Trip reports

Bird Ringing Event at Filey

Bird Ringing Event at Filey
Greenfinch by Paul Barrett

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Arriving at 11am, we made our way to the Totem Pole Field where the ringers had been set up since dawn. A tent with all the necessary equipment was located close to the Top Scrub, where the process of ringing was already well under way. Peter greeted our group and explained what we could expect to see during our visit. Unfortunately, from a birding point of view, the winds were very light and from the south west which meant that we were unlikely to see any rarities. Mist nets are placed in the area of woodland which is now a Nature Reserve and is managed by the BTO under the auspices of Scarborough Council.
The birds are collected from the nets at regular intervals in cloth bags and brought back to the field, where they are then examined. Each bird is very carefully measured, weighed and ringed before being set free. The information collected is written on sheets and then transferred to a database. A bird has a 5 letter coding for its species and a specific ring number, so that it can be tracked. In this way the health, population and longevity of each bird can be recorded and the reports used in studies of survival and migration. The amount of birds ringed will vary each day and is particularly affected by the weather, especially the wind speed and direction.
It was a privilege to watch how expertly the birds were handled by the ringers, who must hold a licence issued by BTO, gained after a great deal of experience and training in the field. A tally is kept of all species ringed as well as other species seen and heard in the locality,(over 300 pink-footed geese flew over during our visit), plus other wildlife including butterflies and dragonflies.
Birds ringed: blue tit, great tit, long-tailed tit, wren, robin, chiff chaff, greenfinch, great spotted woodpecker
Before leaving Filey, we stopped at Filey Dams Nature Reserve, an area of freshwater lagoons surrounded by marsh and grassland. The Main Hide takes in a small copse with nestboxes used by tree sparrows, and leads along a boardwalk to a pond-dipping platform at the edge of a quiet pool where little grebe and a water vole were sighted. From the East Pool Hide, close views can be had of water birds and migratory waders.
Birds seen: mallard, teal, shelduck, heron, black-headed gull, herring gull, wood pigeon, tree sparrow, greylag goose, little grebe.

Carol Barrett