As reported in Curlew Newsletter Number 7, a number of Curlew eggs were taken from East Anglian airfields (where they would otherwise have been destroyed to prevent bird strikes) and were hatched in an incubator at Slimbridge. The chicks were raised at Slimbridge and released from 9 July onwards, with two colour rings, a yellow unmarked ring on the right tibia (above the “knee”) and a white ring with a number between 01 and 99 on the left tibia. Since the release, many of these artificially raised Curlews have been re-sighted around Slimbridge, where there is a natural wintering area for wild Curlews on the estuary. It is expected that these young birds will spread in the winter period down the Bristol Channel, either on the English side as far as Cornwall, or on the Welsh bank.
Pete Hazelwood, who regularly watches the estuary off Oldbury Power station (and maintains a website at www.opsbirding.co.uk) has reported two of these birds at Oldbury, which is about a dozen miles downriver from Slimbridge (see attached pictures). Both birds were released, not from aviaries, but directly into the wild. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is most grateful to Pete Hazelwood for these reports, and looks forward to more reports from Oldbury and elsewhere. If you see one of these colour-ringed birds, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.