Saturday 25 January 2014

Redpolls, Siskins, Redwing - gardens and hills

Early this morning before the winds raged, Wendy caught three Lesser Redpolls. This the first time Wendy has recorded the species for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch too. Before this autumn Redpolls were rarely ringed by the Group, are they going to become the latest finch to increase in our gardens ?
A finch that has already  invaded our gardens, the Siskin. 12 new for me this morning and only one retrap from last winter, a couple of weeks ago most of my Siskins were ringed, perhaps a passage starting ?
The wind dropped before our wander on to the hills. The few Woodcock we saw were jumpy and most were in stubble crunching underfoot.
This Redwing was a nice find, out of the beam of Karen's light, somehow I managed to see it in the dark !
Skylarks may have moved from the hills recently, Meadow Pipits choosing to stay, two more tonight.
Once tomorrow evening arrives, the worst of the weather will be over.........and a great time to go out !

Wednesday 22 January 2014

Field faithful wintering Woodcock

The first bird on our  wander with the lamp tonight, this lovely adult Woodcock ring number EX94482. Weighing in at 390g our heaviest of the season so far.
EX94482 was ringed on the 4th March 2013 and retrapped tonight - just 80m from the original site of capture and ringing.
How do we know this ?
We use a GPS device to record our path and all our captures. The red line is drawn between the original ringing location in red of  EX94882 and the recapture site in yellow.
This is the 17th Woodcock we have recaptured and we do have two recoveries, from Russia and Norway.
Three new Woodcock caught this evening and a couple of Meadow Pipits too.

Robin moves from Kent to West Wales!

Some interesting recoveries just in from the BTO

A Robin was ringed by Itchen Ringing Group as a juvenile on 20th July 2013 in Shedfield, Hampshire. 39 days later we caught it on the Teifi  Marshes, Cardigan . (271km)

A juvenile Sedge Warbler ringed in Selborne, Hampshire on 21st August 2013 was caught on the Teifi Marsh 6 days later. (276km) An apparently common migration pattern in the wrong direction as we have several records of movement from the South East to us in August.

Another Sedge Warbler - this time in the right direction! Ringed on the Teifi Marsh on 1st September 2013 and caught 7 days later  in Stodmarsh Kent (410km)

A Goldfinch ringed on Bardsey Island on 18th April 2013 has been caught twice by Chris in his  St Dogmaels garden on the 13th of June and 9th October (77km)

Today's ringing highlights included a few more Siskins including a retrap from last year and this Marsh Tit, ringed in Jan 2012 so now in the garden for the 3rd winter. 

Many of our old bamboo net poles have seen better days, especially those used in the reed bed. Today our new poles arrived, very quickly after ordering. An excellent service and good quality poles from UK Bamboo supplies Ltd. 

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Before the Moon......

Sheep and Foxes ! Best, this nice Fieldfare, our first of the winter.
Goldies in with the sheep, a small group of Skylark in the stubble too.. A couple of Woodcock seen and this young one caught.
Woodcock with short bills are being reported, we are still to find one.
Tonight's site is not one we visit that often, only two fields lamped (but still 3.4km) on a dry and windless night.
With squelching soil underfoot, a total of two Fieldfare and Woodcock makes for a happy start to this week of fading moon. Bring on tomorrow !!

Monday 20 January 2014

Site-faithful Siskin starts the day...

No wind or rain so a couple of hours ringing in the garden was at last possible the last two mornings.
Only the occasional Siskin has been seen on the feeders this winter but today there were more and 3 were ringed and 2 retraps caught from previous years. One was ringed by me last March and caught in Charlie Sargent's garden (Gower Ringing Group)  near Llandeilo in May then is back here for the winter. Where it bred is unknown but one Siskin ringed in my garden did breed at Lake Vyrnwy RSPB last summer.
Greenfinches are the biggest consumer of the sunflower hearts at the moment with 10 fighting over the feeder at one point this morning. It is good to see them looking very healthy with no sign of the dreaded Trichomonosis which has caused a decline in Greenfinches.
One of the Greenfinches was a control so it will be interesting to find out where that was ringed. Our only previous Greenfinch control was ringed at Kingsnorth Power Sation in Medway, Kent.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Skokholm - Accreditation as a Bird Observatory

The 44th BOC Annual General Meeting took place at Portland BO this weekend.

Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle the wardens, with Wendy James and myself representing the committee attended the meeting and the accreditation was awarded.
An enormous THANK YOU to all involved. Skokholm last held Bird Observatory status in 1976.

Richard Dobbins
On behalf of Skokholm Bird Observatory

Wednesday 1 January 2014

50 Woodcock ringed...

An evening of data entry instead of venturing onto squelchy saturated fields means we can look at some end of year totals.
Richard ended the year by ringing 5 Woodcock on our Boncath sheep pasture last night along with 2 Meadow Pipits. Over the Christmas period 12 have been ringed, mostly in very wet and windy conditions.
An adult Woodcock ringed, measured and ready for release on the 30th December ....
And this, a typical muddy scene after ringing the Woodcock in the relative shelter of a bank....

This has not been our best year for catching Woodcock but we did catch a total of 58 with 50 new birds ringed. One was a foreign recovery. This was an adult Woodcock ringed by us in January this year at our Boncath site on the lower slopes of Frenni Fawr , shot in Russia in April, 86 days later.
The location that it was shot was in the Kirishi area of  the Leningrad region, 2,430 km from West Wales.
 Out with the lamp again tomorrow night .....