FBOG Ringing & Migration Week 2016

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Co-run by Filey Bird Observatory & Group (FBOG) and ringers from East Yorkshire Ringing Group (EYRG), 2016’s Ringing & Migration Week was a great success. Building on the annual Ringing Week (co-ordinated by the ringing team for many years), this year saw us expand the annual event to included walks, talks, workshops and more, which proved very popular with locals and visitors alike. (All events and activities were of course free, inkeeping with FBOG’s outreach principles.)

Our Ringing Officer Pete Dunn summarises the ringing: Although the latter days of the week produced relatively low numbers of migrants, the fantastic fall conditions over the first weekend ensured a very respectable daily total of 472 new birds for the week (excluding retraps and controls) were ringed, an improvement on recent years and a great effort from the team.

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Scarcity highlights were of a Siberian persuasion, with a pristine Pallas’s Warbler and two Yellow-browed Warblers ringed; of much more value scientifically, however, was the controlled (i.e. a bird ringed elsewhere and subsequently caught here) Common Redpoll, sporting a Norwegian ring – we’re eagerly awaiting the data!

20161016_080630Better publicity meant that we had a contstant stream of visitors to the ringing station which also included many children and young adults who were invited to help with the release of the birds once ringed. From the look on their faces and the excited chatter, I’m sure that if they were not already hooked on wildlife, this experience had certainly sown a seed. We had a number of visiting ringers who came to experience coastal migration and train under the trainers present, and indeed several have now joined the ringing group as a result.

Throughout the week Chris Blakeley, who has been our ‘quartermaster’ for a number of years, took on another role of organising a book and report sale on behalf of St. Catherine’s Hospice (with many books coming from the collection of the late Mick Carroll – a staunch supporter of both FBOG and EYRG – as well as many others donated by group members). Thanks to these efforts (and a raffle at one our talks), Chris handed over £200 to the Hospice at the end of the week.

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A series of migration-themed guided walks throughout the week took in Carr Naze, the Brigg, the Country Park and the Dams, and attendees were treated to some fantastic birds and experiences. Top of the list was surely the flood of incoming migrants from Scandinavia and beyond, with thousands of Redwings dropping out of the sky and Goldcrests in the grass by our feet… the Dams wasn’t to be outdone, however, with a Great White Egret (pictured) and fantastically showy Water Rails delighting visitors there.

ringing-week-2016_pjd_0534We’d four talks during the week, including one on each Saturday evening to bookend the week’s activities. On the opening night, Yorkshire Coast Nature director and committed FBOG supporter Richard Baines gave us a fascinating insight into how birds migrate, while on the last night, Pete Dunn explained the discoveries we’ve made (and the questions which persist) as a result of ringing activities here at Filey. Thanks to both for two excellent evenings.

img_20161023_105203FBOG & EYRG would like everyone involved, especially the ringing team, but also Mike Hessey for representing the BTO and greeting visitors to the ringing station, The BTO for partnering us for the week, the national birding community for spreading the word (particularly Birdguides and Rare Bird Alert), and most importantly, all the visitors who came and hopefully enjoyed the week’s events and activities. See you next year!

Mark