We held a great event on Sunday as part of the Woods Mill 50th anniversary celebrations funded by ScottishPower Foundation.
The theme was bird migration and, as part of the event, licensed bird ringers Tony and Laurie set up some mist nets on the edge of Hoe Wood. Birds captured in the nets were carefully removed and processed - their sex, age, weights and wing lengths recorded.
The British Trust for Ornithology's ringing scheme has been running for over a century. During this time the results from bird ringing studies have given us valuable insights into the movements, breeding success and survival rates of our birds. This knowledge has been transformed into conservation action and has allowed conservationists to target their efforts on threatened species and habitats.
During Sunday's event Tony and Laurie processed 39 birds. A lot of these were our resident blue tits - but amongst them were some birds which were passing through the reserve en route to Africa.
These migrating birds were using Woods Mill to fatten up for the next step of the journey: a short hop over The Channel before heading south through Iberia, across the Mediterranean and beyond to the Sahara. A Pied Flycatcher was a nice surprise, we have seen these birds passing though Woods Mill before in the autumn. There were also Willow Warblers, Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Reed Warblers too.
The event gave visitors the opportunity to get close to these birds and learn all about their incredible journeys. They were all fitted with a lightweight ring and we wished them 'Bon Voyage' as they were released and continued on their way.
Below: Willow Warbler (top) Pied Flycatcher (bottom)