Southern Colour Ringing Group

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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

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 15 15

  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

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 16 16

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.

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 4 4

Methods

The Southern Colour Ringing Group catches Brent Geese using a cannon net, which involves firing a large net over birds feeding on grazed fields or salt marsh.

Once the net is set and the cannons connected, we wait for geese to be attracted to decoys we have put in the field near the set net. When enough geese are in the area and it is safe to do so, the net is fired.

The team of ringers then removes the geese from under the net and temporarily places them in hessian sacks which are stored in a holding area for processing. Birds are then aged and fitted with an uniquely numbered metal ring. Measurements may be taken to help identify the sex of each goose. We also fit colour rings (green rings with white letters and a two digit code) which allows the birds to be relocated without needing to be recaptured. There are many more bird-watchers looking for colour-ringed birds, than there are cannon netting teams, so this greatly improves our chances of understanding the movements of the birds from the Crouch Estuary.

If you see a bird with one of our colour rings, please send details (ring-code, date, location, species) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ringing totals

2017-2018 winter totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 18 18

2018-2019 winter totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 14 14

2019-2020 winter totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 35 35

Grand totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Brent Goose 67 67

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