Sunday 31 March 2013

First Wheatears, and the final Redwing ....?

Yesterday our first venture of the season to Mwnt with spring traps for chats and pipits. We were well rewarded with our first Wheatears to be ringed in March.
This the first, a not very bright 2nd calendar year male, with very few adult pre-breeding feathers, just a few in the median coverts, some of these other median coverts are post juvenile too

The later two birds were brighter adult males, having undergone moults producing all black adult feathers.
A few meadow Pipits were trapped too, making a good start to the bright but cold day.

This morning looked promising for a few Chiffchaff.
Last night CJ and I put some nets up on the marsh ready to furl overnight. One retrap Chiffchaff, this one of last year's juveniles from the reserve. Also our first March Redwing, a great end to the day !

But will it be our last wintering thrush..... ?
We are out on the Frenni tonight, probably our last Woodcock survey of the winter ! !

Saturday 30 March 2013

TRG on TV - Natur: Y Gwanwyn

For those who missed Kelvin Jones from BTO Cymru ringing in the garden with Bethan, one of our trainees, on Iolo's Natur:Y Gwanwyn here is the link.
Episode 5 (available for 34 days)

It starts at 17.19  minutes and you can click on the S for English subtitles.
It was a subzero start to the day with frost, a bit of a breeze and bright sun so catching conditions weren't ideal. Typically as soon as the TV crew had gone a nice variety of birds turned up - we do catch more interesting species than the Blue Tit shown in the programme!

Friday 29 March 2013

Stormie goes to Scotland

In the latest batch of recoveries from the BTO we had news of a Storm Petrel
 ringed in July 2011 at Strumble head
that was retrapped on Sanda Island, Kintyre, Argyll and Bute in August 2012 by Clyde Ringing Group. 370 days later and 361km away.
Also a young Blackbird ringed on the Teifi Marshes nature reserve last October, survived the winter only to be killed by a cat 18km away in Carmarthenshire 2 weeks ago.
Our Sedge Warblers are often caught on their migration route through Western France and we had a recovery from a new location, Le Tertre Rouge in Loire -Atlantique of a bird we ringed in May 2011 which was caught in August 2012.

Monday 25 March 2013

Potter trap mechanisation, wandering birds and S4C

With the present windy weather preventing the use of mist nets, inventions are the order of the day. The Potter traps triggered by the bird were failing to catch so now the door is closed by a latch drawn back from the warmth of the kitchen via fishing line - it works!
 Further improvements are currently underway to enable closing the door by remote control!

 The proof of movement between mine and Richards garden 4 miles away is being reinforced with another 5 of his Siskins caught in mine and one of my Goldfinches caught in his. The good Brambling year continues - having never seen one in the garden before, we have now ringed 9 with just a 3 metre net.

This Pied Wagtail with a ring was down on the beach at Ceibwr yesterday. The end numbers could be made out so by entering **6717 in IPMR a Pied Wagtail was listed as ringed on the Teifi Marsh on 20th October last year. Although we can't be sure without seeing the whole sequence it seems a high probability.
The end numbers could be made out so by entering **6717 in IPMR a Pied Wagtail was listed as ringed on the Teifi Marsh on 20th October last year. Although we can't be sure without seeing the whole sequence it seems a high probability.  

 Also yesterday, Tommy saw this Chiff on the reserve. With an EAH ring it is highly likely to be one of our own Chiffs returning back. 
We have ringed 274 Chiffchaffs with EAH  rings since 6th August 2011 with 119 of those during peak Autumn passage last September.

Finally don't forget to watch the new S4C series Natur:Y Gwanwyn  starting tonight at 20.25. Cameras were in the garden filming last week with Kelvin Jones from BTO Cymru and Bethan, our latest trainee.


Sunday 17 March 2013

Cetti's Warbler yesterday, Brambling today.........

Yesterday our first visit this year to our main Teifi marsh site, rides to check, poles and guys to place. Five nets were opened and nice to report birds as expected, c20 birds in a couple of hours, 50% retraps including this Cettis which was a juvenile ringed  in July 2011.
Today an early open of a 20' garden net and on the first round (if you call one net a round) this female Brambling with a Chaffinch and Goldfinch the result. Then off to Mwnt our premier coastal migration site !
We parked the car and straight away a lovely male Wheatear, closely followed by views of Meadow Pipits feeding along the top ridge. A walk up past the old chapel and around the head produced more pipits and 3 Stonechats, maybe migrants or residents? On our return to the chapel and the bird of the morning ! A Black Redstart on the headstones.
This headland site is where we find our spring traps are the best method for catching Wheatears, Stonechats, Pipits etc...This year's wave of Greenland Wheatears must only be a few weeks away. We have caught several in previous spring migrations.

Tuesday 12 March 2013

Woodcocks are leaving ? But finches continue !

Perhaps our final Woodcock session of the season last night, just 1 bird seen under a sky full of stars, and with a brightening moon rising earlier each night.

This was our route on Sunday 10th March at our Boncath site, where we retrapped one and saw another ten Woodcock. We did catch a Fieldfare and a Redwing on the higher slopes as a nice bonus.
This was a typical night, taking 2 hours to walk the 5.1km climbing 323m. GPS is used to track our route on each visit and plots each capture, both original ringing and retrapping, adding value to the ringing data.

Back to finches and details of our recent controls, both firsts of each species for the Group;-
Siskin Y543478 was ringed in Surrey as 2nd calendar year female on the on the 16th March 2012, and controlled in Boncath on 31st January 2013.
We have now ringed over 300 Siskins in 2013, and with a Belgian control already, it will be interesting what movements will hopefully follow.
Greenfinch TP09596 was ringed in Kent as a 1st year male on the 24th November 2011, and contolled in Llechryd on the 26th January 2013.
Will Bramblings provide our next recovery ?
.....Bramblings are still present in our two garden ringing sites above....with good numbers of Siskins and increasing numbers of other finches particularly Goldfinches.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Redpoll is new but Siskins are the study....

Garden ringing is continuing to turn up some surprises.
Having never seen a Redpoll in my garden before,  this male Lesser Redpoll turned up unexpectedly in the net on Friday.
Today with a frosty start then bright sun the total catch was low but the star bird was a Siskin that Richard had ringed in his garden, nearly 4 miles away, on the 1st March. As this is now the second Siskin to have moved between the sites (one in each direction) we have had a closer look at the map and there is almost continuous woodland including  Rhos y Gilwen wood between the gardens.

The total number of Siskins ringed so far this year, nearly all in February are 165 in Richard's twenty foot net and 110 in my twelve foot net. Not forgetting the control with a Belgian ring in my garden and a British control in Richard's.
In both gardens the Siskins are coming to Sunflower hearts.

With the moon now rising later we will back out on the hills with the lamp to look for the last Woodcock before they leave. Hopefully some wet, windy weather will be along to help !

Update - another two Siskins ringed in Richard's garden early last month caught in mine today - Monday !