Nick Carter, Wetland Project Officer
|Reed Warbler, by Chris Thornton|
Kartong Bird Observatory, at the southern end of the Gambian coast, was established in 2010 and so far 12,000 birds, including 256 reed warblers, have been ringed there. Ringing takes place in the reedbeds that have developed in an old sand mine and also in the surrounding Acacia scrub. L930934 was ringed there on 18 January 2014 and I have just been informed by the BTO (which licences bird ringing in the UK) it was re-trapped on the Hilgay Wetland Creation site, a joint venture with Environment Agency, on 11 August 2015, a distance of 4,647km and a gap of 1 year and 205 days. She is a female and had an active brood patch when trapped which means she was breeding onsite. Of the reed warblers ringed at Kartong, six have been re-trapped in Europe but the Hilgay bird represents the furthest north of any of these recoveries.
Numbers of reed warblers are increasing on the Hilgay site as the areas of reeds enlarge with three pairs present in 2014 and up to eight pairs this year. Most of them are concentrated on the reed-filled ditch on the northern boundary of the site although some birds were singing in the southwest corner of the site this year. It will take several years for the reedbeds to develop fully and obviously reed warbler is one of those species that will benefit enormously. Ringing on the site will not only enable us to monitor this population increase but also important breeding parameters as breeding success by comparing numbers of young and adults ringed each year.