As well as mist netting, I’ve also been involved in the cannon netting that the Farlington Ringing Group do. The aim of each session is to catch selected species (depending on location) and to colour ring a sample of 30-50, and place only a single metal ring on the rest. The use of colour rings makes reporting of ringed birds easier as anyone can spot them and easily report the individual they saw by noting down the colour ring combination and submitting the data to the BTO. All birds, including the colour ringed birds, will carry the metal ring as this will have a unique number and (for birds ringed in the UK) have the British Museum’s address on it so you know what country it was ringed in if it is retrapped.
The first session since January was on Thorney Island where Redshanks and Greenshanks roost. Main aim was to re-catch some Greenshank that, as well as being colour ringed, were carrying geolocators. The information collected by the geolocators will provide an interesting insight into where Greenshank migrate to.
In the end, we didn’t manage to catch many of the Greenshank, but most of the Redshanks landed in front of the net and so we ended up with 89 of them, a few Dunlin and a few Greenshanks. This was great as there were quite a few trainees present so we had practise handling and ringing wading birds – very different to tiny passerines! It also meant we could colour ring more of the Redshank (for a different project).
Back in January we had another session, to ring and put geo-locators on Greenshanks which was successful. As well as the Green and Redshanks, we caught one Spotted Redshank, a species I’m told is rarely ringed these days so I was fortunate enough to ring it!
If you do see a colour ringed bird, or indeed any ringed bird, please do report it here or by going to http://cr-birding.org/ and finding the project the bird was ringed for so you can contact the ringer about the bird sighting. Thanks!