Dutch Ringed Bittern finds a winter home again at Slapton

 Another remarkable story of bird migration and breeding and winter site fidelity!!

A Dutch ringed and GPS tagged Bittern wintered at Slapton Ley in 2011/12 and subsequently returned in the spring of 2012 to the breeding grounds in North-Holland.

Anneka as she is known, has already returned to the breeding area again sooner than expected and when the GPS data was downloaded (via remote access) it has revealed that she has spent a second winter at Slapton........the question is did you see a Bittern at Slapton this winter ? if so it was Anneke !!! Saying that the bird seen by Graham Watson 3rd Feb 2013 (see entry on this site) does not appear to be wearing any colour rings so there were at least two birds wintering.....and what about the bird at Beesands Ley 9th Dec seen by the Plymouth group? another bird??

For more information see the map of Anneke on www.roerdomp.info (click on Anneke on the right-hand side of the map). Anneke left the breeding area on exactly the same date as in 2011 (22nd Oct) but this time took the more direct route through France.

This still involved a sea crossing of 400km. During the migration she flew at altitudes of a few metres to more than 1500m. Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to determine the return route from Slapton to the breeding area.

As long as the GPS-logger keeps collecting data the remote access base stations located in the breeding area will continue to read data so we will be able build up a picture of the breeding ecology as well as migration and wintering habitats.

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 9:12 pm by Nik Ward in Bird News