Thursday 26 March 2015

Winter lamping ends with a Fieldfare

A typical scene on most dark and windy nights since last November...
but with the birds that spend winter roosting on our sheep pasture now heading back to their breeding grounds it is getting harder to find birds when out lamping. On our last visit this week we didn't see any Woodcock but did catch a Fieldfare.
Most of the fields we walk have now been heavily spread with slurry and with the moon waxing it is just about time to stop lamping. Although never say never - our latest Woodcock were caught on 5th April so if the weather is right we might be out again.

It has certainly not been an easy year for catching Woodcock. Mid Wales ringers have had good numbers of birds roosting but we have had no big nights of catching, mostly one or two a night despite walking an average 4 km.  Redwing and Skylark have been well down too but more Fieldfare.

Totals of birds caught by lamping this winter...

Woodcock - 44 ringed and 3 retraps

Once again, the most productive site for finding Woodcock has been the improved grassland sheep pasture on Frenni Fawr, our highest highest farm at 274m.
Snipe -6
Golden Plover-11
Fieldfare -20
Meadow Pipits 14 and 1 retrap
 Mistle Thrush 1 - a first for us to catch by lamping
 Redwing 2
Skylark 5
As well as the birds caught we have also been recording all waders seen and field use to add to the value of our long term monitoring of these North Pembrokeshire farms.

Our attention will now be changing to evening roost ringing instead as soon as the White Wagtails start moving north through the Teifi Marsh.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

First Wheatear..

With news of Wheatear turning up on the Pembrokeshire Islands this week, a look at Mwnt, our coastal ringing site, was a must.
Two were seen on Monday
so that inspired us to dust off the spring traps and head there this morning. It was a very foggy start but the sun broke through to be a clear blue sky day.
The first bird was a surprise - a Meadow Pipit we had ringed there in April 2011, one of three ringed that day.
6 male Wheatear were around the headland and we caught two of them.
Other birds ringed were 2 Stonechat, 2 Meadow Pipit and a Rock Pipit.
Thanks to the National Trust for permission to continue our work at this beautiful location.

Night time lamping is continuing. Woodcock are ready to migrate and always tricky to catch in March but a Skylark and some Meadow Pipits have been ringed this week. A few Fieldfare are still roosting on the fields but Golden Plover haven't been seen for a week.

11pm update!!
There are still some Golden Plover about. We ringed one of two seen tonight on Frenni Fawr
Only one Woodcock seen on a quick look at two of our sites.

Tuesday 10 March 2015

3 years and 3 months..

Hello again...
With the moon now rising later it is time to head out to the hills again before all of our Woodcock leave. Last night on Frenni Fawr we caught a Woodcock that we ringed on 30th November 2011 and haven't seen since.
Looking back at the blog about that night in 2011 it was the first time we had used our new GPS data logger so the ringing position of EX37999 was recorded accurately. It was only 112 metres from where we ringed it.
Like the majority of our retrap Woodcock it was caught very close to its ringing location despite several long migrations.
It was a quiet night with only 4 Woodcock, 3 Fieldfare and a few Snipe seen. No Golden Plover and no mammals, not even a rabbit!

Saturday 7 March 2015

Sand Martins first !.......Stormies to follow.....

The first Sand Martins of the year were seen by Wendy and Sue whilst counting for the Teifi WeBS !
As usual, a nice early record for The Teifi Marshes.
After I heard the news, while doing my WeBS count in Fishguard, I returned to pack the Lanny for the season ahead !
Nets on top of lamping gear....
The winter hill season is not over, we will be back out on the hills in a few days. We have caught Woodcock as late as April 5th....

To finish the latest recoveries from the BTO, this nice Storm Petrel movement.

Ringed on Bardsey 26th June 2014.....and with us 5 days later. Another movement which appear to show "our stormies" are faithful to the west coast....