OK so it’s been a while…. I don’t really have an excuse for this, and actually I have been doing a fair amount of birding, and lots of volunteering, I just always forget to take some kind of photo to document this – even if it is a rubbish phone photo of a spec in a distant tree that I claim to be a Sparrow Hawk…. That’s about the best I can do at the moment any way until I have enough money to get my proper camera fixed (so that’ll be a few years then…..).
But honestly it’s more the fact that I forget. I’m not one of those people that tends to document my life on my flashy touch screen iPhoney thing. In fact I wouldn’t even know how to work one…. So cool things happen, and you all have to take my word for it that that spec in the distance is in fact what I say it is. So really I could just be making it all up 😉
So the other week I did some volunteering with The Conservation Volunteers at Pevensey Road Local Nature Reserve just up the road from me which involved my first ever attempt at hedge laying (which, if you get the chance to, you should try! It’s great fun and very satisfying, not to mention the finished product has great benefits for wildlife) and I some how managed not to take a single photo! I needed one of those before and after type things, really. Next time!
Any way, now I have started bird ringing training at Bedfont Lakes (*excited face*) I don’t have any excuse as surely I can get a semi-decent photo of a bird literally in my own hand? Well if I remember my camera that is, otherwise when the second catch of my very first day bird ringing just so happens to be a Firecrest (!!) I have to make do with this awful phone shot that does not do this bird justice at all…. Still, how cool is that? Absolutely charming little bird, a real privilege.
You can really see the difference between this and the similar Goldcrest up close. We also caught a couple of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, lots of Blue tits, a few Great and Long-tailed tits, a Dunnock (not at all just a ‘plain brown bird’ and they have such beautiful chestnut eyes!) and a couple of Ring-necked parakeets – a bird that you DO NOT want to mess with! I have developed a new found appreciation for this noisy intruder, the colours and markings are simply stunning up close!
The boy in the background was the brother of a very enthusiastic little 7 year old girl who happened to be visiting the nature reserve with their dad so she got to get involved for a bit – so great to see children so enthusiastic about nature! She said she wanted to be a marine biologist, so one of the other ringers said she would have to do what we were doing…. but with Whales! 😉
I got to handle the birds; measuring wing length, weighing and I ringed my first blue tit! I find the smaller ones are the trickiest, I can hardly keep hold of the Long-tailed tits. I also started to learn a bit about how to age the birds, which seems to vary between species and although there is this wonderful book to guide you I think this really is something you can only learn from experience….. And I am looking forward to gaining lots of that! More photos next week, providing the weather holds up! Everyone wish for a glorious Sunday morning for me 🙂 I also hope to get down to Staines Moor some time this week and get to London WWT early on Friday before I start work to do some birding, so watch this space.