Friday, 27 February 2015

Teifi - Warblers in the Winter sun....

Likely migrant warblers, not our local breeders !
A new Chiffchaff, and a couple more Sedge Warbler recoveries to think about...

A Chiff with Helgoland ring, that we caught in April 2014. We are still waiting to hear when and where this was ringed but news this week of one that we ringed 8th August 2014 that was caught in south west France at Etang-de-Moisan, Messanges, 74 days later on the 21st October.

Where did these Chiffs come from ??
I guess the first part of their migration is like our Sedge Warblers, a movement south-east first to cross the Channel ?

These recoveries show us how our Sedge Warblers progress, we know West Africa is the destination.
The recoveries that we have suggest our birds do leave via the south-east rather than the south-west, interesting as we are so far west ourselves.

The movements of our Reed Warblers is not as obvious.
We have great retrap data on site fidelity and longevity, but we don't hear much about our Reed Warbler stopover on their migration.

Reed Warbler movements
19/05/2013 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion:
Retrap 19/06/2014 Little Crosthwaite: (Cumbria) 301km NNE 1 yr 31days
25/08/2013 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion:
Retrap 27/09/2013 Gautegiz-Arteaga, Vizcaya:, Spain, 980km S 33 days
16/08/2014 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion:
Retrap 14/09/2014 Icklesham: (East Sussex) 390km ESE 29 days
05/05/2010 Holyland: (Pembrokeshire)
Retrap 02/05/2013 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion 48km NNE 2 yrs 362 days
12/08/2011 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion
Retrap 20/07/2014 Oxwich marsh: (Swansea) 65km SSE 2 yrs 342days
30/07/2012 Teifi Marsh Ceredigion) (Ceredigion)
Retrap 11/07/2013 Bude Marshes Nature Reserve (Cornwall) 139km S 346 days

This makes the study of our Teifi marsh so fascinating and valuable.
Our CES and RAS projects provide useful data on our breeding birds, but it is our recoveries and controls that tell us how valuable we are as an important feeding stopover site for migrants.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

A Woodc....three winters missing....?

Or a site faithful migrant ??

EX37984 was ringed on Frenni Fawr during a blustery night, the 1st November 2011.
Retrapped last night, between gusts of wind again on Y Frenni.
As one of our standard Woodcock monitoring sites we visit the site approx 4-6 times per month during the winter nights...November to March, and usually an April visit to find late migrant thrushes.

Where has EX37984 been ?
Have we missed him on so many visits, I doubt that, or is he purely a passage bird wintering further southwest.......

Back in 2011 we were just starting to GPS the location of all ringed Woodcock, a pity that we haven't the exact location for EX37984......I guess that both captures were in the same field.

Earlier this week, in the same field, we retrapped a bird that we had only ringed 2 weeks ago. The map shows how close the recapture was to the position when first caught....
As EY81436 shows, this is another example of amazing site faithfulness to the field, regardless of Foxes, Badgers etc..

Friday, 13 February 2015

A nightime six of the best....

A great night out with six waders of three species caught under the lamp. Three Woodcock, one Golden Plover and two Common Snipe - a species we don't often catch.

We suspected that we may be catching a greater proportion of adult Woodcock, here is some data from  previous seasons...
The figure is the percentage of juvenile birds, one of which is in the picture below.

 Winter season .....2010/11  82%
                             2011/12  48%
                             2012/13  50%
                             2013/14  51%
                             2014/15  40%...the.current season

Our average winter catch is c50+ birds and we should ring our 300th Woodcock in 6 years near the approaching new moon on the 18th February...!! We are not sure why the proportion of juveniles in 2010/11 was so high.

We are helping Paddy Jenks with counts of waders seen on the pastures at night as well as birds caught. See Paddy's post "Monitoring Woodcock and Snipe"
Species like Woodcock are difficult to survey, and counts at night may prove helpful. The map below shows Woodcock caught this winter at our three main survey sites, if this density is repeated on all suitable fields, then we have a substantial and unrecorded wintering population.

The sign of a successful night.....the wine gum pot is empty ...!!

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Wandering colour ringed Reed Bunting

Our Reed Bunting colour ringing project stepped up a gear today.
While following a large flock of Golden Plover and Lapwings over fields on the north side of the Teifi estuary we ventured along a bridleway near Cardigan golf course, rarely visited. The familiar sound of a Reed Bunting was heard from a hedge along a  turnip field. It was quite a surprise to see that it was a bird with colour rings.
It was a female that we had colour ringed last May at the first CES of the year on the Teifi Marsh.
A movement of 4km to good arable fields where Skylark were feeding too.
We spotted a flock of Reed Buntings a few weeks ago on the new South Ceredigion section of the coast path across Cardigan Island farm park. We need to increase our farmland wanderings to see if we can locate some more.

The regular photographers on the reserve are already sighting birds for us. Thanks to Colin Dalton for this one spotted near the main car park for the Wildlife Centre.

If you are lucky enough to spot one of our birds please send details via the contact form on this blog.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Siskins..wintering, migrants, breeders and RAS?

"Our" Siskins are returning ....
Two Siskins in Wendy's garden today and reports of singles in other gardens in the north of the county marking the hopeful return of Siskins in numbers.

We  ringed 243 Siskins in 2014, following 406 in 2013, making a total of 821 since 2009.
With 299 re-encounters too we have a good base to start...
Siskins leave us in July / August and appear not to return until January, so where do they go..

The map shows movements of some distance, with birds moving to Scotland and North Wales to breed. The Belgian ringed bird and the bird from Surrey, may be wintering with us or passing through. We have two main ringing sites for Siskins. The yellow lines on the map are movements to / from Wendy's and the red lines are to / from mine.

We catch our largest number in February and March, which are presumably migrants or returning local breeding birds. We also have a smaller peak in June and July with a high proportion of juveniles presumably from a very local population, and as mentioned above, all these birds whether local breeders or post breeding passage birds disappear in July and August, to moult and migrate ?

Juvenile Siskin from last May..

A real fascination is the interchange between the two sites, Boncath and Llechryd, 6km apart. We have more than 20 birds that have moved between the two sites, mainly during the winter period but also during the summer including one 3J juvenile visiting both sites over two days in July. One female managed to find another member of the ringing group's garden - 7km away in St Dogmaels one day after being ringed last February !
Another nice control is of a breeding female in July 2013 ringed in Ty rhyg plantation being controlled at my Boncath site in July 2014.
My Boncath site has only been running for two years, and excluding the controls from Wendy's site 6 km away, during the two month period 31st May - 31st July 19 adults were recaptured from the previous year. These numbers do appear to be in line for the start of a nice Retrap Adult for Survival  project on the Siskin in West Wales.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Midnight Meanderings.....for Woodcock !!

Unlike our mid-Wales lamping colleagues we are rarely out past midnight !!
A night off tonight due to the weather, below how our fields looked towards the summit of Frenni this afternoon...

With the moon waning we have at last been out with the lamp for the last few nights. Only seven Woodcock caught so far. Disappointing, though we think that our current wintering numbers may be low....
Fieldfares are being encountered in greater than usual numbers ...
Meadow Pipits have provided great interest with our second retrap !

D615995 was ringed on the 25th January 2014, and we re- encountered it on the 9th January 2015.
The wintering environment is hostile up here, and birds must move in periods of ice and snow, so quite amazing to find a site faithful bird re-wintering up here. The Migration Atlas and Bird Atlas suggest that being faithful to a wintering site is expected for Meadow Pipits. Though not far from the coast, wintering at this altitude on grazed upland pastures seems a less favourable strategy....but obviously successful for this bird !!

Last year we re-encountered a Meadow Pipit  on the 21st of March having been ringed on the 24th December, almost three months later in the same fields as the above bird. I discussed at the time may be a returning migrant....perhaps not.

Skylarks are found here too in small numbers,

In my wandering reading this evening  I came across a record of Woodlark in December 1981 in these hills.  We will continue with our (pre-) Midnight Meanderings...

See Ruffled Feathers for more on the all night activities...of Mid-Wales Ringers

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

2014....what a year !

Our best year to date with 30 controls and 20 recoveries...
All 2014 ringing data for Teifi RG is now entered in IPMR, our totals of 6831 birds processed.....
 ..and 5323 new !!

Species totals for the year are listed in full on the right hand side of the blog - 2014 Totals
Sedge Warbler is top again with 708 processed.....571 new.