Wednesday 28 May 2014

Juvs and returning Reed Warblers for CES 3

Bank holiday Monday saw the group at work on the Teifi Marsh for CES 3. Last year we only caught 25 birds for the equivalent session so we were pleased with 64 birds but some species are still well down including Long-tailed Tits and Wrens.
Not having heard a Lesser Whitethroat singing on the reserve yet this year it was a surprise to catch two females with brood patches. Other species ringed included  14 juveniles of 5 species - Treecreeper, Robins, Chiffchaff, Blackbird and Great Tits. Of the adults ringed we were pleased to add another Reed Bunting to our colour ringing project.
As well as the Reed Bunting you can see the habitat of part of our CES site - regenerating scrub on old slate quarrying waste. Also home to Adders, Slow Worms and numerous species of insects. Lots of Speckled Yellow moths were flying around this week.

The 23 retrapped birds included 7 Reed Warblers returning to the reedbed to breed. On the reserve as a whole, out of 38 Reed Warblers caught this spring, 26 are site faithful birds ringed in previous years.

As well as CES we are busy with other ringing. Two of us joined Tony Cross to ring some Choughs along the Ceredigion coast.
This is one of three young Chough from one nest. The color rings enable it to be identified without recapture.
Nest boxes are being checked regularly and some Great Tits have been ringed and 2 nests of Pied Flycatchers will soon be big enough to ring.
In the garden, juveniles of several different species are appearing on the feeders including Dunnocks, Chaffinches and Great Tits. This juvenile Siskin was the first to be ringed in my Llechryd garden so good news that they are breeding locally.
Meanwhile Richard has finished his 6 weeks ringing at Long Point Bird Observatory. I'm sure the highlight of his trip will be the ringing of Long Points first Eurasian Tree Sparrow, the 397th species for them.
More Canada news when he returns.

Friday 16 May 2014

More Cetti's than Tits for CES 2

A 60 bird catch for our second CES of the season with 41 new birds and 19 retraps.
The first juveniles of the year were 3 Blackbirds and a Robin.
The commonest species was Sedge Warbler - 21 to add to our total of over 100 this spring so far as they migrate through the Teifi Marsh reed beds. Relatively few stay to breed.
(This was the first Sedge Warbler ringed this year on the 10th April)

Other species ringed included a Jay, 2 Whitethroat, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnocks, Bullfinch and Chiffchaffs. Also a Reed Bunting, now added to our colour ringing project. But strangely not one new Tit either Blue, Great or Long-tailed.

Interesting retraps this week, some initially ringed in the first  year of our CES in 2009...
Of the four Cetti's Warbler retraps, one was ringed in Sept 2009 and only caught once since in 2011.
We would expect to have caught a lot more Reed Warblers returning to breed by now  but two regulars did turn up - one ringed in August 2009, and the other in July 2009. Thousands of miles of migration for them in those 5 years!
Also a Garden Warbler arrived back, initially ringed in 2010.
We also monitor nests for the BTO nest record scheme. And not only nest boxes -  two active nests are in unusual places. Wrens are very clever at using junk in out buildings, this nest is in an old UPS case! The quantity of leaves collected by a 10g bird is amazing.

At least 4 eggs could be seen and have now hatched.
This Pied Wagtail nest, with 5 downy young, is inches above the moving belt of a log splitter conveyor belt which had been in use!

The machine owners happily agreed not to use it until the chicks fledge.
Meanwhile, in Canada, Richard is still ringing at Long Point Bird Observatory. The warblers there are pouring back in big numbers with a 300 bird catch one day. This is one of the beautiful Golden- winged Warblers ringed there last week.
(photo - thanks to Long Point Bird Obs)

Sunday 4 May 2014

Migrant warblers return for CES 1..

Yesterday was the start of our 2014 CES season. For the sixth year we will be contributing to this long term BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) scheme which provides valuable trend information on abundance of adults and juveniles, productivity and also adult survival rates for 25 species of common songbird.
Fourteen nets are operated in the same locations over the same time period at regular intervals through the breeding season..
43 birds were processed of which 19 were new and 24 were retraps. The stiff breeze was unexpected and probably reduced the catch. CES 1 last year we caught 64 birds.
The first Garden Warblers of the year weren't a surprise as we had heard their song contributing to the dawn chorus..
Other new birds included a Cetti's warbler, 2 more Reed Buntings for our colour ringing project, Blackcaps, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Willow Warblers but no juveniles of any species yet.
The more years that we ring on the reserve so the retrap data becomes more interesting and significant. These are some of the retraps histories
Willow Warbler DRB146 was ringed as an adult female in May 2011 and we have retrapped her every year since on her return to breed
Blackcap T990314 was ringed as an adult in May 2009 and hadn't seen him again
Blue Tit X769789 is one of our older Blue Tits ringed as a juvenile in June 2009
Reed Warbler Y206832 is another 2011 bird that we retrap every year when he returns to the same part of the marsh to breed.

Meanwhile Richard  is ringing out in Canada at Long Point Bird Observatory - it is a cold start to spring there with ice still on Lake Erie. This is Mick from Stanford Ringing Group enjoying the cold!
They are banding good numbers and varieties including a 320 bird day but not a big flood of warblers yet.