March 5th   Leave a comment

A first winter shag - many don't make it

A first winter shag – many don’t make it

Red SWE's journey from chick in Sutherland to corpse in Crail

Red SWS’s journey from chick in Sutherland to corpse in Crail

Sometime in January one of the fisherman gave me a couple of rings from a dead shag he had found by the harbour. I found out its history this morning. The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in Penicuick is running a large scale, long term study of shags. All the shags we see with colour rings from Crail are part of this study and most of these are local birds ringed on the May Island. But not this dead shag. It was ringed in Sutherland last June as a chick and it has been shuttling up and down the East Coast since then. Because it had a conspicuous colour-ring with three large letters on it (red SWS) it had been several times from Fraserburgh to the May Island and back again. I have mapped all the sightings and you can see that it has moved much of the length of Scotland. Many birds die in their first year, still it seems such a shame that this brave traveller didn’t find a good home after covering so much ground.

Posted March 5, 2014 by wildcrail in Sightings

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