Southern Colour Ringing Group


We did the first survey for 2019 at Walthamstow today. 44 active nests is good. Although a proper count was not done there were approximately 37 Little Egret nests mostly with eggs so there will be some considerable ringing of these to do in a few weeks time. Due to the mild weather many birds were well advanced and many young were too big to attempt to ring. This colony was clearly much more advanced than the Netherhall colony. Eight birds were ringed of which 7 were colour ringed.

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 8 7
Little Egret 0 0

Today we made our first visit to Netherhall to undertake the Heronry survey. Only 27 nests this year so ten nests down from last year. There are several trees down on the island which has reduced the nests available. However, with the warm spring things are early and there were three or four young that are very close to fledging and were too big to attempt to ring. We also recorded our earliest three Little Egret nests one with five eggs already.


Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 9 7
Little Egret 0 0

Walthamstow Wetlands

Today was a concerted effort at the final Herons and Egrets. We however had no idea what awaited us on Walthamstow No 1 Island. Assuming (correclty) that we were too late for most of the Herons and we were just going to do a nest survey we had not counted on the large Egret colony that there is on this island. Final count for the day was a total of 21 Heron nests and 19 Egret nests. Many of the Egret nests had young of the correct size to ring. Unfortunately we had not considerd there would be such a large amount and we had only taken 14 colour rings out with us. This resulted in the final 10 birds at Walthamstow only being ringed with metal rings and no colour rings. Given we were also planning to do the final three nests at Netherhall that evening a few hurried calls secured another ten colour rings from a ringer on the other side of Herts. We drove across to collect and just made it back to the farm to collect the boat in time where Rob ringed a bonus brood of Jackdaws in one of the owl boxes before we left. At Netherhall we managed to get two more broods colour ringing another six Little Egrets. This bought the day total to 30 Little Egrets of which 20 were colour ringed. A great effort by all  the team and thanks to London Wildlife Trust and the Thames Water fisheries team for their support and ferrying on the boat out to the Island.

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 3 3
Little Egret 30 20


The Southern Colour Ringing Group rings Grey Heron and Little Egret pulli (young in the nest) at two sites in the Lee Valley – Netherhall and Walthamstow Wetlands.

Nests are climbed up to and young removed to ring. We also fit colour rings; Heron (White with black letters and a three digit code) and Egrets (orange on the left leg and black or green on the right leg) which allows the birds to be relocated without needing to be recaptured. There are many more bird-watchers looking for colour-ringed birds, so this greatly improves our chances of understanding the movements of the birds from the Lee Valley.

If you see a bird with one of our colour rings, please use the submission form or 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

2016 year totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 13 0
Little Egret 14 14

2017 year totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 16 0
Little Egret 9 9

2018 year totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 26 26
Little Egret 37 27

2019 year totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 17 14
Little Egret 0 0

Grand totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 188 40
Little Egret 95 85

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