Since 2014, Graham has fitted a number of avocet chicks with colour rings at Needs Ore Reserve, near beaulieu in SW Hampshire (the site is indicated on the map by the red square). Many of these have subsequently produced multiple sightings, giving us a great deal of useful information. The red dots on the map show the extent of the travels of the Needs Ore avocets.

Most pass through Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve and several regularly winter at Poole Harbour in Dorset. Needs Ore chicks have gone on to breed at Titchfield, Pagham Harbour, Rye Harbour and back at Needs Ore.

TYPES OF COLOUR RINGS: Graham began using conventional colour rings, in combinations of 4, with 2 on each leg above the joint. The left leg always had Green over Blue. With that combination of colours it was possible to individually identify birds from their rings, whilst avoiding duplicating any other colour ringed avocets in Europe.

When those combinations ran out, the BTO asked him to move on to flags (colour rings with an extension, onto which letters can be printed). Therefore these are what are currently being fitted to the avocets.

The rings may look a bit extreme, but the birds are not hindered by their presence, as is clear by the fact that chicks which have been fitted with colour rings and flags have led normal lives and many have travelled great distances.

Thanks to the ringers and observers who have helped in various ways with the project, in particular Marcus Ward, Adham Ashton-Butt, Peter Potts, Adam Wells, Matt Philips, Katie Ford, Keith Betton and Ivor McPherson.

If you see one of the Needs Ore colour ringed avocets, please report your observation to Graham via the contact details on the website. Other colour ring combinations should be reported to ribvervoort@hotmail.com.