Posts Tagged ‘mute swan’

Sunday 5th July

Myself and 2 others spent a day with Phil Belman ringing geese over in south-west London.  We started the day with a roundup in Richmond Park on Pens Pond.  A quick count was made and we determined c75 Canada geese on the pond, Pens Pond is dissected by a track and all the geese were on the ‘wrong’ side, this meant we would have to coax them over the track and into the water opposite. The usual location was chosen for the pen and lead-in nets and we set up. We always have to put a boat onto the pond for the roundup and Phil set about inflating the dirigible. The roundup didn’t at all go to plan, two reasons, firstly, there was a hole in a fence we thought secure and secondly, there was a Mute swan with cygnets on the side of the pond we were trying to corral the Canada’s,  and the swan was very aggressive, flying at the Canada’s and scattering them. We eventually managed to corral c35. With the main catch of the day complete we headed off to locations in Chiswick, Moseley & Walton on Thames for some hand catching.

Measuring the wing length of an Egyptian goose

Measuring the wing length of an Egyptian goose


Wednesday 8th July

Another trip to Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire for another round of Barn owl box checking, a further 10 owlets and a single adult ringed, with a box containing 3 healthy chicks being the highlight.

Barn owl owlets

Barn owl owlets


Monday 13th July

Another trip over to south-west London, Wimbledon Park our destination for another goose round-up. We would have liked to have visited sooner but a certain popular tennis tournament had delayed us by a week! The access to the pond is via a golf course which over the Wimbledon fortnight is turned into a car park and staging area, so there was quite a lot of cleanup activity going on. A count of c100 geese was noted and we got to work setting up the pen and lead-in nets. Once all the netting was in place we all got into our position while Phil once again took to the water in the dirigible. Everything was going well, with the flock slowly moving in the required direction, Phil had managed to elicit the help of a couple of club canoeists, the geese were just starting to exit the pond heading towards the pen when the sight and sound of a grass cutter suddenly filled the air and spooked them, chaos ensued and the geese scattered, Phil and the canoeists were overwhelmed as the flock disintegrated. To me, it seemed like a deliberate attempt to scupper our roundup, subsequently I learned that the head groundsman had previously been reported for shooting the geese, I guess he’s not a big fan! So no birds caught. After we had packed the net away we headed around to the other side of the pond to try some hand catching, a single Mute swan was the result.

Mute swan

Mute swan being weighed






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on Sunday with my trainer and other members of the ringing group for a ringing demonstration. Heritage Day is a once a year event when the world renowned Sandhurst opens the doors of its splendid grounds to the public, this year celebrating 200 years.

There was a variety of stalls selling local produce, a children’s fun fair, pony rides, a children’s obstacle course, welly throwing and an air rifle range. The usual military band played throughout the day. A planned polo match was cancelled due to a water-logged pitch (this years drought playing havoc again!).

Our little demonstration area was next to the lake and the nets were set-up in a small wooded area close by. Unfortunately the conditions where far from ideal, too little ground cover, too close to the activities and gusting winds so the total of 3 birds was a true reflection of all the factors. Amazingly we had the most extreme of catches – we caught the smallest and largest European birds, a Goldcrest and a Mute Swan! The third bird was an adult Blue tit in full moult. It was a shame we didn’t catch more to show the public, especially the younger ones who beamed with fascination when they got close to the birds.

Although we didn’t get the chance to show more birds we had a great day, hopefully we’ll get another chance next year.

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