Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ringing at Ferry Meadows

It didn't look all together favorable when I got up at half 3 in the morning to the crashing of an almighty thunder storm (of which all those who were awake to witness it, said it was the most amazing they have ever seen!) but as it turned out my introduction to world of ringing turned out rather brilliant. I have been interested in getting into ringing for quite a number of years, but it wasn't till JJ got into last year I discovered anyone can.

Along with Bainton Gravel Pits, Ferry Meadows is dubbed as being among the best constant effort site in Britain (praise indeed) and for a first visit for the season an unprecedented amount of birds were processed!
Chris, Daniel and Katie (of Bogbumper fame) were all on site long before me ("trying not to be electrocuted", as Katie put it), but thankfully the storms cleared by 5 just in time for my arrival.

Whilst waiting for them to return from the first ringing round I watched a group of Common Terns fish the Nene and a Blue Tit which bearing a ring on its leg- a nice introduction to what was ahead!

On returning from their first net round, the Bogbumper said they had something special for me- and indeed it was; a first catch for the ringing site- Jay. It certainly took a few chunks out of Daniels fingers, but here is a photo from just before it got a chance!
Jay, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

The next net run and tagged along and saw at first hand how much work not only goes into extracting the birds from the nets but also getting to each net! It was pretty darn muddy (up to to the knees in places) and not at all easy to walk. Incredibly a Kingfisher was in one of the nets- one of three for the whole day! It was fascinating to see their incredible threat display- crest raised head turning slowly two and throw with beak slightly open.

Chris and the team at work (Katie holding Sedge Warbler), Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

Other birds caught during the day included Wrens, Dunnocks, Robin, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Blackcaps, Garden Warblers, Willow Warblers (oddly no Chiffys), Great Tits, Blue Tits, Treecreepers, Reed Buntings and a pair of Bullfinches.

Sedge Warbler, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

Whitethroat, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

Garden Warbler, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

Bullfinch pair, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

Willow Warbler, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

And of course everyone's favourite....

Kingfisher, Ferry Meadows, Cambs | © William Bowell

All in all a rather thrilling but tiring morning- and it actually gave me a surprising buzz (more than I expect anyway!). Thanks to Chris and the team for their patience.



At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice with not a little amusement that the critical comments regarding the bird ringing pictures have been removed. Does this mean that only nice words are permitted?
I too feel that the publishing of the pictures above is not good publicity for the bird ringing community. This type of photography is not particularly skillful , and really serves no purpose at all except to further emphasise that the birds are stressed yet again after having been netted, removed and ringed.
I am surprised that the BTO, if they are aware of it, condones this sort of practice. If a licence is required to ring birds then why is one not needed to photograph them in the hand.?

At 8:45 AM, Blogger Wandering Birders said...

No bird was harmed in the making of this blog!

In all seriousness, ringing is a subject which people have mixed feelings about- personally I have been in the anti-ringing brigade before in a past life, but over the years of seeing various demos, etc I have learnt that the birds welfare is put first. If you are in the anti-ringing camp, go to a demo at this years Bird fair or something- myths will be dispelled, especially if you go in there with an open mind.

No these photos aren’t skilfully taken, so what?! No one ever said snapping birds in the hand ever was a skilful affair. These photos merely demonstrate the range of birds caught that morning. No added stress was put on the birds by taking these photos, they were quickly released and the photos obtained literally in seconds, just before their release.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I am pleased to see that at least one person agrees with me on my attitudes towards bird ringing. – not so much the ringing but the real reasons for it, and the overstretched scientific returns.
My views on the subject are widely known and fairly well documented. I do speak with a little knowledge, - having assisted Tony Cook from Peakirk on many Duck decoy,and Wash wader ringing expeditions,- even though we are talking nearly 40 years ago.
As far as I am concerned, ringing and netting and extracting, causes the birds stress, and I have closed mind on that issue.
Regarding this site, perhaps it would have been better for the hand held stuff to have been kept out of the public eye, and restricted to personal use. The images like the one of the Bullfinches for example and the Kingfisher are all the ammunition the anti - ringing lobby need.
As far as going to a bird fair to see how it is done – well , I would respectfully suggest that what you see there on a demonstration, is not what you always get!
I do also wonder,by the way, how a 15 year old has managed to have a past life so quickly!

John Robinson
Wyre Forest

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Wandering Birders said...

John, firstly the post is by myself, Will, so I’m not 15, I’m actually 18, and when I say a past life it meant I used to think it wasn’t actually all that useful, causes stress to birds, etc. I know you have issues with Josh; they are not to be dealt with here, so there was no need for your last point.

I hope you have e-mailed surfbirds with your views that hand held stuff should be kept ‘out the public eye’ as I am sure you are aware they have a ringing/banding page and I hope you have e-mail other similar sites that use such images, and have not just singled out our website above the rest.

Everyone is entitled to there opinion, and since there have only been three folk complain about this, then the pix stay I’m afraid.

Thank you for continuing to visit our website despite your differences with JJ.


At 12:49 PM, Blogger Wandering Birders said...

I would also like to point out I didn't just go on a demo that day- I saw the real deal, going on net rounds, etc.


At 4:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Top Photos boys. It’s nice to see a VERY important scientific study-taking place depicted in some great photos. Although I must say that the photos don’t seem to have taken much skill : )

Ringing causes the birds very little stress. The little stress it does cause goes towards scientific information that in the long run could save many other birds lives. As you can see by all the photos of birds with rings on surfbirds etc, they go straight back to what they were doing before they were ringed.


Marc Read

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You write- “ringing causes the birds very little stress”
I am sorry but I have to question that comment, because no one that I am aware of is qualified to make and substantiate such a statement.
I do agree with John Robinson that the so called “scientific” results that come from the masses of birds ringed in this country is over stated, and lacks any real benefit to the species in their habitat. I feel the point he was trying to make also(maybe not very well),was that the photos showing ruffled feathers etc would have been better not advertised on the web so much.

Derick Saunders

At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say i agree with derick and john on the subject of these pictures, and if you feel the need to record this type of loosely called scientific study i would suggest you keep the shots for your personal use and also maybe the kingfishers threat display was more of a display of fear than one of threat !!!!!!!!!!!!! just a thought

At 7:37 PM, Anonymous Y.Nakashima, Ph.D said...

The photograph at the time of ringing is regarded as questionable even in Japan.

These are web pages by which the photograph at the time of ringing is carried.They are treating kingfishers and a grey heron just like toys, and are doing to commemoration photography! How do you feel these?

(^o^)/from Japan

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At 3:18 AM, Blogger Chris Moonbeams said...

Hi, I was surfing the internet and came across your blog. I'm quite impressed , with how it makes such good reading.

This is one to watch.

Many thanks,

At 10:32 PM, Anonymous Y.Nakashima, Ph.D. said...

The photograph at the time of ringing is regarded as questionable even in Japan. And we have a question in the meaning of ringing.

(^^)v from Japan

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