Friday 8 December 2023

Early winter - update

Now that the 2022 ringing stats have been published by the BTO, a look at some of the numbers for WALES

20 % of all new Reed Warblers

40% of all new Sedge Warblers

50% of all new Reed Buntings

... in WALES were ringed by the TRG...mostly on the Teifi Marshes. The importance of this cross county site for population studies is immense. 

91% of all new Linnets in Wales were ringed at Chris's Whoosh net RAS study site.

26% of all new House Sparrows in Wales were ringed at Andy's RAS study site

With the REEWA,  REEBU,  LINNE and HOUSP RAS projects and the colour- ringing of REEBUS and HOUSP...

Quite an achievement...👍

Online Ringing and Nest Recording Report Robinson, R.A., Leech, D.I. & Clark, J.A. (2023) The Online Demography Report: bird ringing and nest recording in Britain & Ireland in 2022. BTO, Thetford

A few pieces to update our results whilst some of us have been away...

Controls and movements....

During a short session in Wendy's Llechryd garden to sort nets after being away, a Goldfinch with a French ring was caught.

Goldfinch 8647938
Ringed Vienne, France 17/02/2023
Re-encountered Llechryd, Ceredigion 01/12/2023 287 days 743km NNW

Goldcrest PPN133
Ringed Teifi Marshes, Pembs 15/10/2023
Re-encountered by John Hayes, Pembs RG at St Twynnells, 25/10/2023 10 days 54km SSW

Sedge Warbler 9807521
Ringed Donges, Loire Atlantique, France 20/08/2022
Re-encountered Cors Caron, Ceredigion 25/06/2023 309 days 565 km NNW

Sedge Warbler BBB2276
Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 14/08/2023
Re-encountered at Nanjizal, Lands End, Cornwall 12/09/2023    236km SSW Kester Wilson

Sedge Warbler AAZ7550
Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 19/07/2023
Re-encountered   Skokholm Island, Pembs 23/07/2023 4 days 62km SW

Sedge Warbler movements

Storm Petrel 2739430
Ringed  Strumble Head, Pembs 19/07/2023
Re-encountered   Bardsey Island, Gwynedd 16/08/2023 28 days 86km NNE

Storm Petrel 2739409
Ringed Strumble Head, Pembs 17/07/2023
Re-encountered Skokholm Island, Pembs 07/08/2023 21 days 40km SSW  This was for the second time as it had already been re-encountered there on the 19th July, 2 days after being ringed at Strumble

Weather continues to hamper our ringing efforts. A couple of small Redwing roost catches this month has increased our total since their return to 149 including 1 retrap from a previous year, 1 same year retrap and a control from Holland.

Thanks to Nathan and the Thursday work party on the Teifi Marshes for some management work in our net rides. 

On a tidying up session this week we caught the first December Firecrest and only the 6th December Chiffchaff

Andy's total of 108 Greenfinch  since the beginning of September is very impressive and maybe showing signs of an increasing local population, or maybe of migrants ..... 

The fields are saturated but Arfon has had success on a few nights of lamping, teaching two of our trainees new skills

3 retrap Woodcock from last year and 39 new plus 11 Golden Plover and a Snipe.

With a favourable moon we hope to visit  4  more nightime survey and lamping sites over the next 10 days. Day time ringing when ever the weather allows.

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Thursday 28 September 2023

Firecrests, Redwings and recoveries

October started  with 2 Firecrests on the Teifi Marshes. This added to the good start for autumn at Ty Rhyg plantation where 4 Firecrests were ringed last month.

On Saturday 7th October, the east coast saw a big arrival of migrants, in particular, thousands of Redwing. They soon moved on and within a couple of days an increasing number were being counted in Wales. 

In Wendy's young woodland in Llechryd, 15 were ringed that morning and one was caught with a Brussels ring. 

Also this week, a Redwing was retrapped in the same net as last October.

Considering the number of Redwing passing through at the moment it was quite a surprise to retrap one a year later, a site faithful migrant.

Brussels 10X89020

Details have been submitted and ringing details are awaited.

A look at Group totals for the 6 weeks from the beginning of September to the 11th Ocotber

To add some context, the Manx Shearwaters ringed had been rescued on land after a storm and ringed before release. Some at the Ocean Lab at Goodwick thank to Cliff Benson and staff and some that had been grounded at Newgale, ringed by Alison. 

Chris continued his work with Linnets, ringing another 110. 

On a couple of days when the weather wasn't suitable for mist nets, we took some spring traps to the estuary for some trainees to have the opportunity to learn about catching Pipits. Rock Pipits and Meadow Pipits were ringed. 23 of the Meadow Pipits in the list were ringed by Karen and Alison on Dinas Mountain.

Several reports recently from the BTO of birds subsequently encountered...

Chiffchaff  NCC983

Ringed Teifi Marshes, Pembs 28/08/2023

Re-encountered Portland Bird Observatory, Dorset   23/09/2023    26 days, 232km SE

Blackcap  ATF5280

Ringed Hollesley Heath, Suffolk 12/09/2022

Re-encountered  St Nicholas, Pembs 23/09/2023 376 days 445km W

Sedge Warbler  AE65577

Ringed Essex Farm, Alderney 23/04/2023

Re-encountered   Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 01/05/2023 8 days 316km NNW

Robin   AEK1173

Ringed Cors Caron, Ceredigion 28/05/2022

Re-encountered    Gibraltar Point, Lincs 07/10/2023 497 days 303km ENE

Movements of the above birds

Late October ringing becomes even more weather dependant and with the ever shortening days... often tricky. 
When weather allows we plan to have sessions on the Teifi Marshes (Teifi P). Redwings, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs to start the early sessions followed by a variety of species in the nets.

(Wendy J and Rich D)

Wednesday 27 September 2023

Colour ringed waders and late summer

Re-sighting colour rings is an important part of the ringing scheme. Around the Teifi there are few opportunities to see waders close enough to record the rings as waders are often flushed or too distant. The higher tides push birds onto the sand in front of the Teifi Waterside Hotel, Pembs and Patch on the Ceredigion side of the estuary. Hannah and Liz have spent hours there recently with great results.

A Common Greenshank ringed in Norway on passage at Revtangen Ornithological Station  on 6th August 2023

Resighted Teifi Estuary 19th August 2023  978km 13 days

This was a very brief stop over for this Greenshank on what seems a speedy journey south.

This Ringed Plover was ringed on 20/08/2023 in a mid afternoon catch at Llanfairfechan, North Wales. Liz photographed it on the Teifi less than 24 hours later.

Thanks to Steve Dodd for the quick reply. he commented that also of note it was in active wing moult, so was surprised it has moved on.

During July and August we were ringing whenever conditions allowed, but it was a wet and windy spell so numbers were down this year. Also partly due to reduced effort with several of the A ringers away at peak migration times. 

The chart excludes some of the commoner resident birds.

50 Storm Petrel in July and August was pleasing making a total of 59 new and 7 re-encounters this year. 180 Linnets were added to the Linnet RAS. If you missed the last blog about the Linnet RAS that Chris has started on the coast near Moylegrove here is the link
Linnet RAS 2022/2023

With favourable conditions for teaching lamping for a few days this month we successfully caught 10 Ringed Plover and 6 Dunlin on Poppit beach. 

White Wagtails pass through the Teifi Marshes on spring migration. 44 were ringed this spring. One ringed on the first session was re-encountered in Iceland 135 days later

AAZ6729 Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 04/04/2023

Re-encountered  Laugarvatn, Arnes, Iceland 17/08/2023    135 days 1639km NNW

Other recoveries

Sedge Warbler  AHV3403

Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 28/08/2022

Subsequently encountered Llangorse Lake, Powys 07/08/2023 344 days 98km ESE

Reed Warbler AAZ757
Ringed  Teifi Marshes, Pembs 21/07/2023

Re-encountered  Litlington, East Sussex 25/08/2023 35 days 363km ESE

(Wendy J and Rich D)

Thursday 31 August 2023

Linnet RAS 2022 / 2023

We had to abandon our Retrapping Adults for Survival project for Linnets at Mwnt in 2019 as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent surge in 'staycationing' making continued operation of the site impossible.

In 2022 we were lucky to find a much more secluded site on the Pembrokeshire coast between Cemaes Head and Newport, along with a sympathetic and supportive landowner. We started ringing Linnets there to see if it would support a replacement RAS project.

It soon became obvious that the potential was there. By the end of August 2022 we had ringed 137 breeding adults (80 male, 57 female) and 310 juveniles, using a single whoosh net baited with rape-seed. September and October bought a further 183 captures (of which only 10 were adults) these probably mostly either dispersing or passage birds moving south.

The first Linnets arrived back on their breeding territories in good numbers by the 3rd week of March 2023, and by the end of May over 50 birds ringed in 2022 had been re-captured, at which point it was obvious that registration as a RAS project was more than justified, backdated to the start of ringing in April 2022.

The 2023 RAS breeding season officially finished today, by which time we had recaptured 77 of the birds ringed in 2022 (42 male, 35 female), and ringed a further 159 breeding adults (86 male, 73 female) and 371 juveniles. This suggests that the minimum breeding population within foraging distance of our catching site is 128 pairs, assuming 100% capture - which is of course not likely.

Many, many thanks are due to our hosts Gill and Roger, and to all the ringers, both Teifi-based and visitors, who have helped with this effort so far.  I might add that three dedicated ringers, Wendy and Alison from Teifi, and most recently Wayne from Gower Ringing Group have earned their own whoosh-netting licenses as a result of their involvement with with the projects here and at Mwnt.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

A Summer of Warblers and Petrels

Reed Warbler update..

Adult re-encounters on the Teifi Marshes have slowly increased towards the expected number of returning birds. 163 juveniles have been ringed so far this season. Migration is underway demonstrated by a juvenile Reed Warbler being re-encountered by Gower Ringing Group

Reed Warbler AAZ7527 Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 11/07/2023

Re-encountered Oxwich Marsh, Swansea 06/08/2023 26 days 67km SSE Gower RG

Sedge Warbler passage through the Teifi Marshes is quieter than historically but different weather conditions play a big part. No easterlies in particular make a difference. 141 have been ringed since the beginning of July.

Details of a third French ringed bird

Sedge Warbler 9583589
Ringed Mars-Ouest, Loire Atlantique 06/08/2022
Re-encountered Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 25/07/2023 353 days 592km NNW

Storm Petrel update..

At our two sites of Strumble Head and Mwnt, 68 Storm Petrels have been ringed this summer, 7 caught that had been ringed elsewhere, one ringed at Strumble was subsequently encountered on Skokholm Island and another Strumble bird was re-encountered on Bardsey Island 14 days later.

Setting up the net at Strumble Head

Ringing details of five of the controls were quickly received and we are still waiting for two ...

2775049 Lundy Island, Devon 17/07/2023 Strumble Head, Pembs 25/07/2023 8 days  101km NNW

2765698 Lundy Island, Devon 16/07/2023 Strumble Head, Pembs 26/07/2023 10 days 97km NNW

2765661 Lundy Island, Devon 13/07/2023 Strumble Head, Pembs 20/07/2023 7 days 95km NNW

2773183 Bardsey Island, Gwynedd 28/07/2022 Strumble Head, Pembs 18/07/2023 355 days 86km SSW

2739409 Strumble Head, Pembs 17/07/2023 Skokholm Island, Pembs 19/07/2023 2 days 40km SSW

2739445 Strumble Head, Pembs     16/07/2023     Bardsey Island, Gwynedd   09/08/2023 14 days 84km NNE

News received this month of a young Kingfisher that was ringed on the Teifi Marshes last year and found dead on the side of the lake 34km away this July

2022 was a good year for Kingfisher breeding on the Teifi Marshes with photographers on the reserve recording several juveniles together 

Juvenile Kingfishers - Stuart Hall

Kingfisher SA04942

Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 07/06/2022

Found dead by a member of the public at Ciliau Aeron near Lampeter 20/07/2023 408 days 34km

Away from the Teifi, several TRG sites are very active including Ty Rhyg plantation, St Nicholas Common near Fishguard and various gardens including Wendy's garden CES which is nearly finished for the season. Updates on these over the coming months.

(Wendy J and Rich D)

Saturday 15 July 2023

Breeding bird studies....

During ongoing Linnet and House Sparrow RAS (retrapping Adults for Survival) studies we are seeing returning adults amongst the many juveniles. This early in the season it is difficult to analyse as most adults are on second broods. Chris and Andy will summarise later in the season.

Coastal habitat at the North Pembs Linnet RAS site

A juvenile (3JP) Reed Warbler  ringed on the 6th June was the earliest date for us by 12 days. By the 14th of July we have ringed 56 juvenile birds presume most fledged on the Teifi Marshes, our RAS study site now in its 9th year. We have fewer returning ringed adults at this stage of the season but we are still encountering new ringed adults for RAS and a surprising number of unringed adults. 

Our first juvenile Sedge Warblers were caught on the 28th June.

The Teifi Marshes Reed Bunting RAS and colour ringing is continuing into its 12th year, and our RAS season for this species continues until 30th September. As with all our RAS studies, a small summary in a forthcoming post.

New photographers on the reserve are coming on board with looking for colour rings and reporting them to us. This one that was ringed in 2017 and  sent to us recently.

Pied Flycatchers

In Pengelli Forest North Pembs, out of fifty boxes, five were used by Pied Flycatchers. Five adult females and thirty pulli were ringed and all fledged. All figures from this year's work are very high by recent years. Occupancy, eggs laid, v low infertility and high fledging rate.

Pied Flycatchers in Ffynone

Pied Flycatchers were first proved to breed in Pembs in 1979 in Ffynone where they still breed. In Ffynone wood, only four boxes put up by a local school several years ago remain. One near the waterfall was used this year by Pied Flycatchers and 5 young fledged.

Pengelli is owned by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and has a nest box scheme primarily for Pied Flycathers which started in the early 1980's.

In the years 1984-1987 average box occupancy by Pied Flys was  11.5 pairs p a  (range 8 -14 pairs).  This level was not maintained for long.

When the TRG took over monitoring on behalf of WTSWW in 2011 occupancy was 3/4 pairs and from 0 to 21 pulli ringed in each year until this year (30  pulli ringed and fledged). 

Reasons for a more successful 2023 breeding season may be easier to understand next year. Return rate of  "Pengelli' adults and weather / food availabilty.  Historical Pengelli data from Nathan Walton (WTSWW)

Of boxes in the Gwaun Valley (PCNP) only two box were used and 11 fledged.

Rheidol Valley woods (WTSWW) 
No change in Pied Flycatcher box uptake at Coed Simdde Llwyd, but attempts were down at Pant Da (10 attempts compared to 15 in 2022).
Unusual loss of young during chick stage, with some broods only fledging 3, 4, or 5 chicks when the average is 6/7.  Luckily, only two nests were totally lost and this was due to predation; one unknown predator, and one woodpecker (judging by the size of the hole!) One adult male found dead in the same box a great tit was found dead in the week before – but no sign of nesting!
Across the two woodlands all broods were ringed, (91 young), 6 new males, 9 new females, and one female control from Lake Vyrnwy!
Coed Simdde; 35 fledged from 53 eggs laid. Pant Da; 56 fledged from 61 eggs laid. (Naomi Davis)

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Friday 14 July 2023

Extra curricular summer activities

For the early summer, I have been extremely fortunate to be welcomed on various projects around Wales and England hosted by some wonderful ringing groups.

Pied Flycatchers pulli

I joined Dave Anning and Ceri Jones to their local sites in Llanidloes and the Centre for Alternative Technology, to ring my first passerine pulli.

Species encountered included Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit and of course Pied Flycatchers.

Two visits to each site were made and nest box occupancy was generally similar to previous years, however the number of surviving chicks were 2-3 fewer per boxes than expected (possibly attributed to the low numbers of flying insects observed this year).

Comparison of Male and female Nuthatch. 

Portland breakwaters Gull ringing project

Each year the breakwaters  sheltering the waters of Portland Harbour, are visited by the Portland breakwaters ringing group to colour ring Herring and Great Black-backed Gull pulli.

The breakwaters had a distinct Greek island feel to it with intense heat, pale limestone and drought resistant vegetation (which made making finding the gulls tricky).

Active measures are being undertaken to preserve the breeding colonies. Avian influenza is a primary concern, and to minimise risk biosecurity measures were undertaken. These included wearing sterile overalls and disinfecting footwear.

The breakwaters were constructed during Napoleonic times and host incredible military fortifications not normally accessible to the public.

Around 30-40 gulls were ringed over 7 hours of searching the whole length of the breakwaters.

Mid Wales Barn Owl Group

The Mid Wales Barn Owl Group monitor Barn Owl nest sites, and work with landowners to provide new nesting opportunities for the species.

The group offered to show me the best sites in the Machynlleth area, which surprisingly all turned out to be located within 5 minutes of my house. 

Six pulli were ringed in total, following the trend in the area with all signs pointing to 2023 becoming a successful year for the species.

All of these species were new to me, and involved new methods and techniques. I am extremely grateful to all the local groups mentioned.

Additionally the visit to the Portland breakwaters  was made possible by the BTO seabird ringing grant.

(Thom Faulkner)