Sunday 4 December 2016

Kingfisher's 'record' UK migration

Published 24/10/2011 | 01:41

A small number of kingfishers migrate to the UK each year from the continent
A small number of kingfishers migrate to the UK each year from the continent

A kingfisher appears to have broken the record for the furthest migration of the species between the UK and the continent, the National Trust said.

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While kingfishers are a resident breeding species in this country, a small number migrate to the UK each year from the continent, probably to escape areas with prolonged freezing conditions in winter, the trust said.

A bird found at the National Trust's Orford Ness national nature reserve in Suffolk is thought to have travelled more than 1,000km (620 miles) from Poland.

The kingfisher, which had been ringed in Poland, was caught and released by members of Landguard Bird Observatory in Suffolk as part of routine bird ringing studies at the site.

Experts will now find out where in the country it had been ringed and confirm that it is a record.

The last kingfisher ringed from abroad and found in the UK was on October 29, 2008, and had travelled 819km (509 miles) from Aken, Germany.

The previous record set by a British kingfisher for migration was an individual ringed in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, and found in Irun, Spain, having travelled around 970km (603 miles).

The newly found bird is thought to have broken that record, and is also thought to have travelled from the furthest east origin, with other discoveries coming from France, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as Germany.

Mike Marsh, volunteer ringer for the Landguard Bird Observatory, said: "We catch a small number of kingfishers each year at Orford Ness, usually in the autumn, and previously assumed that these had been dispersing juveniles of fairly local origin.

"This will be one of the longest migrations among the kingfishers in the ringing database and we can't wait to get confirmation of the record from the British Trust for Ornithology and hear about the Polish ringing scheme."

Press Association

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