Polish Curlews again – March 2019

We reported last year on the finding in Poland of a Curlew colour-ringed on the Usk estuary in south Wales by the BTO in winter 2015/16 (see post of 19 September 2018 under News).  It seems likely that the bird spent the winter of 2018/19 back on its usual wintering site, though, sadly, there were no definite observations of the bird there.

Our colleagues from the excellent Polish Curlew project now report that this bird was back again in Poland, on exactly the same field as last year, in Brzozowka Valley (near Biebrza National Park) on 24 March 2019. This individual can be recognised from the unique colour code combination of a black ring on its left tibia (upper leg) and a white ring above an orange ring on its right tibia; like all birds ringed on the Usk, it also has an orange ring over a white ring on its left tarsus (lower leg), as a marker for the Usk project. We were surprised at how early it had returned; other records of Curlews colour-ringed along the Severn estuary suggest that birds nesting in the far northeast of the flyway do not return until later in the season, no doubt because of the risk of snow or frost in these northern breeding latitudes; the pictures suggest that conditions in Poland in late March are still quite frosty.

Below are pictures of the bird back in Poland and a map of the site where it was refound.

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