A quick trip to the woods in Roeburndale yesterday for the first ringing session of the autumn turned up few birds, probably because there is still plenty of natural food (including plenty of midges) and the birds aren't hungry yet for artifical food.
But it did turn up a ringed Goldcrest complete with a very shiny ring. Fortunately, this didn't mean it had recently been caught on migration - instead it was a bird that had been ringed in the same wood last year (15th October).
There might be some readers who would be disappointed by this, but the essence of ringing at this site is to retrap birds that have been ringed here, in this wood, before. This is because one of the most important (some would say, THE most important) aims of ringing is for population monitoring. Data from ringing is fed to the British Trust for Ornithology where it joins other scientific data (such as Nest Records, census data and so on) as part of a scheme that is called Integrated Population Monitoring (see the BTO website for details). For the purposes of IPM, birds that are recaught where they are ringed are much more important than birds that wander off elsewhere.
Very few Goldcrest are ever recaught - small birds often present very low percentages of ringing recoveries - and this is the first Goldcrest that I have retrapped in this wood and thus, it was a 'real' rarity!