Orchard Event Day

At the end of September we held an events day at the Orchard. This featured a bird ringing event in the morning and an apple juicing event in the afternoon, with some general bits of orchard maintenance going on throughout the day. We also planted some more wild flowers for the wild flower meadow, many of which had been grown for us in trays by children around the village.

Below are three different accounts of the day from three different perspectives. The first is from Nigel Butcher, one of the RSPB ringers.

It turned out to be a fantastic ‘Jay’

A group of local ringers were invited to the Orchard on Saturday 28th September. The team from the RSPB have been periodically ringing around the village for nearly 5 years now. In this time more than 700 birds have been processed in a selections of gardens, orchards and on farms. This is small, when you consider that the total number of birds ringed in the UK was nearly 1 million birds in 2012.

4 nets were set in Histon Wood located just across the guided busway from the HICOP orchard and a good knowledgeable crowd turned out at 10am to observe. As with bird ringing there always turns out to be a surprise and in this case it turned out to be the initial catch – a Jay. This was a first for the local group and became the 28th species ringed within Histon and Impington. The catch was supplemented by the more usual Blue and Great Tits that many of the observers were given the opportunity to release once the measurements were completed. The final bird caught during the 2 hour session was a Robin which is always a firm favourite with any audience.

It is intended that further sessions will be undertaken at the Orchard, enabling population trends to be monitored as the site establishes itself. As an example the group have been re-catching blue tits dating back from to 2009. Do keep an eye out for ringed birds in your gardens especially over the winter although it is unlikely you will be able to read the numbers! A window/road collision or cat kill provide the most likely means of a resighting. In these cases it is very important if you find any ringed birds dead to report them using the BTO’s website http://blx1.bto.org/euring/main/.

The British Trust for Ornithology keep the large database and manage all of the scientific ringing data.

If you would like any more information about the local ringing group then contact nigel.butcher AT rspb.org.uk

Our second account is from Toby Lawrence, who also drew us the wonderful picture

By Toby Lawrence, age 8.

Bird Ringing

On Saturday 28th September HICOP ran a bird ringing event in Histon orchard. In the nearby woods large nets were set up between trees for birds to be caught in. They were carefully removed from the nets and brought back to the orchard in canvas bags to have rings put on their legs and to be researched.

The bird experts worked out health, sex, weight and wing-span and recorded it all in a chart. I watched all 12 birds get ringed: 1 jay, 5 great tits, 5 blue tits and a robin. I liked the jay because the wings were beautiful colours and it was quite large. Generally, I prefer blue tits because they’re cute and full of character. One of my favourite things that morning was that I got to release a robin and a great tit back into the wild.

By Toby Lawrence, age 8.

And finally, a word from one of the HICOP committee members, Elaine Brown.

Our First Apple Juicing Day on the Community Orchard

What a fabulous day we had. Blessed with sunshine and lots of helping hands from a fantastic group of volunteers we set to work.

Early start loading up vehicles with tables, chairs, apple press, mascerator and bottles galore. Plus boxes of apples picked from the IVC orchard to provide apple juice refreshments for those attending the Bird Ringing session and the team of helpers.

In the afternoon over 100 people and 3 generations of the community came to wash, chop and juice their own apples. Drinking apple juice straight from the press everyone said was amazing and such a delicious treat.

This year was a bumper crop of apples and may we celebrate many more together on the community orchard.

A big thank you to all those that came and made it such an enjoyable day. See you next year!

And finally…

Some more photos of the day.