Thursday, March 13, 2008

Godwitology

As most of you are aware, during the last two years we been focusing our studies on the wintering ecology of the black-tailed godwits at several areas of the range. During this period, the tracking of colour-ringed individuals was very intense particularly in areas where detailed information was missing, namely in West Portugal and Southern Ireland. We have also added 100 colour-marked individuals to the black-tailed godwit schemes, all marked on these wintering locations, plus several other hundreds ringed elsewhere across the range.

We now wish to unravel another question on the fascinating tale of the Icelandic Black-tailed godwits, and to do so we request your help! The question we now face is “Which migratory routes are mostly used by black-tailed godwits during spring migration”.
Our current data show that some birds wintering in Iberia and France migrate north mostly via the Netherlands, while others take another route via England. Interestingly, quite a few birds wintering in Ireland also make a westwards detour, towards England, on their way to Iceland.

These suggestions however, are extracted from a small sample, since only few godwits from these wintering locations were recorded during migration so far. As we have increased considerably the numbers of colour-ringed godwits at these winter sites, we are aiming to get more migration sightings so that a good sample is recorded. We are also organizing a trip to Iceland so that we can record the arrival of these birds, which hopefully have been seen on migration.

In order to tackle this question we ask for your help in recording the complete colour-ring combinations of any marked black-tailed godwits you might encounter during these next two months. Recording their location, moult stage (as % of breeding plumage and bill colour (% of orange), habitat used for foraging and ideally length of stay, would be very helpful for our study.
Please be aware that some of these birds have now been fitted with flags!

Several other black-tailed godwits colour-ringing schemes also use flags so it is important to note the colour and position of the flag and also the total number of colour-rings on each individual. We thank you for all your input on this project and we hope to send you very colourful life-stories of these individuals any time soon…
All the very best!
The Jadrakan Project team.
Please send sighting information to: j.alves@uea.ac.uk
Picture taken from www.birdingworld.co.uk Copyright Pat Wileman

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