Prince’s Youth Trust Visit 14th June
Today we hosted a visit with some young folk from Darlington. The day didn’t start well with the bus driver being told by his ‘masters’ to drop them off at the wrong place. But through good luck and gravity (they were dropped off upstream of the cluster) we all assembled an hour or so later than initially planned.
Their day was meant to consist of a bird ringing demonstration with both nest boxes glared into and mist nets watched, followed by lunch and an afternoon doing ‘navigation’ on Fremington Edge.
Roger, a local National Park ranger introduced them to the idea behind ringing and the why’s and wherefores before our group of 18-25 yr olds giggled there way along to the first nest box.
As we approached a male pied flycatcher was on the nest box. Once carefully opened by Roger (a licensed bird ringer) he ringed each of the 8 chicks and invited a couple of our visitors at a time to get a bit closer and watch.
We then wandered down to where John (the gent who rings for me usually) had set up some mist nets. These are very fine nets which birds are unable to see. They fly into them and are carefully ‘extracted’ (yes that’s the technical term) and then their biometrics are taken, that is they are aged, sexed, weighed and wing measurements etc taken before being ringed and released. One lucky person got to give a robin its freedom.
By the time we got back to Heggs for lunch it was too late to do the afternoon’s activity, so we had a leisurely lunch and a good bit of banter.
Afterwards we said goodbye to a group who I genuinely believe had enjoyed their day (if their reactions were anything to go by).
Hopefully we can repeat this sort of thing with other youth groups. If we don’t engage, we’ve got no chance of getting folk to care.