Modern and more affordable technology has opened up new and exciting areas for researching our important bird populations over recent years. The use of thermal imaging cameras have helped us gain a further understanding of how birds move around and utilise the reserve after the cover of darkness – unveiling new important feeding and roosting areas, as well as observing new behaviours - all of which are important in helping us manage and conserve the reserve and its special interest.
However, it has also helped in the capture and ringing of several more nocturnal species that have been poorly studied in the past – birds are first located on the Ings with the thermal imager, before a torch is used to dazzle them into a hand net. Recently our team have been out after dark and have caught the first returning Woodcock back on the Ings grasslands, as well as Golden Plover and Jack Snipe in their night time feeding areas. A number of other farmland bird species have also been caught recently, with Fieldfares, Skylarks and Yellowhammers all recorded. The thermal imager is also proving to be a useful tool in monitoring our local mammals populations after dark. Many thanks to our team of volunteers for their efforts lately helping us to collect this valuable data.