Wednesday 27 August 2014

Last CES for 2014 takes us to 849

Another CES season has come to an end with a blustery session this morning on the Teifi Marsh. The wind picked up and probably reduced the catch. 41 new birds and 17 retraps with no particular species standing out. This year over the 12 CES sessions we have ringed 561 birds and recorded 288 retraps.
So far this year we have only ringed 1 juvenile Lesser Whitethroat so two this morning as well as two Common Whitethroat was good.
The Lesser Whitethroat is the lower bird in both pictures.
With only 4 Marsh Tits ringed on the reserve in 4 years this was interesting too
Another juvenile Kingfisher takes us to seven this year. Regular photographers on the reserve have also commented that it seems to be a good year for them.
A Kingfisher is guaranteed to grab everyone's attention!
With two visitors, a helper, 2 trainees, 2 C permits and 3 A's for some of the session we had more ringers than birds for the quiet rounds but it was an enjoyable, sociable morning as well as maintaining our success of never missing a CES session in 5 years.
Thanks to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales for permission to continue this valuable fieldwork for the BTO on the Teifi Marshes Reserve.

Monday 25 August 2014

When yellow becomes gold....on theTeifi

Our first Yellow Wagtail, caught coming to the reed-bed roost with Pied Wagtails. We have seen and heard them here before, but this was a nice surprise ! I had just set up a poolside two-shelf net and the first party of wagtails arrived...

A juvenile male flavissima, with all GC juvenile but all the smaller coverts replaced or in the process of replacement.
The Yellow Wagtail was caught on Wednesday (20th) .....and is a very scarce bird to be ringed in west Wales, with just one ringed last year in Dyfed (Pembs/Cered/Carms)

Wendy and I are off to Falsterbo on Thursday, representing Skokholm Bird Obs, interesting to note in their log for yesterday...2410 Yellow Wagtails through....!

Yesterday for us, a visit to the Mallard and Pentood nets joined by our new trainee, Ryan and Alastair Wilson. He has been ringing with us between working with seabirds on Skomer, and off soon on his second spell in the south Atlantic - with seabirds of course !
Dawn, Wendy, and Alastair ringing here at the last CES.

One of  only six new Blackcaps ringed yesterday, most are more advanced in their moult than this bird.
Totals of new warblers ringed,  Sedge 20, Reed 12, Willow 4, Chiffchaff 3, Cetti's 1, Common Whitethroat 1. Out of a total of 109 birds caught.
On Wednesday we plan to do our final CES, which contains more scrub than the Mallard Run nets, following today's weather perhaps a goodie to finish the CES season..?

A Wryneck was caught during CES 12 in 2012...after I had gone to work!!

Thursday 21 August 2014

Ringing with the Teifi RG....A visitors view..

Alastair Wilson joined us yesterday for CES 11.
Before our summary of  activities, including last night's Yellow Wagtail,  have a read of Alastair's morning with us
Ringing at the Teifi Marsh
....Alastair ringed with his father on the marsh, several years ago.

Sunday 17 August 2014

Dunlin, Swallows, Sedgies...

A 930pm view of the beach ....not the darkest of nights to lamp for waders. Two visits and 5 Dunlin of the few birds present ringed, we are off to a start for the season..

Our first Dunlin, though our Ringed Plovers are of much more value to ring with far fewer caught as they are difficult to cannon net.
One attempt with the 60' foot Aquatic net did produce twenty Swallows, a couple of acros and our first wagtails of the season. Yesterday we managed a typical early session in the Mallard Run nets. We were not surprised that we didn't catch an Aquatic,  42 new Sedge Warblers was a good total though.
A new Kingfisher and more new and retrap Reed Buntings for our RAS adding to the success of the session too.

Sunday 10 August 2014

Rarities (for us) in the Reed-bed

Preceding the Buzzard !! in a Pentood mist net yesterday, - see post below, a couple of other goodies in the nets on Friday...
This first year male Redstart, an annual for us, but not usually in the phragmites.

In the same net round, this juvenile House Sparrow, our first capture on the reserve though we do ring our garden populations.

Otherwise, not as busy as we would have hoped, with no major acro movement yet...just 21 new Sedge and 24 new Reed Warblers. A couple of retrap Cetti's Warblers and two more Reed Buntings colour-ringed to help our RAS project along.

Saturday 9 August 2014

One Of These Days....

Only the other day as we were walking off the marshes, I said to Rich "that Buzzard's been hanging around those bushes since the springtime, one of these days we'll find it in a net".

It doesn't take a genius to guess what happened today; I returned from a round of the reedbed nets to find Karen standing there looking like the cat that got the cream, with this beauty bagged inside her tee-shirt. (Sensibly, she'd taken it off first).

This was the second mist-netted Buzzard I've encountered, in both cases they've been lying on the ground holding onto the bottom shelf of the net with their talons. I vividly recall extracting the first of these myself and having a supposedly more important ringer take over and do the honours, so there was no question but that Karen would get to ring this one.

Note the seemingly random mixture of old and new feathers on the back and in the wings. Neither generation of tail feathers were of the juvenile type illustrated in Baker, and there were three generations of primaries, so this would appear to be at least a 2nd-summer bird.

Apart from that excitement it was a slow-ish morning, with only three more juvenile Whitethroats worthy of mention, and an early finish as the wind got stronger.

Thursday 7 August 2014

CES 10 today as Bertha cancelled our ringing course...

With a ringing course planned for this weekend, we have been watching the weather forecasts obsessively for the last week. It became increasingly concerning that the weather could be dire and a lot of the weekend spent looking at the rain.
Sadly we had to make the decision with Kelvin, BTO Wales, to cancel it.
We had been saving our CES 10 for the course participants but without the course we went ahead and did it today. It was hot and sunny so the birds slowed down as the temperature rose but we ended the morning having ringed 50 new birds and 16 retraps.
Reed Warblers made up the bulk of the catch again. Nice to ring a juvenile Whitethroat, only the second this year.
A Woodpigeon was the first we  have caught in a CES session. A chance for Ryan, our new trainee, to ring his first non-passerine and learn a bit about Woodpigeon moult, a species that has 11 primaries. The contrast between the old and new primaries can be seen here.
Totals for the day....

Reed Warbler 167
Blackbird 30
Blackcap 70
Dunnock 10
Bullfinch 20
Chaffinch 10
Chiffchaff 61
Garden Warbler 10
Great Tit 02
Long-tailed Tit 11
Robin 22
Songthrush 21
Whitethroat 10
Willow Warbler 01
Woodpigeon 10
Wren 61

Monday 4 August 2014

As autumn migration starts, a look back at July in the reed bed...

As August begins we look forward to as many early mornings in the Teifi Marsh reed bed as the weather allows. Mornings often start misty and cool with a soaking from condensation on the reeds.

But end a couple of hours later with the scene transformed by the warmth of the Summer sun
The reserve is an important stopover for migrant birds particularly Sedge and Reed Warblers. Since 2010 we have been putting extra effort into monitoring autumn migration and wrote a paper in 2011 on our findings funded by a grant for the Welsh Ornithological Society. In 2010 we caught 2 Aquatic Warblers as part of this constant effort.
With all of the July data for the Teifi Marsh reserve entered into IPMR we have been playing with the data to see how the month went in the Ceredigion part of the reserve between Mallard and Heron Hides.
368 birds were ringed and 143 retraps many of which were site faithful birds ringed in previous years.
Of those 368, 102 were Sedge Warblers, 95 Reed Warblers and 26 Reed Buntings.
On the reserve as a whole we are pleased with the number of returning Reed Warblers from previous years - now up to 57. Another 28 adults have been ringed and so far 146 juveniles.
In July 2013 we only ringed 31 juveniles.
Once we get to the end of migration we will compare numbers with previous years.
With each Reed Bunting being entered into our colour ringing project there will be plenty of birds for photographers visiting the reserve to resight for us.
The juveniles being caught at the moment are well into their post-juvenile moult.
This one today was moulting all of its greater coverts and central tail feathers
showing why ageing after this first moult can be difficult with no contrast to be found in the greater coverts.
Next weekend we are co-hosting a BTO ringing course. We are looking forward to welcoming 10 participants and several assessors from around the country. We are keeping our fingers crossed for the weather and really hope that the rainy bits of the forecast are wrong!
Ex tropical storm Bertha could bring heavy rain and gales on Sunday