Ring Reading in London Parks

Myself and Espen took a trip to London for a couple of days this week. As we are both ringers, we both understand the importance of recaptures and the amount of vital data this provides, as well as the excitement of finding a Darvic ringed bird!

We visited Hyde Park first just for a walk around and the sheer confidence of the birds of London hit us, you could practically pick them up. After noticing a metal ringed gull, Espen grabbed his binoculars and read out the ring whilst I took a couple of photos and noted down the number, with Espen concentrating on getting the Black Headed Gull’s ring number, I noticed a Darvic ringed Herring Gull behind it and noted down the colour and the code. Between Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens we noted 9 Black-Headed Gulls all BTO metal ringed, and one Darvic ringed Herring gull, again BTO metal ringed aswell.

The next park we visited was St James park, it was a relatively busy park so getting a clear view of metal rings without children scaring the birds away or people feeding the birds making the gulls take off. This park provided us with some additional species to add to our metal ring reading lists. We managed to read 4 Black-Headed Gull rings successfully, with one where we didn’t manage to get the full ring number before the bird got flushed and lost. 1 Herring Gull metal ring and a Greylag metal ring, All except one was BTO metal ringed but we haven’t managed to locate where the additional ring is from.


The next day we set out to Regent’s Park, I half expected the park to be completely full with workers, runners, families and just about everyone visiting but was pleasantly surprised to only find a couple of people in the park and the birds were still settled and the rings were easy to pick up on. Whilst noting down and flicking through photos trying to find some digits, Espen noticed a Darvic ringed Black-Headed Gull on the bridge and went to catch up with it, the bird took off and landed in front of me and I wrote down the colour, position and the code. Throughout the park, we managed to read 7 Black-Headed Gull metal rings along with the Darvic ringed bird, we managed to identify the abroad schemes which the non-BTO birds belonged to:

  • 1 from Hiddensee (Germany)
  • 2 from Helsinki (Finland)
  • 1 from Denmark

Along with the haul of Black-Headed Gull rings, there were other birds which were surprisingly approachable and we managed to read the rings of these birds. 2 Egyptian Geese, 1 Greylag Goose, 2 Canada Geese,1 Mute Swan (Which came way to close to my face behind the camera!), and the bird which surprised me the most; 1 Grey Heron! All these birds were BTO metal ringed.

We did one quick stop at Hyde Park on our way to our coach home. We managed to read 2 additional BTO metal ringed Black-Headed Gulls, along with a bird which we read the previous day!

Extremely looking forward to receiving the data from the rings which we reported through EURing especially those from abroad. Ring reading is not only extremely fun, it provides vital data that will help to conserve species. Darvic rings are easy to spot and it doesn’t take much to input the combination into euring, if you can get close enough like we did in London, then go ahead and read the metal rings! We managed 33 rings from the 8 hours we were ring reading in London over two days and the time flew past.



I’ve received reports back from the Two Darvic ringed birds already!


Orange Darvic with Black writing, Left Tarsus-  X8ST



Yellow Darvic with Black writing, Left Tarsus- 2ABA


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