A tale of speedy Siskins and and an unusual Blue Tit by Giles Pepler

It was a productive spring for Siskins at my back garden ringing site in Bagillt, but until recently I’d had to be content with controlling Siskins from elsewhere in Wales and south-east England. I returned from a meeting of the Clwyd Bird Recording Group in April, having discussed with other group members where ‘my’ Siskins might be bound for, only to find that two recoveries had come in that day from the same place – 267 km north near Peebles in Scotland. The first bird had taken a full two days to get there, which was quick enough, but the second bird was even more remarkable: ringed at Bagillt at 4.30 pm on 17th April, it was caught again at 7.20 pm the following day! Even if it had started its northward journey immediately after release and been caught the moment it arrived in Scotland, it would have averaged over 10 km per hour, but more likely it undertook the journey through a single night or day.


Male Siskin at Bagillt, Flintshire (Giles Pepler)

As well as these two Siskins, I’ve just received news of an unusual Blue Tit movement. A juvenile, shortly out of the nest in July 2018, was controlled 207 km away on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border on 10th June 2019, with a brood patch, so presumably nesting there. Most Blue Tits are pretty sedentary, but what makes this one more interesting is that it had stayed around Bagillt for the autumn of 2018 and most of the winter – it had been retrapped at Bagillt three times, the last occasion being on 14th February 2019. So when and why did it move so far?


Blue Tit nest at Bagillt, Flintshire (Giles Pepler)

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