Sunday, 26 June 2022

Totals, and the first juveniles appear

May ended with a Skokholm visit - more in a separate blog by Thom, on his first visit (see post below).... the re encounter of this Moltoni's Warbler was the highlight. The bird gave it's distinctive and diagnostic  call after release and a feather sample had been obtained previously.

Moltoni's Warbler

Ringing totals - these are year to date following a large DemOn entry over the past week, some from earlier in the year..

The ringing totals for the first 6 months of the year ringing are slightly lower than the average for the last 6 years. Looking through the species, our main projects eg RAS and targeted ringing eg Woodcock are often discussed on this blog through the year as the seasons provides ongoing results.

A few species in the table that are worthy of further comment

House Sparrow ...see link to Andy's RAS study 

House Sparrow RAS update 

Linnets...Chris is working at a new site on the north Pembs coast, currently in development as a  RAS study and showing good potential, with 170 ringed recently.

The whoosh net for Linnets in place

Other species have also been ringed at this cliff top location including a very young Skylark and an adult, Grasshopper Warbler, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits and Dunnocks

Reed Warblers... an ongoing RAS study

One of our most important species for the reserve, with a great history,  captures a bit low so far this season with 27 so far from previous years. Here is an example of a Reed Warbler's life history ....

Richard Donaghey, Causeway Coast Ringing Group wrote a report on the Reed Warbler in Northern Ireland back in 2018 (see link below) including the migration routes, ringing recoveries to/from Ireland & recoveries of NI Sedge Warblers. 4 years on, the Reed Warbler has continued to spread across Ireland. 

In the report a Teifi Marsh Reed Warbler is mentioned because the recovery was one of several that helped plot the migration routes.

"Reed Warbler P351137 has a fantastic life history and shows a clear migration route with a nice sequence of recoveries. It was originally ringed as a juvenile in August 2000 in Arklow, Wicklow before heading off to sub-Saharan Africa for the winter. It returned north via Portland Bill Bird Observatory, Dorset on the 3rdof June 2001 before being trapped once again two days later in south-west Wales at the Teifi Marshes. This wasn’t the end of the story as it was recaptured back at its breeding site in Arklow seven days later and was retrapped there on a number of occasions right up until the 12th of August. "

Reed ongoing RAS study

We are very grateful to photographers visiting the reserve who send us record shots of colour-ringed birds.

Reed Bunting 

This female Reed Bunting from Michael Davey was ringed in July 2019 as a juvenile and seen several times each year since, usually near Mallard hide

Sedge Warblers... 

Sedge Warbler

300 new this Spring. On the peak migration days, we encountered a bird ringed elsewhere every day for 3 days. Few Sedge Warblers actually breed on our site, many more Reed Warblers do. 

Willow Tit...records including colour-ringed birds still to be entered. There is ongoing potential for a RAS study by Arfon on Cors Caron. 


Kevin Henderson has joined the Group having moved to the Pen Caer peninsular. He is already ringing in his garden and he has plans to set up a couple of sites in his local area as well as joining other group activities.


Herring Gull 2PH 

Ringed 13/03/04 Stoke Orchard Landfill Site, Gloucestershire.

Seen frequently there until 2010 then

17/07/18 Nevern Estuary, Newport, Pembs by the late Sam Baxter (188 km, W, 14 yrs 126days)

06/06/22 Teifi Marshes on the river from Curlew Hide (175 km, W, 18 yrs 85 days)

Herring Gull 2PH

Reed Warbler ART6854

Ringed Oxwich Marsh, Swansea 12/09/2021 Gower Ringing Group

Subsequent encounter Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 16/06/2022 277 days 67km NNW

Lesser Redpoll AEK1127

Ringed  Cors Caron, Ceredigion 04/03/2022

Subsequent encounter  Crynant, Neath 12/06/2022 100 days 61km Gower Ringing Group

July brings us Storm Petrel ringing, the start of warbler migration, hirundine roost ringing as well as continuing our ringing projects. Usually this means increasing numbers of birds as this year's juveniles swell the population, and many of the juveniles are not from local populations - so hopefully plenty of activity for the group. 

Members of the group will also be visiting Skokholm Bird Observatory twice in July.

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Thursday, 23 June 2022

Skokholm trip 2022

On the 23rd of May, 7 members of the Teifi Ringing Group (and two honourary members) visited Skokholm. This was a first visiting the famous “Dream Island” for me.

The week started off with changeable weather, which would turn out to be the standard for the rest of the week. However the team persevered through the dodgy weather, and managed to push the heligolands every day, with a few days mist netting dispersed in between. This perseverance paid off with Spotted Flycatcher, Yellow Wagtail frequenting the stone walls one day on north plain, Garden Warbler and Yellowhammer (the first to be seen on Skokholm for eight years and only the second to be ringed in the last decade) caught. Movement of migrants through the island had stalled with low numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler observed or ringed daily.


Elsewhere rarities spotted on our time here included an Icterine Warbler skulking in the scrub near the hide at north pond. The star rarity of the week surely must have been Moltoni's Warbler (a first record for Wales), which made watchers work hard for the briefest glimpses in the small trees of the courtyard.

The Moltoni's Warbler attracted a small flock of twitchers to the courtyard,
only the third record of this rare phenomena on Skokholm in the last 10 years

Other activities included Puffin ringing on the neck (the catching likened by Miguel as more stressful than two hours of football penalties at the world cup) and ringing Manx Shearwaters each night between the farm and the lighthouse. Good numbers of shearwaters were processed (which made the midnight alarms a little less painful), with around 20 new birds per person ringed, with similar numbers of previously ringed birds recaptured. The oldest ringed shearwater we caught was a bird ringed previously in 2014.

One of the many ringed Shearwaters

Puffin ringing at The Neck

The moth trap provided morning entertainment most days with the bulk comprising of Pod Lover, Buff Ermine, White Ermine, Campion and Marbled Coronet. Occasionally joined by treats that are Star-wort, Common Swift and Buff Tip.

Buff Tip Moth

We are very grateful to wardens Richard and Giselle for taking us on a Storm Petrel walk to the quarry to see the amazing petrel station and the colony using infrared cameras, as well as welcoming us to their island. I would also like to thank Alan Wilkins for sharing his knowledge and research into petrel vocalisations, and the LTVs Megan and Lucy for sharing their Fulmar studies with us. 

The staff were busy conducting whole island seabird counts,
including the Fulmars. 

A classic Pembrokeshire sunset

Thomas Faulkner,  Teifi Ringing Group trainee

Friday, 20 May 2022

House Sparrow RAS update

I noticed the first juv. House Sparrows in the garden on the 27th of April and by the 2nd of May the first ones were carrying colour rings. The number of colour ringed juveniles has now reached 25 but the focus still remains on adult birds. 

Most brief ringing sessions at the moment have produced a couple of adult birds and an additional 26 have been colour ringed since the start of April. 19 of these birds were without a metal ring and 7 have been recaptures (5 ringed as 3's in 2020, 1 as a 2 in 2018 and 1 as a 2 in 2017). 

Comparing adult numbers in 2022 with (2021-entire season): new birds 19 (22), subsequent encounters 96 (100). The total number of new birds metal ringed in 2020 was 475 and in 2021 was 426 so the total of new 'adult' birds ringed during RAS is proportionately quite low in both of the subsequent years. In my mind there is no doubt that some of the un-ringed adult birds are of local origin and are individuals that have simply avoided being caught. I suspect that there is some 'infilling' from other areas over the late summer through to early autumn and perhaps early winter period but this is hard to prove at present as no other site is ringed locally. 



Monday, 16 May 2022

Late Spring ... and Sedge controls

Ringing in April and the first 2 weeks of May on the Marshes produced  273 Sedge Warblers and 25 Reed Warblers.
The peak arrival and passage was between the 2nd - 7th May and the peak catch of 79 Sedge Warblers was on the 7th.

Sedge Warbler

Three of the Sedge Warblers had been ringed elsewhere on their first autumn migration.

Ringed Gunwalloe, Cornwall 20/08/2021
Re-encountered Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 06/05/2022
277 days 230km N West Cornwall RG

Ringed  Owenahincha, Cork 03/09/2021
Re-encountered Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 05/05/2022
244 days 305km E Sam Bayley

Ringed Squire's Down, Dorset 14/08/2020
Re-encountered Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 02/05/2022
626 days 201km NW T Squire

All of these birds have been to Africa between ringing and re-encounter at the Teifi Marshes this May. We would still like to get more re encounters from Ireland, to support our thoughts on the origins of a high proportion of our passage birds.
Of the 25 Reed Warblers caught by May 14th, 13 had been ringed by us in previous years, the oldest was ringed in 2016. A good start to our RAS project. 

Reed Warbler

House Sparrows, more from Andy soon but his first 3JJ of the season was caught and ringed on the 2nd May.

This male Linnet was caught at Mallard Pond in a reed bed net. We don't ring many on the Teifi Marshes. Chris has now visited and whoosh netted successfully at a new site along the north Pembs coast. We hope this will develop into a RAS, though maybe not as productive as our previous Linnet RAS site at Mwnt. (Edit by Chris 17/5/22: 64 new birds and 1 recapture in 4 visits starting 21/4/22).


Whose feet are these?? 

... a Moorhen caught on the Teifi Marshes at the end of a Sedge Warbler passage morning.

With the main passage of Sedge Warblers and White Wagtails over, our migration monitoring with the Mallard Pond reed bed nets has now finished for the Spring. 

Rich D and Wendy J

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Returning update

Returning Warblers from April 9th to April 19th

The first Sedge Warbler was ringed on 13th April with another during the following week, we have now caught 8.

Sedge Warbler at Mallard pond

The first retrap Sedge Warbler from a previous year was originally ringed as an adult in May 2018 and seen again during the breeding season in 2019 and 2020 but not last year.

The first three Reed Warblers back, caught on 19th April were ringed in previous years, but two are amazing in the  lack of subsequent encounters..

S161817 ringed in August 2016 and not seen since

ABE2128 ringed May 2019 and seen in May 2020 and 21

AHA3217 ringed Aug 2017 and not seen since

Are these 2 or 3 birds site faithful stopover migrants ? We do have birds of some species that we suspect of this .... eg White Wagtails and Sedge Warblers. It is difficult to believe that during several breeding seasons we have missed these birds. We do ring quite regularly until July and intensively from July until October..

Other Warbler totals for 9-19th April 

Willow Warbler...22 new

Chiffchaff...12 new 

Blackcap.... 12 new

Grasshopper Warbler ... 2 new

Rich D and Wendy J

Friday, 8 April 2022

Spring arrivals and returns

Late March into early April is a time when we start to see returning birds from previous years. 

A Blackcap was re-encountered on the 30th March that had been ringed in July 2017 and also seen in 2018 and 2019.

Although we haven't caught any new Cetti's Warblers yet this year we have re-encountered 4 from last year.

Cetti's Warbler

Four returning Chiffchaff  so far. Various histories with us..
One ringed last August - re trapped at the same site this March. One ringed in December, still with us - or now returned from a very late winter break, it's wing suggested it had been to the sun 
Two more that were originally ringed in 2020.

The number of returning and site faithful birds to the end of March can be clearly seen in the following table 

Species where birds have been re-encountered from previous years

Old birds of note are the 10 year old Great Spotted Woodpecker, a 7 year old Great Tit and Long-tailed tits and a Dunnock ringed in 2016.

It is always nice to see that the reed cut by a local thatcher has taken place - a cut is planned each year but for various reasons sometimes the cut doesn't take place. The cut area not only provides totally fresh Phragmites, but whilst the new growth is short, feeding for waders, pipits and in particular White Wagtails. We hope for some evening pre roost action any day...

We have caught 3
Curlew and 1 Teal over two evenings in the fading light, experimental at this stage and maybe a colour ring project with the Curlew, considering their current national profile. 


Some of the group are involved in nest recording and their season of monitoring is underway with the first Dipper chicks of the year ringed this week. Andrew has been exploring his local bridges and has found several Dipper nests. 

Dipper nests and locations

News just received of some Starling movements from and to Andy's garden

LL86492 Ringed Bancyffordd, Carms 18/02/2020

                Ring read in the field  Haulerwijk, The Netherlands 05/03/2022

                746 days 728km E

26Z50958  Ringed Westmalle, Antwerpen, Belgium 09/11/2019

                   Re-encountered  Bancyffordd, Carms 14/12/2021

                   766 days 626km W

Reed Buntings  ....hoping to continue our good winter observations..

Reed Warblers. ...the first birds, usually recaptures are due back over the next week..

Willow Tits  .. an update from Arfon shortly 

Finally Andy's House Sparrow RAS...excellent results with 78 now  resighted .see the previous post for a further details... House Sparrow RAS 2022

Rich D and Wendy J

Sunday, 3 April 2022

House Sparrow RAS 2022

The 1st of April brought the start date for the second year of my House Sparrow RAS. With a good number of birds colour ringed in 2021, I successfully logged 35 different birds on the first morning for this year while having breakfast. Further observations over mid morning coffee took me up to 50 different birds and two further sessions on the 2nd of April took me up to 67 different individuals (40 male, 27 female). 

Despite my best effort last year, a reasonable number of 'older' birds still only have metal rings only and probably a similar number have no ring at all. The ideal situation would be to try to ring these birds but putting up mist nets in less than perfect conditions will mean high disturbance for low return as the birds will see the nets and simply avoid the garden. Walk in traps don't get used by adult birds in my garden so my best option is to focus on reading as many colour rings as possible while many birds are still coming to seed.  

N68 is a female that was ringed on the 22nd of February 2021. Being ringed in February, all that can be said about her is that she is from the 2020 breeding season or before.
40 of the birds sighted so far can be identified to a specific breeding season with the remaining being as N68. 33 of the birds sighted are over a year old. The majority of the remaining birds are known to be from the 2021 breeding season so technically speaking they are birds that have simply survived their first winter; many will of course breed this year. The oldest bird is known to be from the 2016 breeding season or before. Over time it should be possible to increase the proportion of specifically aged birds.

At this stage of the season many pairs in the garden are still in the process of nest building while adult birds that have lost their mate are trying to pair up or find a different nesting site. P05 (male from 2018 or earlier) seems to have lost his mate N90 (female from 2018 or earlier) and has moved to a new site. The box that he is clearing out was initially used by N01 (male) and N25 (female) last year and then by an unknown male and N25 for a later brood. Both N01 and N25 have not been seen for some time and the unknown male could not have been P05 so he may also have disappeared. Last year I noted that most of the early nesting attempts were made by incumbent adults with the offspring from the previous season mainly pairing and making nesting attempts later in the year.

The above female is not ringed. Most females have a bill colour that is dark brown containing varying amounts of dark buff-yellow/brown towards the base and in the lower mandible. This particular bird stands out amongst other females having a bill colour that is similar to a breeding season male.