaño (42°27' N, 8°46' W), Pontevedra, SPAIN 25.9.03 - controlled by ringer, 2c female (no moult; inner primary ranking: 0), Höllviken (55°25' N, 12°56' E) 23.7.04. 2126 km NE, 9 m, 28 d.

I. From Sant' Erasmo Vecchio 1991, Scanno di Goro 2002.

Two Italian controls in 2004 are not matched by recoveries from my own ringings, and this pattern prevails in all schemes; there are more controls of Italian-ringed birds than there are recoveries from this country, on the other hand Serra et al. 1998 had eight controls of foreign-ringed Dunlin for each recovery from their own ringings in the 1990's! The first bird is the oldest Dunlin i have handled so far.
Bologna Z2--18, ringed 2c, Sant' Erasmo Vecchio (45°28' N, 12°26' E), Venezia, ITALY 13.4.91 - controlled by ringer, 3c+ female (P1 - 2 growing; inner primary ranking: 3), Höllviken (55°25' N, 12°56' E) 19.7.04. 1106 km N, 13 y, 3 m, 6 d.

Bologna BN1--85, ringed 2c+, Scanno di Goro (44°47' N, 12°22' E), Ferrara, ITALY 3.10.02 - controlled by ringer, 2c+ male (moult suspended after P7, S1 fresh; inner primary ranking: 0), Skanör (55°23' N, 12°55' E) 3.9.04. 1179 km N, 1 y, 11m.

J. From Hungary, autumn 1999, to Italy, late summer 2002, to Sweden, spring 2007

Budapest 9Y--12, ringed 1c, Dunatetétlen (46°46' N, 19°05' E), Bács-Kiskun, HUNGARY 16.9.1999 - controlled by ringer, Lanconon (44°48' N, 12°23' E), Goro, ITALY 12.8.02. - controlled by ringer (male; inner primary ranking: 3; STOCKHOLM 352--77 added), Ljunghusen (55°23' N, 12°56' E) 18.5.07, 05h. 1051 km NNW, 7 y, 8 m, 2 d.
The bird had its Hungarian ring on the left tibia, and again i almost overlooked it, first giving it a Swedish ring on the right tarsus. It was in complete summer plumage, more reddish-chestnut and grey on mantle than regular alpina (i suggest it came from the centralis area) and had no remaining juvenile feathers, still i attempted the age-determination "2c", because of heavy abrasion of primaries. By all likelihood this wear was caused by flying sand instead, so let us assume that it had wintered at Kneiss in Tunisia... The really interesting thing is that a (possible) African wintering bird migrates by way of the Baltic, not the Black Sea, in spring - in particular a spring when feeding conditions in the Baltic were very favourable; this indicates that the Baltic/Black Sea options are equal and convertible to some major population involved, or that the prevailing winds of different springs or autumns will tip the scales in favour of either option. A lot of recoveries illustrate that this shift actually takes place. Furthermore, in late summer quite a lot of Dunlins must cross the saddle between the Carpathians (Romania) and the High Tatra (Slovakia/Poland) from Galicia and Ukraine; in Hungary they are first guided southwards by the Tisza, and later on by the Duna/Danube, which has a lot of wetland on its eastern side. Next: do they prefer Lower Austria or Croatia as a transit area on their way to the Adriatic Sea? Both the Drava and the Sava plains offer possible rests on this journey.

K. From Skanör, 16.7.02, to Helsinki area, Finland 4.8.07: a sighting

Stockholm 346--00, ringed 2c male? (inner primary ranking: 0, no moult), Skanör, Ängsnäset (55°24' N, 12°54' E) 16.7.02 - ring read without catch, Kogrundet (59°57' N, 24°26' E), Kirkkonummi, Uusimaa, FINLAND 4.8.07, 20h. 850 km NE, 5y, 20 d.
There are two possibilities: either the ring was read with a good telescope (20h, low sun, sweeping light) or the ring number was read from a photo. Under all circumstances this sighting is something of a feat; the Swedish "3" ring is smaller than Polish, German and British rings used on Dunlin and has seven small digits, spanning more than 180 degrees. When applying or reading rings in the hand i use a magnifying lens, and i know from many hours with Light-bellied Brent how difficult it may be to read even letters on large colour-rings with a telescope (at some distance); strong wind, haze and flickering ground air may ruin the day. Still, with better and better telescopes (including Questars) and digital cameras used from hides, we'll have more of these sightings. I have a similar recovery of a Ringed Plover (sic), a probable tundrae crossing the European continent: Stockholm 357--88, ringed 2c+ male, Ljunghusen (55°24' N, 12°57' E) 19.5.09 - ring read without catch, Préverenges (46°31' N, 6°31' E), Lac Léman, Vaud, SWITZERLAND 12.8.09. 1084 km SSW, 85 days.

L. From Eastern Sivash, Ukraine 28.5.04 to Skanör, Ängsnäset 24.7.07

Kiev CS 1--28, ringed 2c+ Dzhankoyskiy Bay (45°47' N, 34°31' E), Eastern Sivash, Sea of Azov, UKRAINE 28.5.04 - controlled by ringer (inner primary ranking: 3, no moult), Skanör, Ängsnäset (55°24' N, 12°54' E) 24.7.07, 01h. 1850 km NW, 3 y, 1 m, 26 d.
A fresh link with map to Eastern Sivash, the name Sivash means "Rotten Sea". By now there are quite a few recovery connections between Ukraine and the Baltic; i will extract the Swedish published data and present their phenology on the Dunlin website. I myself am involved in another bird later visiting the Black Sea, again a remarkable double recovery, showing that the breeding birds of one (or: the) population involved in these shifts also have the double options of moult migration in July, or moult on breeding-grounds and migration in September/October:
Stockholm 345--34, ringed 3c+ male (inner primary ranking: 0, no moult), Skanör, Ängsnäset 27.7.1997 - controlled by ringer, Nizovya Tiligulskogo Limana (46°40' N, 31°09' E), Odessa, UKRAINE 5.5.2000. 1595 km ESE, 2 y, 10 m, 8 d. - controlled by ringer, Langenwerder (54°02' N, 11°30' E), GERMANY 3.10.2000. 3 y, 2 m, 5 d.

M. Connections with Crossness Sewage Works, London area

Ringers come and leave, schemes appear and disappear, a field activity often has its time of glory, its heyday, before sinking back into oblivion. Others doggedly stick to their game, decade after decade. Ottenby, the mouth of Vistula and Langenwerder all seem to have been there since Noah stranded the Ark. This persistency is what makes Dunlin study in Europe so extremely rewarding. On the other hand the strategically important catching station Amager/Copenhagen (financed by cheese wholesale dealer Poul Tholstrup, much of the fieldwork first run by Zoo animal keeper Nikolaj Mardal Jensen) disappeared after an initial glorious period, Revtangen in Norway has its ups and its downs, ill health cut off Henning Behmann's long series at Bottsand, and today you hear nothing from the valuable and ideologically interesting project "OAG Münster" in Westphalia, Germany. In the Baltic and the Waddensea Germans Dierschke and Rösner did their dissertation field-works, too, and that was that, chapters in ringing history, while the Dutch seem to squeeze all juice from each species in turn and then throw the empty peel away; Dutch fieldwork in the Netherlands proper is as erratic as Norwegian at Stavanger. Finally and always there is the United Kingdom, a defended bastion of field ornithology; i have mentioned Poole Harbour here before, and today i was reminded of the group working Crossness Sewage Works (Google map); like me they catch even on Christmas Eve. The site is a wader "scrape" within a protected area. Behind the catching scheme stands the Dartford Ringing Group; as a matter of fact it has been catching at Crossness only for a few years, and the ringing volume so far is moderate (it's an inland site, probably visited by Dunlin mainly at high tide, and maybe primarily in the nighttime). The group webpage offers a recovery list.
London NT8--24, ringed 3c+ Crossness Sewage Works (51°30' N, 0°09' E), Thamesmead, London, ENGLAND 18.1.04 - controlled by ringer as 3c+ female (wing 123,5 g, bill 35,6 mm, weight 51 g; no moult), Skanör, Ängsnäset (55°24' N, 12°54' E) 3.8.05, 02h. 947 km ENE, 1 y, 6 m, 16 d.

Stockholm 345--05, ringed 1c (wing 119 mm, weight 46 g) Skanör 25.9.97 - controlled by ringer, Crossness Sewage Works 11.2.06, 24.12.08 (22h). 944 km WSW, 11 y, 3 m.

London NT8--43, ringed 2c (wing 119, weight 47.4 g) Crossness Sewage Works 29.2.04, 04h - controlled by ringer as 3c+ male (wing 117 mm, bill 30,0 mm, weight 56 g; no moult) Skanör, Ängsnäset 22.7.09 (04h). 947 km ENE, 5 y, 4 m, 23 d.

N. Winter mortality in 2010

The beginning of 2010 saw severe frost in Western Europe for a fortnight, and the wind-chill made matters worse. I saw some mortality among Lapwings in Northern Ireland, Woodcocks had a few tough days in the Dublin area, but on the whole the cold-spell didn't last long enough to really have an impact on populations occupying tidal flats in the Irish Sea. I saw more predation than actual exhaustion. Here is the first evidence of mortality so far, this UK recovery of course reported by a member of the public directly to Stockholm; what might come by way of BTO/Tring will arrive no sooner than 2012:
Stockholm 3571108, ringed 3c+ female Skanör, 16.7.09 - found dead ("bird was with large flock on Hoylake Beach ... seemed to be dead of exhaustion"), Hoylake (53°23' N, 3°12' W), Wirral, Merseyside, ENGLAND 1.2.10. 1063 km W, 200 days.

O. A rare spring recovery of a migrating schinzii, from Lumijoki, Oulu area, FINLAND

Ordinary metal-rings (and even tarsus/tibia colour-rings) on schinzii birds are notoriously low-yielding, i remember Paul-Eric Jönsson lamenting that he had no recoveries from abroad after many years of field-work on the South Swedish population. The introduction of flags in 2010 meant a leap forward, immediately there was a sighting from Germany. Still, the small population and the swift passage to African winter quarters makes ringed North European schinzii low yielders. (As the years went on, Soikkeli managed to score a few recoveries from his ringings at Pori, however, and in July/August 2005 Ottenby took four controls of 1y birds from a ringing campaign in the Oulu area). Even rarer are spring recoveries, so the following one should be ranked as a top prize. This bird migrated surprisingly late in the season, but North Finnish schinzii probably allow for an ice-cap to disappear. I doubt that ferry traffic to the coast-near islands of the Bothnian Gulf was possible before 15 May in 2010. But cf. e.g. pics 24 and Note 2 under picture 50 of the picture collection; Dunlin are not that alienated by snow and ice if there is some food as well.
Helsinki KT5--54, ringed 1c Lumijoki (64°52' N, 25°15' E), Oulu, FINLAND 3.6.08 - controlled by ringer, 3c+ male (wing 114 mm, bill 26,9 mm, weight 47 g), Ljunghusen (55°23' N, 12°56' E) 30.4.10, 04h. 1251 km, 1 y., 331 days.

P. Spring bird from Falsterbo peninsula, 21 May, to Poland, 3 October

Military presence and nuclear installations of different kinds create a vacuum in vast areas of the Arctic regions of European Russia. They are off limits, with very little ongoing field-work in key areas. Controls of ringed birds from the Kola peninsula, the whole of the Kara Sea area and Novaja Semlja are extremely rare (they shouldn't be, these areas are too close to us, we have a stake in them by way of our wintering populations) at the time present, and even Yamal seems to have passed into oblivion in the 21st century. At the same time there's a feeling among West European workers that we don't have full knowledge of the Dunlin biology from these areas, for example it's obvious that the moult start on breeding-grounds extends much farther to the west than originally thought. There is little hope for a swift change as long as the recent wave of chauvinism and emphasis on national "security" prevails in Russia. What we can do, for example from the Baltic perspective, is to "squeeze" recoveries for all information possible. Here is a recovery of a spring bird with inner primary ranking "3" (indicating some degree of eastern origin), caught on its westward migration in Poland as late as 3 October. I would give much to learn about the moult status of that bird - but recovery notifications seldom bring the really interesting information! It belongs to the same wave of migrants as the Langenwerder bird under "L" above, that one had staged in the Black Sea area the preceding spring. To which population(-s) do the Black Sea and the Baltic staging areas represent equal options in spring?
Stockholm 352--83, ringed 3c+ male (wing 118 mm, bill 31,1 mm, weight 70 g, inner primary ranking = 3) Ljunghusen 21.5.07, 03h - controlled by ringer, 2c+ Pomorskie (54°22' N, 18°57' E), mouth of Vistula, POLAND 3.10.09. 401 km ESE, 2 y., 136 d.

Q. More on the same theme: a bird with "adult buff" medians from Falsterbo peninsula, 8 August, to Poland, 3 August

This bird showed the advanced "adult buff" moult pattern: P1 - 5 fresh, P6 0,5 when ringed on August 8th; from Fig. 6 of "Risk-prone or risk-averse? Dunlin Calidris alpina migrating with and without moult-gaps in the Baltic area" it can be seen that "adult buff" birds have an average score of ca. 30 by August 10th. Many western alpina are still migrating with nothing but old remiges by that time. From the combination of "adult buff" and inner primary ranking = 3 i suggest that this bird is of more easterly origin than the completely moulted October migrants (e.g. the birds under L. and P.); many of the latter (as a matter of fact: nearly all) have grey medians, and their inner primary ranking can be anything between 0 and 3.
Stockholm 346--88, ringed 2c female (wing 118 mm, bill 34,0 mm, weight 52 g, inner primary ranking = 3) Skanör, Ängsnäset 8.8.02, 00h - controlled by ringer, 3c+ Pomorskie (54°22' N, 18°57' E), mouth of Vistula, POLAND 3.8.09. 401 km ESE, 6 y., 361 d.

R. Severe winter weather again; one bird knocked out in Sussex as early as 4 December. An adult-ringed bird still holding out in Denmark by mid-January.

This phenomenon is well-known from the Baltic: Dunlin unable to fly after a night with -10 degrees and strong northerly or easterly winds. They just stand around, waiting for some Sparrowhawk to come and relieve them from their misery. (One would expect such events not to take place in Sussex in early December, but by much the same time i had Lapwing mortality in the Dublin area, and Ringed Plovers were suffering. Like last winter (2010) i see more predation than actual collapses, however; the birds are taken by predators already when they are "softened up". In Sweden we used to feed Dunlin pork mince when catching them under similar conditions. Again note that the first recovery is reported directly to Stockholm by a member of the public; the deroute involving BTO/Tring is shunned by many because of its slow handling of foreign reports. Also note that the bird from Denmark was adult-ringed (cf. G. above); one out of two Baltic winterers have bred at least once.
Stockholm 350--66, ringed 3c+ female (wing 120 mm, bill 36,0 mm, weight 42 g, inner primary ranking = 0, no moult) Skanör, Ängsnäset 28.7.04, 05h - found exhausted, Hailsham Road (50°53' N, 00°19' E), Herstmonceux, Sussex, ENGLAND 4.12.10, 03h. "...found in the road unable to fly obvious injuries or fractures...will feed and monitor the next few days before releasing." 976 km WSW, 6 y., 129 d.

Stockholm 3528830, ringed 2c male (wing 119 mm, bill 32,2 mm, weight 58 g, inner primary ranking = 1, P1 - 4 fresh, P5 0.9, P6 0.8, P7 0.3 - i.e. a rather late migrant that had already moulted more than 50 weight % of its remiges on breeding-grounds, by all likelihood moulting the rest in the Waddensee and migrating east by the start of November for wintering.) Höllviken 17.8.08, 05h - killed by car, recently dead, Fjordvejen (Firth Rd), Kollund (54°50' N, 09°28' E), Syd-Danmark, DENMARK 16.1.11. 231 km WSW, 2 y., 152 d.

  • To "Studies of migrating Dunlin Calidris alpina in the Sound area, S. Sweden: Introduction"
  • To "Phenology and biometry of Dunlin Calidris alpina migrating by way of the Sound area, S. Sweden"
  • To "Migrating Dunlin Calidris alpina in the Baltic area: the moult issue"
  • To "Risk-prone or risk-averse? Dunlin Calidris alpina migrating with and without moult-gaps in the Baltic area"
  • To "Wintering and spring staging Dunlin Calidris alpina in the south Baltic area"
  • To "Migratory progress of juvenile and adult Dunlin Calidris alpina from two perspectives: the Baltic and the Waddensea"
  • To "Bill-length distributions in Dunlin Calidris alpina"
  • To the "Bill length account"
  • About "adult buff" coverts
  • To the Meissner scale
  • To Dunlin references A - J
  • To Dunlin references K - Z
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    Last addition 19.01.11.