23rd March 2016
Some readers may remember that back of 1st January I called in at Whitlingham and saw a colour-ringed Coot. I'd not ever seen a ringed Coot before, so I was interested to find out where this one had come from. I reported it, and found that it had been ringed in Norway. This seemed reasonable, hundreds of Coot winter at Whitlingham and I presumed that these came from northern Europe. I had also recorded several Norwegian-ringed Black-headed Gulls in almost the exact same place. I noted the details and didn't think any more of it.
On Wednesday, nearly three months on, I received a message from Kane Brides. Kane works for the WWT, and amongst various projects he co-ordinates the colour ringing of Coot in Europe. He said that the Whitlingham sighting was a great record, could he have permission to use the photo I had submitted to the Norwegian scheme, and mention it to other ringers? I had no problem with this, so said fine. It was only later in the evening when I saw his message on Twitter that I discovered that this Coot was actually the first Norwegian-ringed Coot to be sighted anywhere in the UK! I think it's worth mentioning here, partly to show that there is still much to find out about the movements of even common bird species, and also to highlight the sort of thing that anyone could find on their inland patch.
You can see the ringing summary for Coot on the BTO website here: http://app.bto.org/ring/countyrec/resultsall/rec4290all.htm. Note the origin of foreign ringed birds are shown in yellowy orange, whilst the purple dots are British-ringed birds that have been found abroad.
A Coot, excited to be in Norfolk