BTO Cymru

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Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lady in Red

A regular feature of this blog has been the ongoing work on Hawfinch in Wales. The Bird Atlas showed over the past 40 years an apparent shift westwards in the range of Hawfinches in the UK. Parts of Gwynedd and the Wye valley have become increasingly important for this scarce woodland bird.

Trevor and Chris Bashford in Dolgellau have the enviable luck of having a garden which is particularly favoured by the local Hawfinches. Last year they had 184 individual colour ringed birds in their garden and over 1300 sightings in total.

Their reading of the colour rings has proved invaluable with birds from the south east of Wales turning up in their garden. Yesterday Trevor had a bird with a red engraved ring. Being quite used to the usual local yellow rings and the white ones from down south, he got rather excited, and as always managed a couple of pictures.

A bit of quick internet detective work put us in touch with Dr Stuart Sharpe at the University of Lancaster. To quote Stuart:

“ Wow - this is amazing! Yes, it is one of my mine and the first sighting away from our study area in South Cumbria

BC was ringed at Sizergh Castle in Cumbria (our main site) as a juvenile female on 17th July 2015. We have not caught many juveniles at all in the three years our project has been running, and we actually radio-tagged this bird to try and get some information about natal dispersal. I will check tomorrow whether we got any data from this individual (some of our tagged birds disappeared without a trace).

Thank you again for a really amazing sighting, and for taking the time to get photos that really clinch the ID.”

So watch this space for any further updates, and thanks to Trevor and Chris for having to suffer all these Hawfinches in their garden, and more importantly for all the effort that put in reading rings.

For more on the project see