Old age and SML – Part 2

The intention of the previous post was to stimulate debate and perhaps a response from Council. With hindsight, this might have been more effective if I had drafted it on velum and had it delivered by messenger on horseback! How I yearn for a governing body with the youth, foresight and drive of David Attenborough or Prince Charles rather than the ingrained conservatism of Council members and reserve managers.

Rant over, it seems that South Milton Ley is not only the last refuge of aged birders but also equally popular with aging birds. Two Reed Warblers, ringed as first years at SML in 2014 were re-trapped there this year, seven years later, having made 14 trips across the Sahara. Even this feat was trumped by another Reed Warbler, ringed as a 1st year on 7th August 2010 and re-trapped on 27th May 2021, 3,946 days and 22 Saharan crossings later.

This last bird still falls some way short of the UK longevity record for the species of 12 years 11 months 21 days and is eclipsed by a Wren, HHT003, ringed as an adult at SML on 1st December 2013 and re-trapped there on 21st September 2021, 2,851 days later. Given that the bird must have been at least 18 months (550 days) old when ringed and therefore around 9 years 4 months old when re-trapped, it smashes the current BTO longevity record for the species of 7 years 3 months 6 days.

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