Sunday, 17 May 2015

Day 195 - Brilliant Bird-ringing and Marvellous Moth-Trapping

A view over the river at High Batts from the ringing station
Hi all today's Day 195 and today I had a very early start to get ready for a special day. As you know I go to Nosterfield Nature Reserve (run by Lower Ure Conservation Trust) and the co-founder (Jill Warwick) invited me to do something very special. The place where we went to (High Batts) wasn't too far away from Nosterfield itself so we didn't have to wake up as early as we might have.

A Blackcap
So, on with what I did. To start with, do you ever wonder how the RSPB and BTO get the information and facts that I use in my blog? Well have you ever seen a bird with a small metal ring around its leg? Well that's because of bird-ringers. Bird-ringers are people who set up nets to catch birds and then examine them, record their weight, age, wing length and gender. Then a ring with a unique number is attached carefully to it before it is let free.

My first Whitethroat - and up very close!
If it HAS already got a ring on it then they will record it and then let it go. All of this is done to collect lots of information on birds to try to understand their movement and survival rates. The information helps with conservation of lots of birds. According to the BTO there are around 2,500 volunteer bird ringers in the country that record information on around 1 million birds a year!

Great Spotted Woodpecker
It was really good to see how all this is done and get up close to the birds. It wasn't the busiest session but I still saw some lovely birds. Today there were Blackcaps, a White Throat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Treecreeper, Willow Warbler and a couple of Blackbirds. I was able to get some lovely shots of the birds up close and got to release some after they were recorded and ringed. Thanks to all the people there for the East Dales Ringing Group, really friendly and I learnt a lot from everyone today!

Here are the spots that give it its name
As if that wasn't enough there were also some moth traps set up overnight. It was a cold night though so not many moths were caught but some very pretty ones were found. I really liked the Hawk moths but some of the smaller moths were really nice too. I shall keep more of a look out for Moths in future!

Lime Hawk Moth
A white Bluebell!
It was an open day at High Batts and there were a lot of different people there interested in different species. As we were making our way out I was able to get close to a little Wood Mouse and saw the end of a little talk on Bats, another species I really like looking out for especially when I'm on my holidays.

There were lots of flowers out too which you can see in the first and last photos. I was surprised to see the white Bluebell, I've never see one of those before!

So if you get the chance I'd really recommend finding out about getting involved in ringing, I'm going to be finding out more and seeing how I can get more involved. If you happen to be in North Yorkshire when High Batts is having an open day I'd recommend that too - it's a really lovely place.

A few links:

Lower Ure Conservation Trust


East Dales Ringing Group

High Batts

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Amazing post Zach - I love to see how all of this is done as I've never been to an event like this before. I used to see a lot of those white bluebells near my house before I moved, I'm not sure what species they are or whether it's just a different colouration through cross-breeding but they are very pretty! - Tasha

  2. Looks like an amazing day, to see a whitethroat that close especially