The Dark Room

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Ringing chicks

Once again it's been a busy week as last Sunday I was with PH ringing Common, Lesser Whitetroats, Blackcaps, Great tit and a retrap  male Bullfinch that was ringed back in March.

16th May

Made a second visit to Netherhall with PRO, PH and some of the Southern colour ringing group to colour ring Little Egret chicks. 12 Little Egret and 2 bonus Grey Heron were ringed.

Some birds were to small to colour ring.

Little Egret with Me and my happy face.

Grey Heron, please pass on sightings of any colour ringed bird.

Saturday 18th May

Out with PRO, PH and DMo to ring some pullis waders sadly the numbers were very low due to a number of reasons, hopefully 2nd broods will have a better chance?

Ringed Plover above, just 2 were ringed and just 1 Lapwing!

Thanks again lads.......

Monday, 6 May 2019


29th April

Went along to Lea Valley water works NR to help out Paul Roper with a ringing demo along with Paul Hawkins and Louise. We processed 36 new birds Reed Warbler, Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed Bunting, Cetti's Warbler and a few Greenfinch added a nice mixed catch, Great to see and speak to some of the local school children that attended and show them some of the birds that we ringed.

Cetti's Warbler

In between a couple of ringing sessions I've added a few new birds for the patch year list. With Wheatear, Little Owl and Swift being the latest birds, which puts me on 101 for the year. Didn't see a Little Owl on the patch last year!

6th May 

A slow session this morning with PH with only 11 birds ringed. Nice to ring our first Lesser Whitethroat of the season though.

Lesser Whitethroat

Sunday, 28 April 2019


A short session before work on Friday morning with Hawky produced a real stunner in the first round of checking the mist nets. A cracking Adult male Common Cuckoo was the first bird to be extracted out of the fine net. This summer visitor (April-Sept) is normally heard and rarely seen well, so it's definitely one of my highlights so far this year to been able to extract and ring one. Hopefully it can be resighted again because that's what this is all about, collecting data.

A few Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blue Tit and Great tit were also ringed.

Thanks again Paul

Monday, 22 April 2019

A good mix

The last three Saturdays I've been out ringing twice with PH at our site and then on the 20th April with PRO up at Hertfordshire. Blackcap have been the most common bird ringed over the three sessions followed by Chiffchaff. It's been a good mixture of common birds topping up the figures each week but over the next few weeks/months hopefully we get more passage migrants and maybe something a little bit special?

This Adult male Jay below was 1 of 2 ringed on Saturday 20th April.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Patch update

The patch remains in steady mode at the moment but hopefully the coming weekend I should reach the magical 100 mark looking at the currant weather forecast?

The lastest birds have been:

86  Brambling
87 Sand Martin
88 Swallow
89 House Martin
90 Avocet - a good bird for the patch my 3rd record for the site.
91 LRP - didn't see one here all last year.
92 Grey Partridge
93 Reed Warbler
94 Willow Warbler
95 Cuckoo - 6 days earlier than last year.

The Avocet was well twitched by the locals but sadly didn't hang around for long. When I found it at the viewing area after work I was out on my bike and didn't have the camera. So Dave Morrison has kindly let me use his for the blog.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Heron chicks

Last Saturday afternoon I went out on a small boat with the Southern Colour Ringing Group to survey the Heronry at Netherhall. Only 27 nest were found on the Island which was down from last year due to some of the large trees being lost to the recent high winds. With the recent warm weather some of the Heron chicks were near fledging and the Little Egrets were already sitting on eggs, which was early than normal. However, 9 Heron was ringed and 7 of them was also coloured ringed. A massive thanks goes to Paul Roper and the team for the invite and the chance to ring a couple of  Grey Heron chicks.

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Green-winged Teal at the valley

With a Firecrest refound on the 28th March by RS and the fact that all of the valley birders successfully twitched it after work, the patch moved up a level. However, PH found a drake Green-winged Teal the next day at the viewing area and the bar was raised to the very top. A site first and again had to be twitched after work-well done Paulboy... With no sign the next day and the noticeable drop in numbers of common Teal it looks like it has moved on quicker than we hoped. A male Brambling was a added bonus whilst out checking for the Teal. Sunday 31st I added Sand Martin (30) and 2 Swallow over by the reservoir bringing my patch year list total to 88. Which is down on last years figure by 6 at the same time of year.

Green-winged Teal 

Male 2cy Firecrest