One of the UK’s most popular songbirds has defied the odds by returning to RSPB Minsmere nature reserve, near Westleton, where it was ringed last year.

During a recent holiday in Suffolk, Cumbrian birdwatcher, Peter Heather, photographed a nightingale that has been singing outside the Minsmere wardens’ office. On returning home he noticed that the bird was ringed and informed Minsmere staff. They, in turn, were able to confirm that this remarkable bird had been ringed almost exactly a year earlier, as an adult, during a ringing demonstration by the Waveney Bird Club.

Waveney Bird Club Secretary, Chris McIntyre, said: “Our ringing demonstrations at Minsmere are always very popular as they offer visitors a rare chance to see wild birds at very close quarters. But ringing is also an incredibly important conservation tool as it allows us to learn so much about the lives of birds. 

“We ring thousands of birds each year, and it’s great to hear about sightings of birds that we’ve ringed previously. This nightingale was an adult when ringed on 6 May last year, so it’s already defied the odds by completing at least two journeys to Africa and back. Let’s hope it breeds successfully this year.”

RSPB spokesman, Ian Barthorpe said, “Nightingales are among the most popular birds at Minsmere. We’re lucky to hear them just outside the office every day during the spring, so we were amazed to see Peter’s photo showing that one of them was ringed.”

There’s another chance to meet the Waveney Bird Club and watch their ringing demonstration at Minsmere’s Springwatch event on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June 2012. This event is free, and there is no need to book, although normal reserve entry fees apply.

Ian Barthorpe continued: “RSPB wardens and volunteers will be out and about at Minsmere during the event, showing visitors some of the wildlife highlights, including stone-curlews, bitterns, dragonflies and swallows. There will also be a chance for families to do some pond dipping and explore the new Wild Zone and Wild Wood Adventure.”

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