Southern Colour Ringing Group


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The final visit to the Tern rafts was made today with a small team of two going out in the small green boat to ring the final Terns and Gulls. Whilst out there we were able to fit colour rings to eight Black-headed Gulls that were only metal ringed from a previous session and also to ring 15 new Black-headed Gulls. We also ringed two new Common Terns during the visit. Only one dead bird was found on the rafts and this is excellent for the productivitiy clearly due to the really good weather. 

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Common Tern Chick - Shaun Harvey

The final visit to 70 Acres this evening saw a final 25 Black-headed Gulls ringed along with 14 Common Terns. 14 new Black Headed Gulls were colour ringed along with two metal ringed birds from the last vist that were now big enough to take a colour ring. A good team executed the visit smoothly and ringed all birds quickly in the warm weather.

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First wing tagged Kites for the project

A good weekend with six nests climbed by our excellent climber Richard Fenna who was fantastic getting to the nests to enable us to ring six Buzzards and four Red Kites this year. We wing tagged our first Red Kites with all four receiving yellow wing tags which we hope will generate some more sightings as these birds fledge and disperse. Thanks to all the team and people who turned out over the weekend and supported the efforts to enable us to ring a good sample of birds from the nests found. Only one nest could not be reached due to a partially dead trunk which we were not happy with so we decided to abort the climb on safety grounds. Never the less an excellent total of six Buzzards and four Red Kites marked this weekend. 

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Young Buzzard


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.

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

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