Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Redwing to Italy - better late than never

This recovery has only just been received by us - 7 years later !

Redwing  RF90948 was ringed on 19-Feb-2012  at our upland site Frenni Fawr, Crymych, Pembrokeshire.
Finding date: 15-Nov-2012 at Mallevisina, Mezzane Di Sotto, Verona, Italy
The Redwing was freshly dead - had been shot within a week.
Duration: 270 days Distance: 1360 km 

In 2012 we only ringed 12 birds on Frenni Fawr and only the one Redwing, a species we rarely find roosting at night up there.


The map shows the ringing and finding sites of the Redwing and the Woodcock - details below.

Woodcock  EZ73635 was ringed on  13-Nov-2018 at Boncath, Pembrokeshire
Finding date: 27-Jan-2019 at  Tredion, Morbihan, France
Again a freshly dead - had been shot within a week.
Duration: 75 days Distance: 491 km 


This Siskin shows a typical movement within Wales of one of our Siskins.
Siskin S322465
Ringing date: 10-FEB-2018
Boncath, Pembs
Finding date: 13-AUG-2018
Ceinws, Powys
Duration: 184 days Distance: 89 km

(text Richard  / map and details Wendy)



Friday, 22 February 2019

Recoveries and winter ringing

A quick summary of the last month before four of the group head out to South Africa.

Windy weather has hampered much ringing but various other trapping methods as described in the last blog have been used successfully. The most interesting species was the capture of 3 Yellowhammers in a field adjacent to my garden near Llechryd.


In recent years they have been seen very occasionally a few miles away but with no arable farms anywhere near they were a real surprise. They came to a seeded area for catching with a whoosh net.


The land is probably too wet for a planted cover crop to work well but something to think about.

Chris has been visiting Mwnt regularly over the winter but until recently the usual wintering Linnet flock had been missing. A successful first catch of the year last week with a flock of about 50 seen and 42 new and 2 retraps from last year.

Charlie and Andy have managed some good training sessions. We now have 6 enthusiastic trainees. Many Siskins are visiting Charlie's garden at the moment. 123 caught on the 5th Feb kept Sion and Alison busy. The adult males are looking very smart now.


Reed Bunting ringing has been a success this winter with 78 new birds colour ringed. The part of the Teifi Marshes where we catch the Reed Buntings is also where we concentrate our efforts for migration monitoring. A commercial cut by a Thatcher in this area make it ideal for passage White Wagtails in April, Snipe and Jack Snipe are still around to be caught and Water Pipits occasionally venture into the new wet stubble too.
This year's cut is in progress this week.



Recent news from the BTO of a few recoveries and controls of various species

Dunlin ringed on Poppit Sands on 23-SEP-2016
Subsequently captured by Scan Ringing Group on 19-Jan 19 nr Beaumaris, Anglesey
848 days  136 km  (NNE)

Storm petrel ringed at Mwnt  on 17-JUL-2017
Subsequently captured on  06-AUG-2018 at Porth Iago, Llangwnnadl, Gwynedd.
385 days  78 km  (N)

Woodcock ringed at Boncath on 15-MAR-2018 
Found freshly dead (shot) on 13-APR-2018 at  Kresty, Mosalskiy district, Kaluga O., Russian Federation
29 days 2646 km  (E)

Sedge Warbler ringed at Teifi Marshes on 17-JUL-2018 
Subsequently captured on 16-AUG-2018 at Terres d'Oiseaux, Braud-et-Saint-Louis, Gironde, France
30 days  810 km (SSE)

Another Sedge Warbler ringed at Teifi Marshes on 12-MAY-2018 
Subsequently recaptured on 15-AUG-2018 (at Tour aux Moutons, Donges, Loire-Atlantique, France
95 days 559 km  (SSE)

A movement within the group from Chris to Andy
Siskin ringed on 27-APR-2016 at St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
Subsequently recaptured at Bancyffordd, Llandysul on  06-JAN-2019 
984 days Distance: 27 km (ESE)

Siskin ringed on 12-MAR-2017 at Gleadthorpe Grange, Warsop, Notts by Birklands Ringing Group  subsequently recaptured by Charlie on 25-JAN-2019 at his Llanfynydd site, Carmarthenshire
684 days 248 km  (SW)

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Trapping at Mallard Pond.....and beyond

Reed Buntings - - the study species...


He wandered in ...for Millet
(a different Water Rail to this one photo'd by Dyfed near Kingfisher Pond earlier this week)


Not in the large Potter Trap baited with cat food....


...but in the middle trap of this compartmental trap with three independent doors and catching boxes.

We did catch 5 Reed Buntings this morning, 3 new and 2 retraps, thus no concern of birds being trap shy on the trap's first outing !

We have to balance general feeding of the area to keep the Reed Buntings at Mallard Pond, providing opportunities for our following of  Reed Bunting photographers who are invaluable for recording colour-ringed birds. This was one of several sent to us recently by Colin Dalton of an old male ringed in 2013, regularly seen around Mallard


We also like to catch with a mist net when possible or with even more precise baiting of the traps when conditions dictate.
The general feeder for Millet postioned towards the far end of the 18m net ride


Karen having a closer look at feather wear on the Water Rail.



We returned to Mallard this morning with Andrew - 3 more new Reed Buntings colour-ringed.

Third Wheel have supplied us with our latest traps including the interesting 3 compartmental trap shown above.


See their website for further details if interested in various traps.
Wendy has also positioned a Whoosh Net below one of her hedgerows, a new venture using the same trap and methods as Chris uses at Mwnt for  his Linnet RAS study.


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Recoveries and controls 2018

As news of subsequent encounters of our birds arrive already for this year, a quick look back at some birds to and from the Group over the last year.

Some of the sites listed are included in the following map.


And this map shows some of our furthest recoveries including a Woodcock shot in Russia ringed on one of our wintering birds study farms near Crymych in the Preseli Hills.


The majority of these have been mentioned on the Blog at the time of receiving reports from the BTO. Some that we have received news of more recently include a Blackcap, ringed Teifi Marshes on the 28th August and caught in France at Tour Aux Moutons, Donges, Loire Atlantique on the 15th September, 18 days later. This is a site where several of our Sedge Warblers have been caught over the years including another two this August.
Charlie's sites in Carmarthenshire attract a lot of Siskins, 463 were ringed at the 2 sites last year with 7 of his birds subsequently encountered elsewhere including Scotland and he has caught 3 ringed by others. One ringed at Oxwich was caught at both of Charlie's sites which are 5km apart.  Some Lesser Redpoll movements too with one ringed at Crabtree Hill in Gloucestershire caught at Llanfynydd, one from Somerset to Fygyn Common and one from there caught in Sandwich Bay.


The Linnet recovery needs a mention again. Chris has been running a RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) for Linnets at Mwnt  since April 2016. 600 were ringed last year and he had the first Control caught on the 9th Feb and 13th Marsh 2018. It had been ringed on South Uist in the Western Isles in August 2017.


The table below is correct at the moment but it sometimes takes a while for the BTO to receive reports of recoveries from foreign schemes so the list will be updated as more come in on the link under Totals.

2018 Recoveries and Controls



Wednesday, 16 January 2019

A look back at 2018

Yesterday evening, the Group reviewed our year of ringing at the AGM. 
One of the 773 Sedge Warblers ringed in 2018
With the Group growing we have now had to move on from meeting in one of our homes. Thanks to The Grosvenor Hotel in Cardigan for the use of a room.

The totals for the year are now published on the blog
2018 totals

During the year we ringed 7,541 birds and re-encountered 2,362 making a total of 9,903.
Now that the group has moved on to DemOn for our data entry we are unable to produce the usual table of retraps and controls but will hopefully publish some of the most interesting controls soon.

We discussed the activities at the different sites used by the group. Some new species for the Group were caught this year at Fygyn Common, one of Charlie's sites.

 Cuckoo and Nightjar are species that we hope to study more in the coming years.


Charlie also had a good number of Redwing passing through his Llanfynydd site and with trainees ringed 277. Unfortunately one that he ringed in November 2017 was shot in Gironde, France November 2018 (745km).

We will continue to run our Constant Effort site at the Teifi Marshes as well as the four RAS projects  on Reed Warblers, Reed Buntings, Siskins and Linnets.
Sedge Warblers are once again our most frequently encountered bird on the Teifi Marshes with big catches as they pass through on migration in May and late July/August. We caught 11 that had been ringed elsewhere and 13 of our birds were caught by other ringers, mostly in Western France. Note in particular the bird that was controlled in Ireland by Irish Midlands Ringing Group. This recovery adds weight to our thoughts that the Teifi Marsh is a stopover site before the migration hop over the Irish Sea to breeding sites in Ireland.


We have been colour ringing Reed Buntings on the Teifi Marshes since 2014 to add to subsequent encounters of them for RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival). In 2018 we added 110 to the study population. We are grateful to the photographers who send us photos. The photo below is from Colin Dalton who has sent us many photos over the last few weeks.


At Mwnt, Chris continues the study on Linnets with 603 birds ringed. Some other species were caught at Mwnt too including Stonechat, Chough, Wheatear, Storm Petrels and a Magpie.


We only caught 7 Storm Petrels this year, one had been ringed on Bardsey Island in 2016.

On winter nights we continued our long term study on birds roosting on sheep pasture. We now have continuous data for these sites since 2008.
The most common bird encountered is Woodcock but other species are ringed too.


At the AGM we asked Group members which species would they most like to ring on our local sites. This will help us plan our activities this year. Skylark was a popular choice!!

We start a new year with an enthusiastic growing group comprising 18 members including 6 A ringers, 5 C ringers and trainees. Great to welcome Andy Turner to the Teifi Ringing Group.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Uganda - 2018 part 2

Uganda is a relatively small country and our three main sites are to the north of Lake Albert (Budongo and Nile Safari in Murchison) and to the south of the Lake (Sunbird Hill adjacent to Kibale), as you can see from the map all in the far west of the country.


Malcolm first ringed at Nile Safari in 1996. Great to catch a White-browed Robin-Chat that was ringed 7 years ago.
 

The Robin-chat above was perhaps our most significant retrap of the c30 recaptures during the trip.


Species ringed during the trip November 2018

 
LITTLE GREENBUL 34
WHITE THROATED GREENBUL 9
SPECTACLED WEAVER 3
YELLOW-STREAKED GREENBUL 2
RED-BILLED FIREFINCH 6
WILLOW WARBLER 10
GREEN TWINSPOT 5
BUFF-BELLIED WARBLER 2
SPECKLED MOUSEBIRD 2
RED-TAILED ANT-THRUSH 1
WHITE-BROWED ROBIN-CHAT 2
BROWN-CHESTED ALETHE 4
FIRE-CRESTED ALETHE 6
PYGMY KINGFISHER 13
DARK-CAPPED BULBUL 15
BLACK-HEADED GONOLEK 2
AFRICAN THRUSH 5
RED-TAILED BRISTLEBILL 2
PUVEL'S ILLADOPSIS 2
BROWN-EARED WOODPECKER 1
BROWN-CROWNED TCHAGRA 2
KLASS'S CUCKOO 2
BUFF-SPOTTED WOODPECKER 1
SNOWY-HEADED ROBIN-CHAT 3
NARINA'S TROGON 1
WESTERN NICATOR 1
VEILLOT'S BLACK WEAVER 6
WHITE-BROWED COUCAL 3
SCARLET-CHESTED SUNBIRD 5
GREEN-HEADED SUNBIRD 9
BRIMSTONE CANARY 1
RED-BELLIED FLYCATCHER 5
FOREST ROBIN 4
RED-THROATED BEE-EATER 19
GABON NIGHTJAR 1
BROWN ILLADOPSIS 2
GREEN HYLIA 4
BROWN TWINSPOT 3
REED WARBLER 6
AFRICAN PARADISE FLYCATCHER 1
GREEN-WINGED PYTILLA 1
GREY-THROATED FLYCATCHER 1
CARDINAL QUELEA 2
BROWN-THROATED WATTLE-EYE 2
YELLOW-RUMPED TINKERBIRD 2
RED-WINGED GREY WARBLER 1
LITTLE WEAVER 1
RATTLING CISTICOLA 2
OLIVE SUNBIRD 4
BRONZE SUNBIRD 5
WHITE-CHINNED PRINIA 7
GREEN CROMBEC 4
BLACK-BILLED WOOD-DOVE 1
SHIKRA 1
YELLOW-BILLED BARBET 1
TAMBOURINE DOVE 3
AFRICAN FIREFINCH 1
BLACK-CHEEKED WAXBILL 1
COPPER SUNBIRD 1
AFRICAN BLUE FLYCATCHER 1
BLACK-NECKED WEAVER 4
SLENDER-BILLED GREENBUL 1
RED-HEADED BLUEBILL 2
TORO OLIVE GREENBUL 1
GREY-HEADED NEGRETA 7
BLUE-SHOULDERED ROBIN-CHAT 1
COMPACT WEAVER 1
YELLOW WHITE-EYE 1
BROWN-BACKED SCRUB ROBIN 1
COMMON WAXBILL 1
BRONZE MANNIKIN 1
BLUE-SPOTTED WOOD-DOVE 1
BARN SWALLOW 3
STEPPE BUZZARD 1
GREY KESTREL 2
DARK CHANTING GOSHAWK 1
LONG-CRESTED EAGLE 1
LIZARD BUZZARD 2
WESTERN BANDED SNAKE-EAGLE 1
Total new birds ringed 363


Reed Warblers, Willow Warblers and Barn Swallows were the Palearctic migrant species caught.
Always interesting to see birds in moult - especially a species whose wing moult we don't see at home.


Reed Warbler in wing moult.


Barn Swallow in wing and body moult.

The smaller ring sizes we use in Africa, the Porzana range supplemented with rings sourced elsewhere


 A good start at Sunbird Hill involved 90 birds including 5 species of  Greenbul !
 We had some retraps and a few new species for me, here a Toro Olive Greenbul.


Greenbul identification  in the hand, tricky for visiting birders !


Sunbird Hill is adjacent to Kibale Forest NP. This is Chimpanzee and Elephant forest, with the Gorillas a little way further into the mountains. We were based here for our final four days. Plenty of variety in the forest here...very different species from the lower drier grassland and scrub of  Murchison.


Bronze Sunbird - the largest Sunbird in the area and they loved feeding on the flowers around the camp.


 African Blue Flycatcher


This Narina Trogon caused a stir, not only a great species to see, but caused Malcolm to run when he saw the bird in a net !


This juvenile Blue-shouldered Robin-Chat was a surprise too. They breed in the nearby Kibale NP but this juvenile providing breeding evidence for breeding at Sunbird Hill.


This Brown-backed Scrub Robin a highlight too.


Yellow White-eye, common in the mixed flocks.

Guides from the locality and Kibale NP always showed fascination and a hunger to learn.


Julia Lloyd is developing Sunbird Hill as a base camp for further studies. A couple of the locals have limited ringing experience, most are excellent local guides, both for birds and Chimpanzee tracking.



Malcolm is planning further ringing training visits with the objective of Sunbird Hill becoming a regular ringing site with local trained staff becoming part of the East Africa Ringing Scheme.

Julia is  developing accommodation and facilities to encourage visiting by other birding and ringing parties.


The communal area


The site has recently taken part in the Uganda Big Day - the Sunbird Hill team recording 152 species, the highest and winning total for a non National Park based team

See these links for  more about  Sunbird Hill     
                            and    Diary of a Muzungu


A couple of fine biting beaks, Yellow-billed Barbet - the largest of the Barbets and Tinkerbirds we caught.


Compact Weaver, of the c100 species captured the only species Malcolm hadn't ringed.



The  trip focused on the 4 ringing sites and we did have some opportunity for raptors.


This an adult Long-crested Eagle caught on an afternoon break whilst at Sunbird Hill


Many thanks to all on the trip, Graeme Dunlop provided the ringing totals above, photos from Graeme, Natasha, Roly, Malcolm or myself. Malcolm and Ambrose provided the local expertise and the driving.
Another stunning visit to Africa, many animals and birds seen, great hospitality from our hosts and  fun with all the enthusiastic guides, local trainees and staff from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Nature Uganda and staff from Sunbird Hill Kibale Forest Edge.


Dawn at Nile Safari...... with the next team we visit South Africa with Malcolm in February

Friday, 7 December 2018

Uganda - 2018

Wendy, Dawn and I made a very successful ringing trip to Uganda 6 years ago and experienced a once in a life time visit to see the Mountain Gorillas.
See several posts about the trip in February 2012

Shoebill - photo Graeme Dunlop

I have just returned from another ringing based visit with Malcolm Wilson of African Affinity.
Team members also included Graeme Dunlop, Natasha Stonestreet  from the Cuckmere Haven RG, along with their birding guest Roly Hayes, and our local guide and trainee ringer Ambrose. One objective of this trip was  to introduce ringing and some training of local staff, and we also birded along the Nile to help assess wildlife guides.

A visit during "our northern winter" gives us the opportunities to see our summer migrants on their wintering grounds. Below a Barn Swallow in moult, a stage we don't see in the UK.


Reed Warblers too - more photos in a following post. - as there will be on most subjects that follow.


On these trips we have the opportunity to use different catching methods. In Africa we use bal chatri traps to catch raptors, here a Western Banded Snake-Eagle being photographed as part of wing moult and ageing study.


On arrival we stayed as is customary at Kathy's magic garden in Kampala, a chance to acclimatise and a first introduction to African bird families. Here a Black-headed Gonolek one of the vocal garden birds.


A male Olive-bellied Sunbird, one of  14 Sunbird species that visit the garden


Coucals are related to Cuckoos and they are nice large birds for ringers new to Africa. You are more likely to handle larger birds in Africa than at home in general site ringing. These are White-browed Coucals.


We moved on from Kathy's after two days to one of our major study sites - Budongo Forest.
As well as continuing to monitor species here we had three days of introduction and in some cases developing existing training with staff of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Nature Uganda and a few students eg Judith Mirembe who is doing her PhD studying aspects of Shoebill biology.

The Budongo team .....


At Kaniyo Pabidi we had the chance to study Puvel's Illiadopsis at it's only known site in Uganda


This is a west / central African species and is one several species whose distribution enter east Africa only in this region of Uganda.

Interested discussion and learning with these two species, the lower bird is a Red-tailed Ant-thrush, the upper bird Rufous Flycatcher-Thrush.


Very similar plumages in these individuals and much discussion in separation of the species in hand, including the value of measuring the tarsus width.

Moving north...
The mighty Murchison Falls...and Rock Pratincoles.





On our afternoon travels we did take the opportunity to ring some Red-throated Bee-eaters at one of several roadside colonies


Here Lilian from Nature Uganda processing a Red-throated Bee-eater.


Our next site was again a return visit for me to Nile Safari Lodge. Here we were joined with guides and staff mainly from Wild Frontiers, to watch us ring over the three days and for Malcolm to assess their guiding from boats on the Nile.



A taste of birds here - again more to follow....


Brown-throated Wattleye, named after the plumage of the female as the plumage of the males in these related species are too similar.

I plan to post more photos and further discussion soon.