It is always interesting when we re-trap a bird ringed in another country; we are used to re-trapping birds who may well have flown to the bottom of Africa and back in-between, but who were originally ringed in the UK with a BTO ring.
On Sunday morning the 15th October 2017 at Wilstone Reservoir, we caught a Blackcap with a foreign ring.
She was aged and sexed as a female juvenile (3) with one original greater covert; wing length 72mm and weight 19.0, Fat score 1.
The metal ring on her right leg contained her unique ring number and inscribed RADOLFZELL GERMANIA. On investigation this led us to understand that she was ringed under the Bird Ringing Scheme “Radolfzell” (DER) which is hosted at Vogelwarte Radolfzell in the small village of Möggingen near the city of Radolfzell in the state of Saarland. Saarland is a forested, south-western German state bordered by France and Luxembourg. Vogelwarte Radolfzell is a subdivision of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and issue rings with the inscription "Radolfzell Germania" for use in Southern Germany, Berlin and Austria.
Just last week we received the BTO Ringing Report which gave us her original ringing history.
She was ringed on the 25th September 2017 at Beringungsstation Klein's-Garten Biringen, Saarland, Germany as a Juvenile (3) Female; no wing length but a body weight of 18.4g.
Twenty days later she had covered a distance of 576km and arrived at the reed beds at Wilstone. What would be interesting to know would be did she migrate north-westwards from mid-Europe to winter in Britain (as opposed to flying south to Spain to sunnier climes), or was she just stopping off for fuel and where did she end up? As the BTO reports on its website, blackcaps are wintering in the urban areas of Britain with increasing frequency over the last 60 years. Reasons offered being milder British winters and garden feeding. The latter has been shown to be higher in Britain than Germany.
Photos and report by Jenny