Southern Colour Ringing Group


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

 2018 05 10 4

Due to three nests (one Egret and two Herons) being ready to do today we took what we thought was going to be a final trip out for 2018. A successful trip with all three nests ringed resulting in 4 more Egrets and 3 more Herons. However, it was clear that there were three Egret nests just hatched that would potenitally give 10 Egrets chicks to ring in about ten days time. It is probably going to be worth another trip out to ring these three nests as they will all be ready on the same day. So it does look like we will make five trips out this year which will result in an excellent total of Herons and Egrets for 2018. 

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 3 3
Little Egret 4 4

Little Egret Chicks in Nest   Verulamium Lake 30 May 2015

A quick trip out to Netherhall to get Egrets was a little dissapointing with only one nest ready. Another with young that were still too small and the rest still eggs means the Egrets are clearly much later this year than usual and we will consider making one last trip to see if we can cover another nest or two.

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 1 1
Little Egret 3 3


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

2015 year totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 12 0
Little Egret 6 6

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

Grand totals

Species Ringed Colour ringed
Grey Heron 171 26
Little Egret 95 85

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