Southern Colour Ringing Group


A mid week team took a final catch of 15 Brent Geese at Blue House Farm today. There were still plenty of birds around but they were jumpy and flighty today and a second set with birds on the field which looked good finally failed when four calling birds flying over pulled the whole flock off of the field and we lost them back to the river. Huge thanks to the Essex Wildlife Trust at Blue House Farm and their continued support and enthusiasm are key to this project and the success which has now seen us colour ring 67 Brent Geese in the Crouch Estuary in the last three winters. We are fairly confident that in the next year or two we will take a larger catch on this site as we do now seem to have worked out how to catch birds here.

The following are a selection of pictures by Adam Wilson from the session today.

 2020 03 04 01 setting

Setting the net.

2020 03 04 03 catch

Extracting the catch

2020 03 04 05 GGs first bird 

Gary with his first Brent Goose

2020 03 04 10 age 5

A Juvenile bird

2020 03 04 11 winging

Harry taking a wing measurement

2020 03 04 16 CW neck collar

Previously satellite tracked bird

  IMG 9270Juvenile Brent Goose Blue House Farm Essex

A very windy day on 11th January but we decided to make an attempt at Blue House Farm for Brent Geese as the wind was not forecast to get up until about lunch time. We set before light two full nets one into a drinking pool on Boat Yard Field. Birds started to come onto the farm around 9am but none into Boat Yard. A few pairs and individual birds showed some interest in the decoys but none stayed for long all seeming to be a little suspicious once the landed close to the decoys (which they all did). We decided to move the birds from other fields to see if we could encourage birds onto Boat Yard Field, several of the team were sent to flush flocks and block fields. This was effective and after a while we had around 200 birds on Boat Yard field but some way from the net. Patience this time was the name of the game and we waited for over an hour before around 20 of the flock were in the catching area drinking from the pool. As we only had a small team and we had seen a lot of dog walkers which we were concerned might spook the birds at any moment we decided to take the catch rather than wait for more birds to move into the catching area. We decided to deploy both nets resulting in a catch of 16 birds. A good lift and extraction and all birds were speedily processed and corralled in the trailer ready for release as one flock. The release saw all birds go off well with no issues as a single flock keeping family parties together.

IMG 9263Brent Goose Blue House Farm Essex

A small team took a small catch of four Brent Geese on 23rd December at Blue House Farm. The catch was a family party consisting of two adults and two juveniles. The adult male was fitted with a satellite neck collar and the female and one juvenile fitted with two glue mounted back pack satellite trackers which we hope to follow over the next few months.


The aim of the Southern Colour Marking Group is to study various species of bird using colour marking in London, Essex and Hertfordshire. We do this by catching the birds using a cannon net, a technique requiring a special licence, or finding nests of breeding birds and marking the young in the nest.

Birds captured using cannon nets are extracted from the net before being marked with individually numbered metal leg rings. Whilst ringing the birds, we take measurements and study plumage characteristics. As many birds as possible are marked with a colour mark (either leg ring or wing tag) which can be read with a telescope without the bird being recaptured.


Here are links to other related websites:

Brent Goose Colour Marking 

South England Kite Group

Essex Wildlife Trust

London Wildlife Trust

Lee Valley Regional Park Authority

If you know of a website that we have missed, please contact us.

Bird ringing in Britain is licensed and coordinated by The British Trust for Ornithology. Bird ringing in Europe is coordinated by EURING.

A catalogue of colour ringing projects throughout Europe is voluntarily maintained by Dirk Raes at European colour-ring Birding.


The group operates with the excellent support and cooperation of The Essex Wildlife Trust at Blue House Farm which operates the nature reserve and allows access for Brent Goose catching. The Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and the London Wildlife Trust allow us to access sites in the Lee Valley Park for Heron and Egret work. Richard Bott kindly allows access to woodland on the Bott Estate for Red Kite monitoring.

We are grateful to the Essex Birdwatching Society and Essex Field Club for providing funding for the colour ringing programme for Brent Geese, London Wildlife Trust for Herons and Jenny Weston at the RSPB for support with Red Kite wing tagging.

The development of the dynamic mapping was supported by a grant from the British Birds Charitable Trust.

We also acknowledge financial support from Merlin Ringing Supplies.


Header images on this website are licensed under the Creative Commons license by the photographers

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