Keep an eye out for ringed Spoonbills

Over the autumn and winter we’ve received reports of several colour-ringed Spoonbills, giving a great insight into where these strange birds originate.

Green V463

This bird was ringed as a chick at Høje Sande, Ringkøbing Fjord in Denmark in June 2023 and turned up at Marazion Marsh on 28th September, before unexpectedly wandering back north to Potteric Carr, South Yorkshire, seen on 10th-15th October. Realising the error of its ways, it returned to Marazion Marsh four days later and commuted between there and Hayle estuary until at least 9th December.

Spoonbill and Little Egret, Martin Webb
Great White Egret and Spoonbill – Alex McKechnie


This second bird has an equally interesting, but far more extensive, history. Ringed as a chick at Schiermonnikoog, Oosterkwelder in The Netherlands in July 2006, it spent its first winter 470 km away in France before returning to The Netherlands. It spent its second winter in Poole Harbour, Dorset, then again returned to The Netherlands. Subsequent winters were as follows:

  • 2008-09: Devon and then on the River Tamar in Cornwall in February 2009
  • 2009-10: Yealm estuary, Devon, then back on the River Tamar in January 2010
  • 2010-11: France in September/October, Dorset a week later and River Lynher, Cornwall in December 2010, then back to Devon in January
  • 2011-12: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2012-13: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2013-14: No sightings
  • 2014-15: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2015-16: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2016-17: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2017-18: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2018-19: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2019-20: France in October, then Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2020-21: France in October, then Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2021-22: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2022-23: Poole Harbour, Dorset
  • 2023-24: Poole Harbour, Dorset and Roiver Lynher, Cornwall on 16th January

So this bird is pretty faithful to a wintering area, but does wander a little and really does highlight the value of reading colour rings on birds.

Spoonbill – Rick Napp

Many thanks to the colour ring coordinators for their feedback on the reports and of course to the photographers who reported them. If you see any colour-ringed birds, the Bird News team can always help track them down so do let us know.