A bird strolling along the road wearing all sorts of bling was kind of hard to miss these past few days! With help from NTS staff, the Outer Hebrides bird recorders and the International Wader Study Group we found out that this chap is one of just 20 common ringed plovers that were caught and 'banded' this summer in the Canadian Arctic by Masters student Don-Jean Leandri-Breton. Imagine that. Only 20 birds were fitted with rings, one of them stops off at St Kilda and there just happens to be people about to record it. Incredible!
It's possible that this is the first record of a Canadian-ringed ringed plover in the United Kingdom. However, we are awaiting confirmation whether a slightly earlier record of a bird sighted at Chesil Beach, England with a very similar colour scheme is also from Canada. If it is then Napoleon will be the second plover from this ringing project to make landfall in the UK - good effort!
Napoleon (named by the Canadian ringing team, not me!), is also the first common ringed plover in North America to be fitted with a geolocator as part of a project to track the migration of this species across the Atlantic.
The photo below shows Napoleon when he was ringed at his breeding site on Bylot Island, Nunavut on the 27th June this year. You can clearly see the full colour ring combination; on the right leg, a white flag over a green ring with a metal ID ring below and on the left leg, a geolocator above a blue and green ring. Smart! (Photo: Don-Jean Leandri-Breton)
It's likely that Napoleon has stopped off at St Kilda to refuel. Luckily, there doesn't seem to be any shortage of bugs and beasties for him to snaffle up.
Safe travels Napoleon!