Saturday, 27 December 2014

Success with stormies....but are they ours ?

Storm Petrels have been caught by the Teifi Ringing Group during the summer months over the last four years. Our totals may seem small but our efforts are directed to other breeding and migration activities during the season and we do help ring stormies in south-west Pembs.
Enough of excuses and let us look at our amazing results and our way forward....

We started catching Storm Petrels at the established site of Strumble Head, where for over thirty plus years stormies have been caught, mainly on visits by Ian Spence. To date we have caught 36 birds at Strumble, with our birds controlled on nearby Skokholm, Sanda in the Inner Hebrides and an amazing control of one of our own birds from our new site at Mwnt in Ceredigion.

As the map shows Mwnt in Ceredigion is along the coast of Cardigan Bay and is 40km from Strumble Head

The headland at Mwnt is used for sea-watching and for some migration studies - mainly Greenland Wheatears.
On the 13th July 2012 we attempted our first catch at the site.
Three birds were caught, two new and to our delight a control ! We now know the bird was ringed on 11th August 2011 - Deep Point, Isles of Scilly.
These birds were the first captured, ringed and controlled for the county of Ceredigion !!

To date we have encountered 44 stormies at Mwnt delivering some amazing movements-

The RSPB island reserve of Ramsey, Pembs is now rat free and they have a new (since 2008) small colony of c10-15 pairs on on the west coast. On the east coast of the island they have managed to attract and ring six likely non-breeders. A bird they ringed last year on 6th August 2013, we controlled this 1st July 2014.  One out of six isn't bad....

More local !
A bird we ringed at Mwnt on the 13th July 2012 we controlled ourselves at Strumble Head 368 days later on 19th July 2013.
...More local still !!.......we recaptured our own bird at Mwnt almost exactly one year later, ringed 5th July 2013 and retrapped on 1st July 2014.
Site faithfulness is of  course expected, but WE don't have a breeding population. The nearest  breeding birds are to the southwest on the Pembrokeshire Islands, and to the north a smaller number on Bardsey.

 2661480 our favourite to date and perhaps exemplifies the faithful wanderings within the Irish Sea.
Ringed at Mwnt on the 22nd July 2012...
Controlled on the Calf of Man on the 26th June 2014...
Controlled on the Ceredigion coast near Aberystwyth a month later on the 28th July 2014....
(A first encounter of the species in Ceredigion for Tony Cross !!)

To round off  "OUR" curent Cardigan Bay movements, a bird ringed on the Lleyn Peninsula on the 27th July 2013 was controlled by us at Mwnt on 1st July 2014.

The photo above shows the usual net in position at Mwnt on the northwest facing slope of the headland, with Cardigan Island in the background. The island has been rat free since 1970.
We are trying different and additional net positions at Mwnt and will visit Strumble Head in 2015. Hopefully our effort in Cardigan Bay will complement the ringing of Storm Petrels on the islands and shed more light on the summer wanderings of

Hopefully we will be out for stormies on the 3rd July....31 years since I first ringed a Storm Petrel.
No surprises..... that was with Steve Sutcliffe down on the Deer Park opposite Skomer, and I guess we will be down there again this season.......

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