Aside from all that, I'm willing to bet (health permitting) that there are enough days ahead for me to grab a firm hold of the one passion my busy lifestyle has been holding off. Carpe diem. As I write this, I can see my plush, new bird ringing permit to my left, and a tangle of birding books, study material, pens and coffee mugs all around. It's a true birder's man cave in here.
The Teifi Ringing Group have been very welcoming as I have said before, they are a really laid-back team who are so supportive but willing to work with me at my own pace. Having enjoyed about six taster sessions to dip my toes in the water I know that I could not be in better hands. Close observation and direct physical contact with a variety of birds can be daunting for those who are nervous of making mistakes or accidentally causing harm, that's a reservation that I confess I had to a small degree. But I was so incredibly relaxed when my first bird was handed to me (a Sedge Warbler from Charlie Sargent), that I immediately knew that nerves are never going to be a problem. This feeling of strong confidence has shone through as I have handled more and more birds, starting with releasing them following processing, and moving along to removing birds from the bags and working on my bird ringer's grip. Species I have handled include Sedge, Reed and Willow Warblers, a Cetti's Warbler, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Bullfinch and Blackbirds (male and female), I have recently progressed to more involved handling including checking brooding patches, wing measurement, weighing and basic ageing/sexing. I have ringed three birds: a Reed Warbler, a Linnet and a female Whitethroat which is still sinking in. Oh, and I also got to handle a Storm Petrel which was especially rewarding for me as I absolutely adore sea birds.
It is a fair drive from Llanilar where I live to Cardigan and there's the drive back. But this isn't inconvenient in the least, because getting up at 3am, driving an hour at least to and from, keeping to a reliable schedule of at least one but sometimes two trips weekly all reinforce my level of commitment. Having received the green light from my trainer to join the group, and also received my T-permit, I am looking forward to immersing myself in a worthwhile future of bird conservation, once again I only wish I had started as young as some of the kids who are currently getting into this field.