Thursday, 14 December 2017

Ciril Ostroznik and the North Solway Ringing Group

Ciril Ostroznik and  North Solway Ringing Group

Ciril’s father, Herman, left the former Yugoslavia, and settled in Ae Village. He brought with him a love of raptors, particularly Sparrowhawks. Herman found employment with the Forestry Commission and, as the only birds of prey in the Scottish Forests were Sparrowhawks in those days, Herman became an expert on Sparrowhawks. During the school holidays the young Ciril would go out with his father. This was the start of Ciril’s lifelong interest in raptors. From an early age he would study the habits of the birds as well as getting in tune with other life in the forest.
 Whilst Herman was working, Ciril would be climbing trees, thus honing the skills which would become invaluable to him, both in his future work, and as a nest builder for large raptors. He became so adept at climbing trees that he relates – “there is not a tree I cannot climb.”
When Ciril left school the obvious job for him was as a wood-cutter with the Forestry Commission. He did this work for many years until he decided to train as a tree surgeon. His climbing skills were now put to good use. 
Being self-employed meant that he was also able to observe raptors in the area and could manage his free time to investigate nests and habitats of the large raptors. This led on to building nests for Ospreys. Indeed not only does he build nests in his own locale, he goes all over Scotland to do this work, such is his renown.
Nowadays, the youngster who is learning the climbing skills is Ciril’s grandson Arron, watched over by both Ciril and his son in law Keith.
As his knowledge of raptors grew Ciril joined the North Solway Ringing Group, just as his father had done before him. This group has been operational for at least fifty years. Since inception the group has grown to around thirty members and helpers. Many of the group have a specialist subject such as owls, kestrels, sea birds, small birds, raptors, etc covering all categories of bird.
All the birds are ringed using metal rings supplied by the British Trust for Ornithology, and the Group rings in the region of ten thousand birds a year. Ringers must have special Training to use the rings.

Metal Ring

Each ring is numbered and  information, such where the bird was found, if in a nest, the number and sex of the young in the nest, is applied to this ring. The ring  number is assigned to the bird for its lifetime, and tells both where it came from and where it flies to. 
The North Solway ringing Group holds  meetings in Castle Douglas and members from Ayrshire also attend.
There are regular times when the public can attend netting sessions to see how the birds are caught and ringed using mist nets (fine mesh nets).The birds are then set free, and can be identified wherever they go. The ringing Group also put up nest boxes and ring the young in the box.

Mist Netting pictured

Canon Netting pictured

If you net shore birds and waders, you require a different type of netting. This is called canon or rocket netting.
The net has one edge attached to the ground, charges are connected up to the nets, which are then fired over the birds. This type of netting should only be undertaken by an experienced team to manage the process. The North Solway Ringing Group do canon netting along the sea shores and often will take boat trips to ring birds on the islands around the Solway.

Ospreys are ringed using both metal and large rings known as Darvic Rings which are made of  Durable Plastic. The large ring number can be seen from the ground allowing for easy identification in other parts of the world where the birds might fly to.  When the Osprey has been ringed The North Solway Ringing group then sends this ring information to Roy Dennis   famous for Conservation of rare birds and the reintroduction of rare species such as white-tailed eagle, and red kite, He catalogues the Ring information and history, which can be accessed by anyone from other parts of the world where the bird might fly to. People from other parts of the world will get all the details of the bird from Roy Dennis from the ring number.

 Osprey showing 
a blue Darvic Ring.

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