Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Circle of Data

A week or so ago while chatting in the pub with my pal Sam, we came to the subject of the excellent Project Splatter *- the coordinator of which is his housemate.

Sam mentioned that he'd found a squished swallow near the Ambulance Station - he'd take a picture of it for his house mate, who noticed it was colour ringed. Of course I became excited! A colour ringed swallow in Cardiff had to be one of ours! But only two colour rings were on show... Easy, we caught all 10 adults at the Station so just check the notebook... oh, no it wasn't one of those... hmmm.

With 6 Red over Purples and 6 Purple over Reds to choose from, the identity of our swallow looked to remain a mystery. Until last night when Sam brought the now very, very, very splattered swallow to the same pub to complete the circle of data.

Our mystery swallow hatched on 27/07/2012 at the Cardiff Riding School in 2012, (one of 4 nestlings of a second brood). She was ringed L224778 on 06/08/2012, the lightest of her brood at 21.1g . She died on or just before 24/07/2013 having lost a fight with a motor vehicle. The day after we heard of her demise we found out it looked as if a sixth pair had moved in to the station - she was likely one of those before her untimely end having made it back from Africa.

This is genuinely a picture of the clutch of eggs L224778 hatched from in 2012.
Rumour has it she is the one of the left...

Although its a sad end to a beautiful creature, L224778's short life has
contributed to science in several ways; as well as to the BTO's RAS scheme
and ringing scheme, her early days will be included in the dataset of projects
as diverse as shell maculation, nestling growth, and female fecundity. And of
course she contributed to the  Project Splatter. A fair bit for a small bird.
* Project Splatter is a citizen science project based at Cardiff Uni that collates UK wildlife road casualty data using social media. Project Splatter collates UK wildlife road casualty data via Twitter ( or @SplatterProject) and Facebook with the aim to identify roadkill 'hotspots' for future mitigation projects and help preserve our wildlife.

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