July 27th, 2008

Godwit Team catch and ring godwits with Grunnskóli Siglufjarðar pupils.

Report from Pete Potts fresh back from a successful godwit ringing trip to Iceland - There was a roost of up to 120 godwits at Siglufjordur of recently failed and perhaps some successful breeders. It has been an early year again with many fledged chicks especially in the Akureyri valley where we struggled to ring many chicks at all.

Pete Potts shows pupils from Grunnskóli Siglufjarðar how the godwits are caught and colour-ringed. (photo © Astrid Kant)

We colour-ringed 54 godwit chicks and 24 adults - the rest of the adults were in the North west Fjords with project member Boddi Þórisson. A pleasing result. The chick total is the lowest since 2004 but as most were big birds they should survive the trip to Britian and Ireland and so the resighting rate should be good!

We also saw many colour-ringed birds and a number of these were birds we had ringed as chicks two or more years ago returning to the area where we have ringed them i.e. their birth place. This is very rewarding indeed.

Team member Ruth Croger safely removes a godwit from the net. (photo © Astrid Kant).

One of the colour-ringed birds we saw in Siglufjordur was a bird ringed by us at our local reserve at Farlington Marshes Nature Reserve, Portsmouth, England on 20th Oct 1995 as a juvenile male and seen at Siglufjordur in 2004 on 16th July by fellow team members Ruth and Wilf and now this year on 17th July 2008 at the same spot!

Keep a sharp eye out for this godwit this winter! (photo © Astrid Kant)

We also saw another Farlington bird in the North west Fjords, two French ringed birds one we ringed with Guillaume in Brittany Oct 2001 and also a La Rochelle bird, one of we ringed near Lisbon, Portugal, three that had been ringed on The Wash, England, and a number we had ringed in Iceland over the years.

Team member Astrid Kant, from Holland, with a Snipe chick which will probably spend the winter somewhere in Europe. (photo © Pete Potts)

All in all a successful trip especially as we had wall to wall sunshine for the first half of the trip and rain on only two days.

Other highlights were ringing 10 wader chick species including Snipe and the difficult to find
Purple Sandpiper, Dunlin & Red-necked Phalarope. We saw the following birds of prey: White-tailed Eagles, Gyr Falcons, Merlins and Short-eared Owls. Also saw two Arctic Foxes. Our team this year was: Pete Potts, Ruth Croger, Guillaume Gelinaud, Astrid Kant, John & Helen Swallow and David & Elizabeth Price.

After all our hard work lets hope the pupils in Cobh and Siglufjörður will find some of the godwits we colour ringed on this trip!