The bird in question refers to a mystery small French ring which John had found inside of a Long-eared Owl pellet on the Ulster University Campus in Coleraine back in April 2011. Following a few years of trying to get the ringing details, even sending messages in French, we had written off receiving them. We had thought the most likely species would have been something like a Lesser Redpoll, Sedge Warbler or perhaps a Siskin.
As it turns out it was another Sand Martin originally ringed at Lagunage, Rochefort, Charente-Maritime on the Atlantic Coast roughly 112 miles to the south of last weeks bird. It was originally ringed on the 20th of August 2006 during an evening roost catch at a minimum distance of 1101km from Coleraine. It was aged as a youngster in 2006 so it could have made as many as ten flights between Northern Ireland and Sub-Saharan Africa. John is quite confident that the pellet was fresh when he found it as he had been watching the LEO nest above.
Sand Martin movement from France
This was actually the second recovery John has found in LEO pellets at the University and it's a great reward for his efforts. The other bird was a Siskin which had originally been ringed at Gibraltar Point in Lincolnshire on the east coast of England.