Tuesday 22 November 2022

Colour-ringing of Upland and Lowland Stonechats in Grampian

 During 2022 Stonechats have been colour-ringed in Grampian in an attempt to find out a bit more about their survival in relation to movements and territory habitats throughout the year.

Ringing has taken place at two main locations; Glen Dye, the upland site (300m asl) and Forvie National Nature Reserve (NNR) the lowland site (50m asl). As of 21/11/2022 a total of 107 Stonechats have been ringed as part of this project.

The colour-ringing scheme involves adding a white coded ring above the normal BTO metal ring on the right tarsus and two coloured rings on the left tarsus.

In Glen Dye, most birds were trapped by mist nets, whilst at Forvie, all captures were executed by spring traps. Ninety-two Stonechats were ringed in the Glen Dye area and 15 were ringed at Forvie and other lowland sites. Juveniles made up the majority of birds trapped in Glen Dye, with only two adults being caught there. Most birds at lowland sites were seen during autumn and noted to be in pairs.

So far, only a few birds have been resighted or recaptured and all bar one were observed near their ringing location. The exception to this was a surprising record of a juvenile male, ringed in Glen Dye on 19 July 2022 and photographed at Rhoon, near Rotterdam, The Netherlands, on 11 November 2022, a dispersal distance of approximately 727 km.

Of all 55,563 Stonechats ringed in the UK up to the end of 2021, only 49 have been recovered abroad, mainly Spain, but none of these were in the Netherlands. This is therefore the first record of a Stonechat, ringed in the UK and seen in the Netherlands.

Stonechat WN(A),M /RN photographed in the Netherlands 11/11/2022

Stonechat WN(A),M /RN when ringed in Glen Dye 19/07/2022

Please keep an eye on your local Stonechats and report any sightings and colour-ringed birds in the usual way.

Moray Souter

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