Norfolk birders have been treated to a regular group of Spoonbills all summer, with news reported just this week of the successful breeding of a small colony at Holkham NNR (see main article here). Cley Marshes has seen a group of up to 17 birds, though number do fluctuate and it's interesting to think where these birds might be going.
Luckily several of these are colour-ringed, allowing their movements to be tracked - assuming, of course, that birders report them. One such bird was LAYF,L,Y;RAB,M,B or NLA-8049223 as it's known to the Dutch Ringing Scheme. The coding just describes the bird's combination of colours rings and a flag, allowing it to be identified as an individual - one with ring number 8049223.
This bird was ringed as a nestling on 16th June 2007 at Bomenland, Vlieland, Netherlands (in blue below). It was seen in Vlieland until 8th September 2007 then moving to Bahia de Santona, Cantabria, Spain, on 6th-16th October 2007 (in red blow). It wasn't seen again until it arrived at Cley (also in red below) on 18th June 2010, then seen on various dates until the morning of 2nd August. Amazingly, it was then seen back in The Netherlands that very evening, but deciding it actually preferred Norfolk, it was back at Cley again on the morning of 5th August!
View Spoonbill in a larger map
This really goes to show the fascinating stories that come out of colour-ringing programmes, all of which rely on reports from birders. So if you do come across a colour-ringed bird, do report it and maybe its story will be equally interesting.
Thanks to Dave and Pat Wileman for the photo of the bird at Cley and to Otto Overdijk for the details of the bird.