Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Happy Ringing Day

Having just celebrated my first wedding anniversary, it came to my mind that I must also(this coming weekend) be about to celebrate a year as a BTO ringing volunteer. What a corking year it has been as well, my best ever year list, bolstered I have to say by the ringing and the guidance of the trainers, 100's of birds ringed including some personal ambitions for me such as Kingfisher and Bearded Tit, and some friends made along the way.

Male Bearded Tit/Reedling/Parrotbill
Female Bearded Tit

There have been a few heart stopping moments like in the case of the very juvenile(just fledged) Cuckoo that proved to be the first ever ringed at Titchfield Haven, and recently in the case of a Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler. As if that species in the UK wasn't uncommon enough, it is the earliest known record in the UK and the second most southerly record, also to add to an impressive rap sheet a first for Hampshire.
Newly fledged Cuckoo
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Titchfield Haven

Many of the species we have ringed have been lifers for me(never seen before in the hand or field) such as Yellow Wagtail, Garden Warbler, Cetti's Warbler and Grasshopper Warbler, so to be able to have had these birds not just in view down a scope or bins, but in my hand has been a true privilege.
Garden Warbler
Cettis Warbler

Yellow Wagtail

A few friends have been a little scornful at my involvement, calling it an old mans past time and laughing at my passion for all things avian but I tell you what, if this is an old mans past time then getting older seems fine to me. I would much rather be out, contributing to genuine scientific research in my spare time and have a fantastic time doing it, than be stuck in between 4 walls staring at the square eyed monster! I genuinely believe that if more people took an interest from a young age our country wouldn't be in the state it is in now!!!

So this weekend I raise a glass and light the candles... Happy Ringing Day! 

Postscript: My thanks for this year have to go to the people that have made it possible. First and foremost to Duncan Bell, my trainer, without whom I would not have even begun to ring. Next to Trevor Codlin and Barry Duffin, who have been generous and kind enough to allow me to join in their sessions as well. Please click on Trevors name to take you to his blog which will offer far more of an in depth analysis of the work the ringing teams do, than I can offer at present.

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