Thursday 8 February 2024

The mystery Curlew @ Castlemartin

Some of you may remember that Lisa and I saw a colour-ringed / satellite tagged Curlew at Castlemartin Corse on 6th January (at the eastern end near the church - this post refers).

As suspected we didn't get all of the rings, but with the ones we did record and the help of some wonderful people we have managed to track the bird down: it was ringed in Germany!  More specifically, it was ringed as a breeding adult on 3rd May 2022 at Amstvenn in north-west Germany close to the border with the Netherlands.

Even better, the satellite tracker has provided some excellent information which I find just mind blowing.  Steffen has provided the following two screenshots, showing the migrations this bird has made, and a close up of its movements in Pembrokeshire.  If I read it correctly, it is here for its 2nd winter, and is still here.  It has even been to the Gann a few times.  This means that, this winter, the Gann has hosted birds ringed in England, the Netherlands and Germany (at the very least).

I absolutely love how this work and this bird have connected people across Europe, and it just shows how important our wetland sites (in this case Castlemartin and the Gann) are, not only to birds that breed here, but birds that breed much further away.

If anyone sees this bird again, please report it to Steffen Kaempfer at Osnabruck University (  The correct sequence of colour rings on this bird is left tibia: metal over  white over orange, right tibia: orange over orange over white.

Additional information: Steffen tells me that the GPS tags were fitted with a body harness using teflon cord. To get an idea, see e.g. the diagram in the following publication:  The attachment of the transmitter is therefore independent of the moult and the tags can easily remain on the bird for several years.