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Ringing in the Arctic Circle

Tuesday, August 22nd 2017

A team from the Swaledale Ringing Group has just returned from a trip to Northern Norway where they helped to run a 'fuglestation' or bird ringing station for a week. The group members had to get to grips quickly with different kinds of nets called elevator nets that are much higher than the ones used at Foxglove.

Elevator net

The ring sizes were also different to the ones used in the UK and were made of a much softer metal. In addition the Norwegian bird ringers fit the rings onto the left leg (at Foxglove rings go on the right leg) so all of this required a lot of concentration!

ringing room

If this wasn't enough of a challenge, add in to the equation that many of the bird species were also new to the ringers! Here is a stunning juvenile male Bluethroat with just a few of the bright blue feathers beginning to show.

Blue THroat

Here is the same bird photographed from a different angle to show its magnificent tail feathers.

Blue Throat tail

This Three-toed Woodpecker was another new bird for the group. Its bill is much sharper than that of any other woodpecker. This one is a female. The male has a rather odd yellow cap!


This Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (an adult female)  was another new bird for the team.  In the UK it is scarce and nowadays seldom seen. It was heavily in moult which is why it looks so scruffy!

Lesser Spotted woodpecker

As can be seen, the weather was kind and it only rained for one afternoon (which provided a welcome rest from the 24 hour ringing due to the fact it doesn't really get dark at this time of year).

Forest in Norway

The scenery was spectacular and the whole of Northern Norway consisted of immaculate countryside which appears to be unspoiled by human activity. The visit was a success with 1366 birds being ringed in total. Over 700 of these were migrating Redpoll and almost 400 were migrating Willow Warblers. It was definitely a 'holiday' to remember!

scenic view

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