Back when the year turned, we managed to bump into a couple of old, old friends of mine. Two at Dawlish Warren and one at Bowling Green Marsh. Anyone who knows me will realise these have to be birds (my social circle is not exactly wide, shall I say). I don't have any pictures of the exact individuals, unfortunately. They probably don't recognise me either - I'm nothing more than another part of the scenery to them, unless I accidentally startle them - but I recognise them: they're all colour-marked.
Two are Brent Geese, which were both ringed on the Exe in 1996, and have been returning here probably every winter since. There's a website (www.geese.org) where you can register and log your sightings, and as a handy bonus of modern technology, you get an instant history of the bird. Here they are:
This bird was ringed at Powderham, in the winter of 1996, and has been seen in several places along the western European section of the migration route over the years. A total of 61 logged sightings too, which is pretty impressive:
This bird hasn't been seen so widely, but still has 37 logged sightings over the 12 years since ringing:
A closer look shows something of the widespread use they make of the Exe:
The other old friend was a Black-tailed Godwit, ringed on the Wash - also in 1996. This is one of the older blackwits I've seen now, and I'm sure all of them have plenty of life in 'em yet!