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Bulletins Index

Caithness Field Club

Caithness Field Club Bulletin
1979 - April

Bulletin Index


G. Crittenden

Bird ringing studies made under the British Trust for Ornithology ringing scheme, have revealed interesting and often unexpected bird movements through Caithness and N.E. Sutherland. The following selection of movements are the result of ringing some 1500 birds over the past 3 years. Most of these birds were ringed in their first year, this merely reflects the high proportion of juveniles in the Autumn population. The high mortality rate in these migrating birds provide us with the bulk of our recoveries.


Ringing Place and Date

Recovery Place and Date

Starling Aberlour, Banff 1.6.75 Melvich 19.12.76 Trapped & Released
Starling Fair Isle 31.10.77 Melvich 15. 2.78 Trapped & Released
These two 'controls' indicate the cosmopolitan nature of our winter Starling flocks, the Fair Isle bird was probably of Scandinavian origin whilst the Banff bird was born in N.E. Scotland.
Blackbird Flanders, Belgium 3.10.74 Wick 26.10.76 Trapped & Released
Blackbird Melvich 31.10.76 Zeeland, Holland 6.11.78 Found Dead
Robin Melvich 24.10.76 Brussels, Belgium 2.12.77 Found Dead
These birds of continental origin; as opposed to our local Robins and Blackbirds, resulted from the exceptional Autumn migration of 1976.
Pied Wagtail Melvich 24.10.76 Cockenzie, East Lothian 27.2.78 Found Dead
This recovery helps to explain where our local Pied Wagtails move to in Winter.
Blackcap Dungeness, Kent 25.9.77 Melvich 9.10.77 Trapped & Released
This is a remarkable and at first sight puzzling movement - 900Km NNW, coast to coast in 2 weeks. We normally think of Warblers such as Blackcaps as moving South in the Autumn, however it is known that some Blackcaps summering in Europe move into Southern England during Autumn. This individual obviously 'overshot'!
Willow Warbler Melvich 20.5.76 Melvich 30.4.77 Trapped & Released
This bird was known to have spent the Summer of 1976 in Melvich and obviously found it attractive enough to return to after a Winter sojourn in Iberia or N. Africa.

All these movements reflect the itinerant nature of some bird populations but there are many species with local populations that are born and will die without having left the confines of the county. Their local seasonal movements would, I'm sure, be equally intriguing and I'd be grateful for any reports of Blackbirds with Wick accents heard singing in Thurso.