The Dark Room

Sunday, 22 November 2020

2 nets

 The conditions were perfect on Friday morning for a solo ringing session - a drop in temperature, low cloud and light winds. A silhouette of a Woodcock flying low over the path as I was walking to the site was a great start too.

I set up 2 nets and ringed 42 new birds and had only 3 retraps including a 1cy male Brambling, Other highlights of the morning were 1 Fieldfare, 3 Redpoll, 6 Redwing, 2 Chaffinch a whopping 25 Reed Bunting! The 1cy female Fieldfare is only the 4th to be ringed at our site and my second. However more than 30+ were seen through the morning but no more were in the catching area. 3 teas and a coffee kept me warm and the 45 birds proceesed kept me busy.

1cy male Redpoll

Reed Bunting



All images were taken with the Iphone.

Tuesday, 17 November 2020


 Reached a small milestone for the garden this week as I've now ringed over 150 birds of 20 species. A female Chaffinch was the 20th Species and a Long-tailed Tit was 150th to be ringed. It all started back in February when I got my C-permit and all the data has been given to the BTO. A full list of the birds are below.

Blackbird 3

Starling 63

Blue Tit 13

Great Tit 4

Parakeet 4

Goldfinch 22

Dunnock 4

Woodpigeon 2

Robin 3

Green Woodpecker 1

House Sparrow 4 

Magpie 11

Crow 1

Collard Dove 1

Chiffchaff 1

Goldcrest 3

Blackcap 2

Long-tailed Tit 9

Sparrowhawk 1

Chaffinch 1

Just 1 control and that was a male Chaffinch ringed at our own site not that far away on 13:9:20.

However Jackdaw is always seen in the garden daily but are just to clever and see the 9m net!

 Long-tailed Tit




Thursday, 22 October 2020

Tick and ring

 With time off work last week I squeezed in some ringing on  the 12th. 14 species were ringed Redwing and Redpoll added a spalsh of autumn colour. 14th 7 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest were the highlights of 17 species ringed. The 16th in my garden this time produced 12 birds 3 Goldcrest, 3 Long-tailed Tits (both new for the garden list) and Blackcap were best. Brambling and Coal Tit over was also very good. Back at our site on the 17th with PH we ringed 2 Brambling and another 14 flew over as did 2 Crossbill making it a very good morning.The Brambling were new for the both us and our site to be ringed!


Male Brambling 1cy code 3


Goldcrest from my garden

This Adult Blue Tit above ringed in my garden had a bill length of 15mm!

The afternoon on the 17th I crossed the Dartford bridge to Kent and successfully twitched the 1cy Masked Shrike at Shuart. It showed really well and I now regret not taking my camera as I went straight away after ringing without poping home first. I've seen them abroad before in Turkey but this was a UK tick for me. All in all a great week off and I got the jobs done too in doors so Mrs H is pleased too.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Bearded Vulture

 Last week I had the week off work to do a couple of jobs around the house and to go birding/ringing. So on 15th October I went see the Bearded Vulture that's been wandering Britain with Howard down in East Sussex. We arrived before dawn with a small crowd scoping the tree that she roosted in the night before- wow! We spent the next two and half watching her in tree before seeing her in flight and being chased by a gang of covids. Really pleased I made the effort,  it was amazing experience to see her!

After all the excitement calmed down we went looking for our own birds and added Ring Ouzel, Datford Warbler, 2 Firecrest, Black Redstart, Merlin, Corn Bunting, 2 Peregrine, 7 Brambling and 5 Crossbill for the day list and also had more views of the Lammergeier going over Birling gap.





 Male Black Redstart


Female Merlin having just chased a lucky Skylark.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

 10th October

Processed 31 birds of 13 species on Saturday the highlight was the 1st Redwing of the autumn to be ringed. 


1cy Male Green Woodpecker

12th October 

A short solo session produced 14 species : 4 Redwing, 3 Song Thrush, Redpoll, 2 Goldcrest, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, 4 Blue Tit, Great Tit, 2 Wren. 

1cy Redpoll

1cy female Goldcrest

Overhead was a good passage of Redwing and Finches along with the 1st Fieldfares of the autumn. I also had a Tawny Owl calling whilst setting in the dark.   

Sunday, 4 October 2020

Ringing update

 On the 30th September I done a 2 hour solo ringing session before work 19 birds processed 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, Cetti's Warbler, Greenfinch, 2 Robin, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit and the first Goldcrest of the autumn.

 1st October  with PH was much better with 70 birds being processed over a 4 hour period. Chiffchaff numbers were in double figures and again Greenfinches were too. Other highlights was Kestrel, 2 Redpoll and a site first Snipe to be ringed.  


1cy Snipe



1cy Female Kestrel

1cy Redpoll


Sunday, 27 September 2020

Common Cranes at Rainham Marshes

After Saturday's poor sea watch off  Margate with PH and only 4 Bonxie and 3 Artic Skua and 2 Snipe being the highlight of a long day, I was keen to go out Sunday morning and make the most of not ringing due to high winds all weekend.

I started off with a river watch at Rainham Marshes RSPB but singles of Dunlin and Black tailed Godwit was not what I was after. A juvenile Wheatear and a Stonechat were feeding along the rocks near Aveley bay car park was a nice distraction. With the river being quiet I had a look on the local Whatsapp group. Jono and some of the boys at Wanstead flats amazingly  picked up 2 Common Cranes  going east that were seen minutes before at Tytenhanger GPs.

So I jumped into my car and drove to Ferry lane as your a bit nearer the river. I thought - as the Cranes went east from Wanstead they may follow the river?- I know I got very lucky!

Both went over my head at height and carried on going east over the reserve. And to be honest the speed I got my camera out of the bag was record breaking :)


Nice to get the dust of the camera again, I think this is the only Wheatear to be on my blog all year.