13 July 2009

Centenary tern ringing (and geese)

We recently had a morning out recreating (almost) the first ringing event in England - ringing tern chicks on the north Norfolk coast. The first rings from the British Birds Scheme were issued to Miss E.L. Leach, one of the best bird photographers in her day. She was also a 'watcher' at the tern colonies on Blakeney Point and Scolt Head, and this is where the first English ringing would have happened in 1909.

Recreating it in 2009 on Blakeney Point was myself, Sheena Harvey (Editor of BirdWatching magazine) and Hannah Devlin (Science Correspondent for The Times). The piece in The Times appeared this morning, but is online here. Many thanks to David Woods and Eddie Stubbings from the National Trust for letting us ring on the Point and ferrying us across in their boat.

Sheena then came along to the annual round-up of moulting geese at the BTO's one and only reserve in Thetford. This is always great fun, though the scratches on my arms bear witness to these not so tame birds! We're not squashing them either, but sitting astride them (rather than on them) is the best way to keep flailing legs and wings under control.

Out of the 40 birds on the lake we caught 55, which was odd, but a good catch. The remaining 140 on the second lake await our attentions this evening, so watch this space... Thanks to Sheena for the photos, and look out for her article in an upcoming BirdWatching mag.

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