English Sandwich tern migration to Africa


This video from England is called Sandwich terns return to RSPB Coquet Island.

From the Farne Islands Blog in England:

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Mines a double!

Saturday 22nd February comments: This summer, for the first time on the Farne Islands, we ringed just over 100 Sandwich Tern chicks with small red darvics; special red plastic rings which have a unique three letter code enabling observers to read them in the ‘field’ with telescopes.

As a result we had a ‘return’ from a beach in Gambia in November as bird ‘UFA’ was spotted roosting amongst other terns on a beach. Now make that a double. News has just arrived that another of our Sandwich Terns has been seen, this time further south of Gambia in the Bijagos Archipelago off Guinee-Bissau. The bird fitted with the red darvic ‘UKS’ was noted on 22nd January.

This sighting shows you the value of such a ringing scheme and we hope this is the first of many sightings in future years so if you’re going abroad this winter, you may be a lot closer to the Farnes than you think!

Sandwich Tern ‘UKS’ movements:

17th July 2013 ringed as a chick on Inner Farne
13th August 2013 seen at Findhorn Bay, Moray
18th August 2013 seen again at Findhorn Bay, Moray
22nd January seen on a beach at Bubaque, Guinee-Bissau

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English tern flies again after African injury


This video from England is called Common and Arctic terns returning to Coquet Island (whimsical).

From the RSPB in Britain:

Olympic Tern at RSPB Cliffe Pools

Last modified: 08 June 2012

As London prepares to receive visitors from across the globe for the 2012 Olympics, RSPB Cliffe Pools expects to welcome back its very own athlete of Olympic proportions. The nature reserve is an important home to wintering wildfowl and waders but also a summer breeding ground for migratory birds such as the common tern.

This sleek seabird of pure white, with a blood-red bill, black crest and swallow tail, has nested on the islands created by the flooding of the old cement works since they closed in 1970. As the world looked forward to the Seoul Olympics, back in July 1987, Roger Kiddie, a science and math teacher from Gravesend, rowed out to the tern colony at Cliffe Pools with Cliff Sharr, a local villager and renowned ornithologist on the north Kent marshes. The men spent the afternoon ringing the common tern chicks under a relentless attack from the adults. Common terns defend their nests aggressively, attacking more furiously those they recognise as repeat offenders. The chicks leave the nest almost immediately after hatching, so time was against the men.

Roger said, “Common terns spend their winter off the west coast of Africa, indeed, most of their life is spent at sea, so the chances of recapturing a ringed tern is always slight; but in the 1980’s ringing still presented the best opportunity for us to learn where these birds migrate to. We now know that common terns return each year to the colony from which they hatched, for Cliffe Pools that means an annual round trip of about 10,000 miles.”

The average lifespan of a common tern is 12 years so they rack-up a lot of sea miles, ably assisted by the Trade Winds and the unusual ability to replace worn-out flight feathers twice in a year.

In December 2011, a fisherman from Guinea Bissau, on the west coast of Africa, found a tern on his decks with an injured leg. Terns are known as sea swallows, their graceful appearance and dainty build affords them a different respect than the raucous gulls. The fisherman attended to the bird and returned it to the ocean in good health, but not before noting the details of a ring on its other leg.

How very much better this, presumably poor, African fisherman acted towards this fish-eating bird than rich European commercial fishing fat cats lobbying for killing fish-eating birds.

From this information, just received by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), we know that this tern was one of those chicks ringed by Cliff and Roger 25 years ago.

Roger has since retired, but continues to ring birds for the BTO. In the tern’s lifetime the Olympics have been to Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens, Beijing, and with a little more luck, it is now wheeling around the Thames Estuary looking down onto the London Olympics. In its own feat of Olympic proportions this little bird (equal in weight to a tin of sardines and with a wingspan of just one human arm’s length), has flown the same distance as from the Earth to the Moon!

Roger Kiddie said, “This has to be one of the highlights of my 40 years bird ringing experience, it is truly remarkable.”

Birds wintering in Guinea-Bissau


This is video about bar-tailed godwits, and dunlins, in Britain.

From the March 2007 newsletter of BirdLife in The Netherlands:

It is estimated that during the winter season, 700,000 to 900,000 waders and water birds are staying in the coastal zone of Guinea-Bissau; mainly curlew sandpipers, red knots [see also here; and here; and here and here], little stints and bar-tailed godwits [see also here and here and here].

That makes this country, after Mauretania (Banc d’Arguin), the most important wintering area of the African west coast.

Bar-tailed godwit migration in the Pacific: here.

And here.

Rare Temminck’s Stint Spotted at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in the UK: here.