A Real Treat On My First Day Bird Ringing

Hi All!

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!

1546317_10150371501094978_2014409563_nThe 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.


9 thoughts on “A Real Treat On My First Day Bird Ringing

  1. Hi Rachelle, love this post and well done on the ringing!
    I was gobsmacked at the Firecrest, Bedfont lakes is a 5min drive from me and I’ve been looking around there for years. To see the Firecrest is great news that it was there but also made me almost want to go out with a torch and look for it last night!

    Can I ask;
    was that within the nature reserve, the part which needs a membership?
    Also, when was it that you had the Firecrest please? (I’d like to share the sighting news etc)

    Reading through, I didn’t realise about the Goat moth colony at Bedfont lakes either – what have I been doing there all these years?! 🙂 Would love to catch up with one of those..

    Sorry for clogging up your comments box, I’ll leave you to it and share your blog on my Twitter. I had a good day on Staines moor recently, wrote a blog post about it, if interested.


    • Hi Keith,
      Yes it was within the nature reserve, you do need a membership but it’s open to the public Saturdays 8am-1pm. I don’t have membership but my trainer lets me in. It was on Sunday morning around 9am, I’m surprised no one reported it there was a guy who spotted it a bit later on too but I didn’t catch his name. This was my first time on the nature reserve and I don’t know it that well yet but the Firecrest was caught/seen down the end of the main path off to the right I think where the woodland borders the reeds (but don’t hold me to that!). Would be great if you could share the sighting, I didn’t think to do that I guess I presumed some one else would as I was with 3 other people!

      I didn’t know about the Goat moth colony either, I just read about it on an info board on Sunday and was quite excited! I asked if they do moth trapping there and apparently they have in the past just not so much recently, I think it’s just a case of finding people with the time and the equipment.

      I have just joined twitter, it’s all a bit new to me but I will try and find you. Just seen your blog post, great read hopefully my visit will be as successful!


      • good stuff, got you on Twitter now and thanks for the follow.
        Although I live so close to Bedfont Lakes, I call Staines moor my ‘patch’. I’ll keep you posted on anything of interest when I’m up there, hoping to go in the next few days sometime..
        Thanks again, glad you like my blog too.

        all the best,


    • Oh apparently I did know about the Goat moth colony, I even put it in my ‘places to visit’ section! I have no idea how that slipped my mind! Getting old before my time? Thank you for posting the sighting on twitter and also my blog post, it has caused an influx of followers on my side!

      • excellent, glad to hear it!.. Not the forgetting what you put in your own blog, but the new followers bit 🙂
        Entirely up to you, but any of your Staines moor sightings will be gratefully recieved on Twitter too, espiecially by myself, @surreybirdclub and @londonbirdclub. Just saying. no pressure, just enjoy! 🙂

    • I will definitely be posting sightings in the future, I feel like I have been stuck in the stone age for too long, and I’m only 24…… 😉 I also noticed no one ever posts sightings from Kempton NR, so maybe I will start.

      I was thinking of heading to Staines moor either tomorrow or Saturday morning so perhaps see you there!


      • I’d love to hear about your Kempton sightings, it’s a place I was thinking of joining this year so very intrigued as you’re right, it’s very under-watched/reported.
        Maybe catch you on the moor soon, find us something good!

  2. Pingback: Ringing, Reeding Buntings and Redpolls…… And Other Things Not Beginning in ‘R’! | Urban Wild Things

  3. Pingback: National garden bird count | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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