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Showing posts from July, 2017

Record-breaking Reed Warblers

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Undoubtedly one of the best things about bird ringing is the learning. The discoveries. I thought I knew a lot about birds before I started to train to bird ring. And I did. But now I realise I was only scratching the surface. There are so many more fascinating facts and statistics that only come to light during the process of ringing and recording birds. From subtle morphological differences that can determine the age and sex of a bird, to details about fat, muscle, brood patches... I could go on and on. Bird ringing is a journey of discovery!

But perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries are those surrounding migration. We often get retrap reports from the BTO giving us information about birds we catch at our site near Woking, and some are very surprising.

One bird we caught recently has a truly astonishing past. On the 9th July, I processed an adult Reed Warbler, who we now know has been alive for more than 11 years. 11 years. This bird was ringed in the nest on the River Wey n…

My piece in The Curlew Magazine

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Last month, I was approached by the Editor of 'The Curlew', a periodical dedicated to writing about the natural world, and was asked if I would like to write a piece to feature in the magazine. I happily accepted...


My piece, 'Explorations in Extremadura', is about my experiences in the Sierra de Gredos, searching for Iberian Ibex, a rare species of mammal confined to the Iberian Peninsula. Here is a quick preview:

"We had arrived with one particular species in mind – the Iberian Ibex, one of Europe’s rarest mammals. There are four known subspecies of Iberian Ibex, two of which are extinct. The subspecies of interest to us in Extremadura was capra pyrenaica victoriae ; the Western Spanish Ibex or Gredos Ibex, found only in a few  small mountain ranges in Central Spain, one of which being the Sierra de Gredos, the range surrounding Guijo de Santa Barbara. To be quite honest, we didn’t arrive with the expectation of seeing any – Iberian Ibex are renowned for being esp…