Tuesday, 20 June 2017

New eider project on the Ythan


The University of Aberdeen, Grampian Ringing Group and Scottish National Heritage are collaborating to try and understand the large decline of the eider population (-70% since 1991) around the Ythan Estuary and Forvie NNR, Aberdeenshire.

After several decades of pause, the colour ringing of common eiders has now resumed with over 90 birds ringed in spring 2017 (and more to come). Combined with other data, we expect ring sightings will help elucidate the mechanisms of population change. In particular, large numbers of resightings of females all around the year are a key priority and individual birdwatchers’ contribution could make a difference. The eider have been ringed on their left legs with green colour rings with 2 white letters on.
A female eider with colour ring. Photo by Jenny Weston

Observers of ringed eiders are welcome to report their observations online using one of these two ways:

 1)      For occasional records, you may directly use the registration-free online form here: https://goo.gl/forms/k0TYtngZ7ropCIIs2 (slower data entry, no photo upload or location acquisition)

 2)      For regular observers or those with multiple records to submit, we strongly recommend using the much faster Epicollect5 app (on iPhone and Android) or website https://five.epicollect.net/ (registration required at first to be able to access the eider project). The form allows you to enter resighting data rapidly from your computer, tablet or smartphone, either online or offline in the field (with the app installed on your smartphone), to upload photos of the bird/rings, and to acquire the record location directly from your device. The data are stored on the device and can be uploaded to the project database once back online. To get registered as a user, please send an email to grg.ringing.eidersNoRobotgmail.com (replace NoRobot by @), providing your name and the email address of your Google account (a Google account can be set up with any email address). Registration is manual and may take a day or two.

A colour-ringed eider on the Ythan. Photo by Thomas Cornulier
To our knowledge, the current record is 27 individuals resighted in half a day on the Ythan and the first sighting from outside the area is eagerly awaited!

Many thanks in advance for your help,

Thomas Cornulier
Aberdeen University

8 comments:

  1. To help you understand the decline, you need to speak to John Massie and/or birdwatchers and other interested parties who were active in and around the Sands of Forvie NNR during the period 1960-90s. This period coincided with the end of gamekeeping in and around the reserve. Uncontrolled and increasing numbers of foxes, crows, mustelids and gulls did for the majority of eiders' eggs and chicks.

    The current warden can connect you with John Massie, who used to live on site most weekends and can fill in the details.

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