Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Just Oot The Back Door!

 On Monday afternoon I was joined by members of my new ringing team to try out a new catching site at Stirling University….just ootside my flat. I had been feeding up the site with a mixture of seed and nuts for a few weeks in hope of attracting a good variety of birds and was excited to try it out. This was the first time that I’d been mist netting properly since recovering from a bad hand injury last summer so I was a little nervous at first but luckily I now have a very supportive team of ringers around me who are incredibly encouraging and helpful towards me which in turn helps me gain my confidence back.


We soon erected four mist nets and retreated to our ringing station to await our first feathered visitors…which didn’t take long. We soon had a good number of birds coming through including a nice partially leucistic male Blackbird which has been submitted to the BTO’s Abnormal Plumage Survey



As we had a good steady flow of birds throughout the afternoon I was able to learn some new ageing and sexing techniques from Chris, who is a very experienced and knowledgeable ringer. It’s very interesting to ring with other ringers as everyone has their own approach to ageing and sexing. I feel that the more experience gained with other ringers, the better the depth of knowledge you gather – which overall makes for a better ringer.

Male Goldcrest

A great afternoon was had ringing over 60 birds of 13 species including a bonnie pair of Long-tailed tits.

Mr & Mrs

A couple of highlights for myself included my first Great Spotted Woodpecker……shortly followed his mate…

Male on the left, female on right.

Stunning plumage

Ouch….the male Woodpecker was in a particularly grumpy mood!

Another personal highlight was ringing my first Nuthatch!


Nuthatch are not so common North of the border but are doing well around the Stirling area, breeding on campus in recent years.


This male Nuthatch was particularly special for me as whilst living in Wales many years ago I caught an unringed Nuthatch but as my Dad was visiting at the time I though I would give it to him to ring, thinking that another would come along sooner or later…….4 years later!!!


All in all we enjoyed a delightful afternoon’s ringing and will definitely be back soon but with birds starting to nest and migrants returning it will soon be time for me to get the old nesting stick and be prepared for the funny looks off passers by as I clamber about in the bushes and up trees in search of nests for the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme.


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