Sunday, 22 May 2016

CES 3...Garden Warblers to Pied Flycatcher

Garden Warbler X769673 - the star bird today.....or was it ??


One of  3 retrap and 1 new Garden Warblers, X769673 was ringed as an adult female on 31st May 2009, making her at least 8 years old. We last recorded this female breeding in July 2014.

 X769942, a Reed Warbler was also ringed as an adult in 2009, and this is the 5th year in which we have caught this male during the following 7 years.  Lots of site fidelity and adult recapture data from the 30 retraps at CES 3 today, but also what must be thought of as a small fall...


This second year male Pied Flycatcher was also a star after the 4am rain. The fall included 29  new Sedge Warblers, 8 new Reed Warblers and 2 Willow Warblers across both the CES site and the Pentood nets. These nets are across the other side of the marsh. (distance beyond that required ref. CES protocol).
The Reed Warblers may remain to breed as we are at the western edge of their range, most of the Sedge Warblers were still carrying fat suggesting a distance to travel...

Almost as unexpected was this Grasshopper Warbler on the CES site.


Difficult to believe but the Pied Flycatcher was the 1st non pulli Pied Flycatcher to be ringed by the Group, and a first for the Teifi Marsh sites.  Other highlights today included a new adult male Kingfisher, 2 retrap Cetti's Warblers, and we colour-ringed another Reed Bunting.

To finish today's activities, the Group's 1st juvenile Siskins of the year in Wendy's garden this afternoon.

(all photos Charlie Sargent, except the Siskin-Wendy)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

More exciting than French....an Irish Sedge Warbler

We have been wondering where all our Sedge Warblers go.
The breeding bird atlases show a high breeding density of Sedge Warblers in the bogs of central Ireland and we have been wondering......

(Photo by Dean, a new member of the Group)

We have several recoveries of birds migrating south...or returning north. These mainly involve movements to the west coast of France and to the marshes of Spain..
.....and with a bird to Senegal.


This Spring, our first recovery of a bird originally ringed in Ireland and now on its Spring migration back across the Irish Sea we presume.  X720412 was ringed as an adult in June 2015 on Great Saltee Island, Wexford. It was retrapped by us this week on the Teifi Marsh.


Other UK and controls of Sedge Warblers this Spring, (this week !!) now number 1 Belgian, 7 French (Museum Paris on the ring)


and four ringed elsewhere in the UK. One we caught on the Teifi Marsh last weekend was ringed by Steve Dodds on Cors Ddyga, Anglesey as a juvenile on its autumn migration in August 2014.

Reed Warblers are now returning. We retrapped three of our returning adults today, hopefully a few more in the morning. Our Reed Warbler RAS project is underway for a further season.
(RAS- Retrap Adults for Survival)

Monday, 2 May 2016

120 Sedge Warblers -- what a start to Spring

Early days this Spring in the Mallard area of the reed bed on the Teifi Marshes Reserve...our home !!
We have now caught 114 new Sedge Warblers...and a massive start. We have only caught 66 during April in the last 7 years, though we can catch c200 each May.


We have also captured 3 French, 1 Belgian and 2 UK controls this April.
So far none or our previous years birds have been captured. Reed Warblers are slow to arrive with just 2 captures, 1 a new bird and 1 retrap from 2014, also retrapped last May. One recent Spring, the first 10 Reed Warblers captured were all recaptures of "our birds" of previous years.

Gower Ringing Group have captured one of our 2011 Reed Warblers - though perhaps should be considered theirs....Oxwich Marsh 30th April 2016: Return of the Reed Warblers



A view from the front of Mallard pond towards net Aqua 1
.....which has of course caught Aquatic Warbler ...!!!

No chance of opening the nets this morning in a strong south westerly but weather looks better for our first CES tomorrow. 12 conservation students from Writtle College in Essex will be joining us.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Lovely Linnets....our next RAS ?

Following some great planning and long term feeding by Chris, we have...now captured 89 Linnets in recent sessions at Mwnt, with 9 retraps.


Today we captured 43, including 5 retraps. Nice to catch a female Stonechat too.

Chris's Whoosh nets, with which he caught many Twite and Brambling in NE Scotland, have proved ideal for our Mwnt Linnets.  A great training exercise for Group members, as is the use of Spring Traps we use for Wheatears, Stonechats and Pipits.

Extracting Linnets from the net placed on the hillside below the Gorse.

Ringing at Mwnt, from the comfort of the back of Chris's 4WD this morning...


We hope to be back on the Teifi Marsh tomorrow at Mallard, with CES to follow when the weather allows.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

France, Belgium..now the Teifi !

A wander around the marsh yesterday evening suggested that with the northerly wind dropping and the clear sky our migrants, particularly Sedge Warblers could appear in the morning.


Some did....The first bird I extracted was wearing a Belgian ring. Chris ringing on the other side of the marsh, messaged with news of a French ringed Sedge Warbler. By 8am the wind picked up and we packed up at the Mallard nets, with 11 new and 1 control Sedge Warbler, 2 retrap Reed Buntings, one of which needed colour ringing for our RAS project ...


and a retrap Cetti's Warbler ringed in 2012.

Over the other side of the marsh,  Chris caught 23 birds in the Pentood nets, including a second French ringed Sedge Warbler, 7 new Sedge Warblers, a retrap Cetti's Warbler, 5 Willow Warblers and also a retrap Reed Bunting needing colour rings. The highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler, the 28th for the group since 2009 but only the 4th Spring bird.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Back to the reed bed...

With at least once daily visits to the Teifi Marsh we knew when to start our Spring migration ringing after seeing the first White Wagtails coming to roost and hearing the first Sedge Warblers so on Monday evening our nets were back up around Mallard pond.
The first White Wagtails of spring were ringed that night. Over 100 came to roost in the reedbed. A total of 35 have been ringed this week.


The following morning (Tuesday) there were a lot of Sedge Warblers singing and 8 were ringed


Wednesday morning was very different. The morning dawned with a hard frost and once it warmed up just 2 Sedge Warblers were ringed and the dawn chorus was quieter as the migrants had moved on. Importantly though, between the Mallard nets and those over on Pentood Marsh, 5 retrap Cetti's were caught. The oldest was ringed in 2012. They seem to have had a good breeding season and winter as at least 6 dominant territorial singing males can be heard on a circuit of the marsh.

This is a control Cetti's Warbler from Hampshire that we caught 2 years ago


The reedbeds are looking good ready for the return of our breeding Sedge and Reed Warblers. Reed Buntings are singing from their territories


We haven't just been in the reed bed. On Thursday we had another visit to Mwnt to catch Linnets in a Whoosh net. A successful day with 30 Linnets ringed and 2 retraps.


We were ready with the springtraps too to catch Wheatear but despite a few hundred being recorded on the islands the day before not one was at Mwnt.


Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Bluethroat at the Bill

The highlight of a terrific trip to Portland Bird Observatory  was this fine young male White-spotted Bluethroat


Caught and ringed on the Saturday of our long weekend of ringing and birding.


This was our 5th Group visit to Portland Bird Obs. We arrived on the Bill via a Hoopoe and quickly got into some afternoon, mainly Phyllosc, ringing.

When the rains came on Friday, we left the Obs and went up the Fleet a few miles for a delightful Pallas's Warbler, rainproofs required but excellent views with patience.



As the rain cleared we returned via Ferrybridge and saw both Little and Sandwich Terns, and a surprise to find a distant Great Northern Diver.


With the weather improved there was a chance to open the nets for a while. A few birds to end the day including one of two Firecrest that we caught 

and a male Redstart.


The weather was much better on Saturday and we ringed 76 birds.

We managed to find time, taking turns for the four of us to catch up with the male Subalpine Warbler in scrub along the cliffs.

Now a summary of the weekends ringing....

Blackcaps were the most numerous species caught with 92 ringed. This one had obviously been recently feeding on Citrus trees on its migration.


Willow Warblers came second with 69 which is more than we ring in most years around the Teifi. Chiffchaffs were the third with 38 ringed. Other species included 7 Redstart, 7 Goldfinch, 7 Linnet, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, the first of the Spring, and 2 Robins.


Two Short-eared Owls  in off the sea......a great finale for our weekend of Spring migration.

Many thanks to Martin Cade and Peter Morgan for the warm welcome as always.
(Richard, Chris, Wendy and Andrew)