Monday, 4 April 2016

Post 399 - Had brilliant results at High Batts Ringing session

Hey everyone, today's Post 399 and yesterday I got to combine my reserves challenge with another of my favourite activities. I was travelling to High Batts Nature Reserve where some people who I'm quite familiar with were going to be setting up some rather large nets.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know I'm talking about bird ringing! Now the people I was doing it with were the East Dales ringing group. I got there in time to help set up the nets which are pretty big. They're put up in clearings on really tall bamboo poles which must be about 4 times the size of me! We managed to catch quite a few birds in these rather large nets. In fact, it was really fun, as always when I ring the EDRG.

Marsh Tit
High Batts itself is a beautiful place, very secluded and is on the banks of the River Ure. It's been a private nature reserve for over 40 years and it has a huge variety of birds, you get the garden birds, such as Blue Tits, Great Tits and Great-Spotted Woodpecker, and also some water birds since there is a large pond and a stream as well as the River Ure so you can often catch and ring Kingfishers!

Great Spotted Woodpecker
An amazing tongue
We caught 3 Great-Spotted Woodpeckers which is a record for me! I also found out something new about them too. They have a lot of adaptations one of which is their tongue, this is very long and wraps up in their head somehow. They use their beak to peck into a hole made by an insect grub and then they fire their long tongue into the hole. The other adaptation of their tongue is a barbed spike on the end of it which pierces the grub and they can then pull it out and eat it. Saves the woodpecker having to drill deep into the tree! Very beautiful and amazing creatures!

Male & Female Goldfinch
We also re-trapped a Redpoll ringed last year by EDRG which made the group very happy especially Jill Warwick as it shows that the Redpolls are making their migrations successfully. Other birds we ringed were Chiffchaff, Yellowhammer, Dunnock, Goldfinches, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and there was a recaptured Nuthatch which was a bit lively and flew off before I could get a photo!

Further through the day I managed to see if I could handle some birds. The BTO trainer there, named Paul, managed to teach me how to ring some of the birds,how to age them, and determine their gender, as well as measuring the wing length and weigh them. It's all quite tricky but I'm starting to get the hang of some of it now.
Learning about ringing.

The birds I rung were a Great Tit, a Blue Tit (this was the most vicious I rung yesterday), a Coal Tit and a Chaffinch. It was really great to be able to handle them and I honestly felt honoured.

There was one more thing that I found funny and interesting, and that's something that Paul told me which was that if you hold some birds in your hand on their back then they will literally just freeze in your hand, like you've hypnotised them, and when you move your hand and 'break the bond' they'll fly away quickly.

Thanks to all at EDRG for a great morning!

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Love that shot of the yellowhammer, what an amazing day to have been on Zach! - Tasha