Monday 25 June 2012

Early Storm Petrels

Last night we went to Strumble Head for the first Storm Petrel ringing of the season. Five were caught and ringed.
 Storm Petrels are difficult to age and sex and there is much debate ongoing over the reliability of criteria used. A paper written in 2001 is an interesting read.
Moult in Storm Petrels is mainly undertake at sea during migration and in winter quarters. To minimise the effect of missing feathers on flight efficiency the replacement of each feather tract is protracted so each full moult takes many months to complete.
After a careful look at the moult in the birds we caught, they were all aged as 4's, born before this year.
 Mixed aged feathers were easy to see in the secondaries of some of the birds.

 It was one of those nights where you go home inspired to find out more about these interesting birds.

 For more pictures see Adrians Strumble Head Seawatching blog.

Saturday 23 June 2012

Kites to Whinchats

We went out with Paddy this morning to check on the predicted failure of some of the North Pembs. Red Kites, not pleasant to confirm that at all sites visited  -- breeding failure at various stages, including at 1 site a dead bird with it's wing hanging from a wind destroyed nest, that was only about 1 week from fledging.

On a brighter note, the 1st bird that Wendy ever ringed, on 26th June 2008, Red Kite  Black 80  is paired and nested but unsuccessfully, a few miles down the valley from where born. What a start to a ringing career !!

 Whinchats -- see Pembs Ringing for more complete news on this species breeding in Pembs.

We went to Carn Ingli today to check on Whinchat breeding there, 1 pair still feeding young, and 4 more pulli ringed. The average brood size ringed has been 4.9. The photo shows a typical nest site in the braken on the hillsides of  the Preselis.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Puffins again

Today we headed to Skokholm with Pembrokeshire Ringing Group to continue the Puffin colour ringing research project started last year for the Edward Grey Institute, Oxford University.
 Once again we set a net carefully in the Crab Bay Puffin colony.
It was a great team effort in the sun - here the admin talk and colour rings being sorted before starting -
 Each bird had a BTO ring and 3 colour rings. Four retraps from last year were also caught.
Jerry and Will fitting a ring
Will releasing a ringed Puffin
It only took a couple of hours to catch the 60 birds required. After that number of extractions it was quite a relief to be holding numbers 59 and 60 before our hands suffered anymore! That bill can inflict a lot of pain.
The Puffins are very tolerant of our presence and readily return to their burrows as soon as the net is taken down.
A documentary is being made for TV about the wildlife and work on Skokholm. We'll let you know when to watch us in action!

Monday 18 June 2012

CES - warbler progress

No high numbers from this week-ends CES -5, reflecting the poor breeding weather for our passerines.
Some interesting notes on our warblers from the session though...

Garden Warblers - 4 females trapped (2 new) all with brood patches, and all from the same net, roughly 1 hour apart ! No males or juveniles trapped.
Willow Warblers -The Teifi isn't a good site for WW, much better for Chiffs, but WW are still singing well this season, the 1st juv WW of the year and  6 new adults this session -- a major increase in our breeding population.
Reed Warblers 7 retraps and 2 new adults  about what we would expect in one session.
The first juvenile Blackcap of the year, and an adult Sedge Warbler out the reed-bed- an unusual event, though we do ring c500 per year, downstream on the reserve.

Sunday 10 June 2012

The Teifi and Reed Warblers...

At The Mallard today....
...12 new and retrapped adult Sedge and Reed Warblers, with the fascinating mix of new and old.
L447220.. a Sedge ringed at Farlington Marsh as a 3J in Aug 2009.. being controlled by us in 2011 & this June.. and was presumably was born here too?
X878725 a 3J  Reed with us in Aug's first recapture today.
L598088 a juvenile Reed trapped here 1 Sept 2010...again it's first recapture..
No sign of P216372 yet..he was ringed as an adult on the Teifi 24th July 2000 and retrapped in each of the last 3 years !! A very old boy !!

Reed Warblers were not proved to breed in West Wales, in Ceredigion 1978(Birds of Ceredigion) or Pembs 1975(Birds of Pembs), though suspected slightly earlier.
In the last 2 years we have ringed 1321 new and recaptured 311 Reed and Sedge Warblers at The Mallard.
We now have more than 551 captures in the last 2 years relating to Reed Warblers alone, a good set of data to start having a look at our "new" population. It is believed that our population will become increasingly important as the East of England dries up with consequences for their Reed Warblers.. ??

The above figures do not include data from our nearby CES site,(which includes a reedbed population too)

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Open day and CES success.........

While completing a successful CES 4 on Monday we helped the Welsh Wildlife Centre's special family event by holding a ringing demonstration.
It was the first opportunity to enhance our work on the Teifi Marshes reserve with our new banner sponsored by Environment Wales and produced by Dragon Grafix.
With 54 birds caught we had enough birds to be shown, minus a few females with brood patches and very young. Being able to show a couple of  Reed Warblers with several years site faithfulness excited our audience. Our demonstration was enhanced further by literature on the table of our recoveries and ringing data for the reserve.
Nearly one hundred people visited us during the day including one family who came back three times. Janet also managed to show a variety of moths to enthusiastic children.
 A Poplar Hawkmoth was greatly admired.
We have been known to run up to 4 traps on CES set up evenings adding to the reserve's moth records nicely.
With CES completed until the next cycle our ringing attention will be on the ringing of pulli (weather permitting) and the moon will soon be in the right phase to start some Storm Petrel ringing.

Sunday 3 June 2012

Well done Teifi girls....while I'm away...

While I 'm away... girls go to play....thankfully off road. Well done Dawn, Karen, Renate, Janet and of course Wendy in particular for arranging everything. Everybody at Long Point loved the updates on the ringing activities, from Greenland 3 of our Teifi Sedge Warblers recovered from west coast France.
I was having an exhausting time.....with some ringing too..
      This male Cerulean Warbler a little special....!! Ana Maria enjoying the occasion too.

Shag Productivity - Midland Island

The follow up from Steve to the post below ;-

 Midland Island on 30th May
  2nd earliest date ever after 26th May 2010 and almost a month earlier than in 1995 though most sessions have been 6th to 15th June.
  One of the poorest seasons with only 3 nests with broods of three chicks.
  62 chicks ringed from 32 nests  - success rate of 1.94
Other nests
Chicks too small           4 nests with chicks
Empty                          3 nests - 1 fledged, 2 failed
Not accessible              3 nests - 2,2,3 chicks  (possibly one more not visible)
Eggs                            4 nests - 1,2,2,3 - mostly newly laid and probably replacement clutches - unlikely  to succeed.

  Total nests  46.