Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Scottish Siskin to Wales...

A Siskin caught in my garden on the 6th January was ringed on 12th October 2015 in Killearn, Stirling. 441km, 86 days. This is the furthest movement north as the map showing our other Siskin controls and recoveries demonstrates.
Credit to the BTO for such quick news about recoveries now.
Siskins leave us in June/July and don't start reappear until January so we are adding to the picture of where they go.

Looking back at last year, our blog at the same time was also about Siskins.
Siskins.. wandering residents, breeders and RAS

An update from that blog about RAS - enough adults were retrapped in Richard's garden during the breeding season to make a viable RAS.

Once again in early January we are starting to see an increase in Siskins on the feeders and on the rare occasions that the weather is OK to open a net we are starting to catch more including some from previous years.
Other birds caught this month include an increasing number of Goldfinch, a couple of Lesser Redpolls and a bird not often caught in my garden, a Treecreeper (and yes, that is a photo in January taken on the 13th with daffodils already out!)

Our lamping has slowed down while the moon is bright but this month we have ringed Woodcock, Skylark and Fieldfare. Very few Golden Plover have been seen - on fields where we would normally see around 50 we have been struggling to find one or two. Maybe this cold weather will cause some movement to us.

Have a look back at our year of ringing with 2015 totals and 2015 recoveries and controls now added on the right side of the blog.



Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Frank....the final Woodcock

Or Frankie....our final Woodcock of 2015.


Not our busiest pre-Christmas Woodcock ringing, hopefully with the predicted change in the weather we may find a few more...
Frank was only the third Woodcock to be captured in this field at our Blaeneifed site. It is usually our best field for Golden Plover but none there tonight.

(photos and map by Wendy)


We have been asked to collect dislodged feathers as we process to be used to support biometrics to confirm sexing. A study in Denmark has shown a bias towards females wintering in their study area.
Is this related to different sexes wintering in different areas or are more males shot on the breeding grounds producing a sex bias between adults across the wintering range ? Due to the breeding strategy of the females, does having less males actually affect breeding success......?
Woodcock in the winter....something exciting to do in the dark...!!
Happy New Year...

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Woodcock in Haute-Saone, France

Woodcock EY33804 ....Was shot by hunters in Bassin de Champagney, Haute-Saone, on 20th December 2015. The most southerly Woodcock that we have had recovered.


Where was the likely breeding area for EY22804......?
Ringed as a second calendar year bird on 2nd Jan 2014 at our Boncath site in the Preseli Hills, North Pembs. Why didn't it return to West Wales ?
Numbers of wintering Woodcock are low at present, in fact none seen on four of our best fields at our Crymych site tonight - though under the moonlight.

The BTO Birdtrack graph suggests that fewer Woodcock have arrived in Britain from the continent.
If the mild wet winter continues presumably the Woodcock will not reach us in any number....?

We will certainly be out looking !


Thursday, 10 December 2015

One Woodcock....four seasons later

Woodcock EX94433...was ringed as a juvenile at 2300 on 27th December 2011 at our Crymych site.


At 2200.. EX94433 was the fourth Woodcock captured last night.
The first adult of the evening, and had been ringed 380m away in the adjacent field. This bird has not been caught since, and is one of c80 Woodcock ringed on this site in the past five winters.


You will have seen from previous posts that we use a geolocater in the field to enable us to record the exact ringing location. The red line indicates the distance between ringing (red) and recapture (yellow). The green line is our path last night.
We also carry IPMR (Integrated Population Monitoring Reporter) in the field, all 31,449 ringing records as an Excel spreadsheet...


Having access to ringing data in the field cemented our enthusiasm. We knew that EX....birds were "history", and we soon discovered that EX94433 was our best recapture, almost four years on !!

It was one of 9 Woodcock caught that night which we wrote about in "Blown away by 9/9!"


Four new Woodcock last night, one adult, three juvenile and the one recapture. One Meadow Pipit was also ringed. Crymych is one of our four main winter Woodcock survey sites on sheep pasture in North Pembrokeshire. It is our second highest at 170m and so far this winter is where we have seen the most Woodcock.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Garden by day and fields at night..

The windy weather continues, greatly limiting the opportunity to open mist nets. A brief respite allowed a session with our trainee, Ryan.
This was his first experience of garden ringing so two new species for him but common in the garden; Greenfinch and Great Spotted Woodpecker. A Blackcap caught was the second this week, the first was carrying a lot of fat and weighed a massive 22.3 g!
This was a new Great Spotted Woodpecker, the 21st in my garden since 2008. We also caught a retrap ringed 3 years ago and not seen since.
On Sunday there was an even shorter gap in the weather but it gave a chance for Mark, the Assistant Warden on Bardsey, to ring with us before his return the island. A Nuthatch was a new species in the hand for him - not many of those on Bardsey!

The windy weather does mean it is good for lamping. We have walked many miles in the last week but few birds caught in the continuing mild weather. Golden Plover numbers are increasing slowly at one of our sites.
We mostly catch young birds
 so it was good to compare with an adult

Woodcock numbers in our usually good fields are very low. Owen in Mid Wales has already caught over 100 but we have only caught four.
Many fields are still ungrazed with very lush and long wet grass and others have what seems to be a lot more sheep than usual. Hopefully numbers will increase soon.
This picture illustrates how good the fields can be with birds previously ringed or retrapped shown. During last nights walk shown of 3.5km we only saw 2 Woodcock.
Unusually, no Fieldfare were seen and just a couple of Skylark, one of which we caught.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Garden Fieldfare and news of controls..

Back in May we blogged about a Sedge Warbler we caught on the Teifi Marsh with a Spanish ring
May 13th 2015
Today we had news from the BTO that it was ringed at Getxo near Bilbao, Spain just 6 days before. A distance of 979 km although likely a much longer overland route up the west coast of France.


Other news was of a Siskin with a Brussels ring caught in my garden near Cardigan in February 2013. We have waited a long time for the original ringing details from the Brussels ringing scheme - ringed on 23rd April 2012 at De Haan, West -Vlaanderen.


A control Great Tit caught by Chris in St Dogmaels, during a noticeably large movement of Great Tits, was ringed as a pullus at Craig Alltyberau near Rhandirmwyn, Carmarthenshire.

Lastly a Reed Warbler ringed on 13th September at Oxwich by Gower Ringing Group was controlled by us on the Teifi Marsh 13 days later, a reverse migration NNW 65km. This was the last Reed Warbler we caught this year, 10 days after the previous one. Late and going the wrong way!

At the moment there isn't much news as due to persistent high winds and rain we have only been able to open mist nets occasionally. Woodcock are still not back in large numbers - on a 4km walk around one of our best farmland we saw only one.
With the colder spell last weekend an influx of thrushes into our gardens was noticed.
No chance of a net in the hail and wind and the Redwing and Fieldfares ate all the Hawthorn berries within 24 hours. The Fieldfare are now coming down to the remaining apples and a couple have been ringed.

If any one coming to the Pembrokeshire Bird Conference on Sunday would like to know more about ringing come to see one of us for a chat. We will be by the Skokholm Island display during breaks.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Wilson's Warbler - 5 winters faithful ?

16th November 2015, adult male Wilson's Warbler,... Costa Rica Highlands.
What a great looking bird, with an amazing deep yellow forehead.
We knew from the band that the bird was ringed at least a couple of years ago at a CRBO site. As good practice we photograph all our banding sheets, and hopefully Wendy, though back home in Wales, would be able to help. The conclusion from our records that the bird was banded in 2012 or earlier.
We band between 10 and 33 Wilson's Warbler in a season at Madre Selva. (33 my maximum  in 2014)
This species along with Black-throated Green Warbler, are by far the commonest wintering warblers in the Costa Rica Highlands, so great to prove a site faithful wintering bird.

A return call from the CRBO office both confirmed, and excelled our thoughts !
The bird was first banded on the 6th January 2011 as an adult male. This is the bird's 5th winter as a banded bird, and I guess that this male has likely been site faithful for those five winters or more..
I am still to research the longevity of these tiny 6-7g migrants...
Help with the answer please?

Slate-throated Redstart, another New World Warbler.
This is a resident of slightly lower elevations, and we catch about one per year. This bird our first this year and on our final day...

The track home...
.....from a  fourth year of fantastic banding trips to the Highlands of Costa Rica.

The first of the two Scaled Antpittas.....
The absolutely heart stopping bird of the trip....