Welwyn Hatfield bird's migration secrets revealed

PUBLISHED: 16:22 04 October 2016 | UPDATED: 16:22 04 October 2016

A green sandpiper photographed at Lemsford Springs by Luke Massey

A green sandpiper photographed at Lemsford Springs by Luke Massey


A small wading bird has been tracked flying hundreds of miles from Welwyn Hatfield to Norway and back thanks to satellite technology.

GPS data from a tiny one gramme tag fitted to a green sandpiper show it left Lemsford Springs Nature Reserve on April 26,

and arrived on an island of southern Norway just two days later.

Warden Barry Trevis said: “These dates indicate that it would have made a non-stop flight across the North Sea.

“From the end of April to mid-June the bird moved to north Norway, near Trondheim, to breed.”

The sandpiper left its nesting territory in mid-June, and by July 15 was back at Lemsford Springs, where Barry recaptured it and removed the tag.

Laura Baker of the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, which manages Lemsford Springs, said: “This is very exciting. It really goes to show what can be achieved in conservation when tried and tested methods are teamed up with new science.

“We now have a greater insight into how far these birds travel – quite a distance, it turns out.

“We will continue to monitor the green sandpipers and use this information to help us manage the reserve in the best possible way for the birds.

“Lemsford Springs is a very special site in the UK for wintering green sandpipers. Last year we distributed 85 tonnes of gravel here, to improve the specialised habitat of the cress beds.

”This supports a large number of freshwater shrimps, welcome food for our green sandpipers and lots of other wildlife.”

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