Saturday 26 September 2015

More from Costa Rica...

Ochraceous Wren - a little stunner that lives amogst the Epiphytes...

Both the Wren  (yesterday) and this rare Peg-billed Finch today were the recent highlights.

Ruddy-capped Nightingale- Thrushes has been the commonest capture so far
followed by Chestnut-capped Brush-Finches, a mixture of adults and juveniles.
136 residents ringed in Madre Selva in the last 7 days, 37 resident species and only 3 migrants species.
Some of the residents included Hairy Woodpecker
 Black and Yellow Silky-Flycatcher
and more Hummingbirds like this Green Violet-ear
When not busy ringing, maintaining sites and recording birds seen there are plenty of daily chores to do. No refuse collections here so Richard had mastered the art of the incinerator

and lighting the stove!
2 more days in the cool highlands then off to hot and humid Tortuguero for a whole new range of birds

Thursday 24 September 2015

An unexpected chance to post from the Costa Rican Highlands

No Acadian Flycatchers in the Highlands - no doubt some on the Caribbean coast in a few days !

This Spangle-cheeeked Tanager is a bit brighter to look at, and this Flame-throated Warbler stole the show at our Lake banding site today.

Four species of Hummingbird at our Home site added some irridescence, photos of Fiery-throated and magnificent soon ....
White-throated Mountain Gem - our most frequent !

Great to pick out some Swainson's Hawks migrating with Black Vultures here, masses of Turkey Vultures soon.  A great find for Wendy at our CRBO site this juvenile Barred-forest Falcon..

Not a flycatcher, but like an Acadian Flycatcher, this Louisiana Waterthrush nice to find before the much more numerous Northern's next week....

Our migration to the Caribbean coastal forests has been delayed......
....Chespi has asked us to stay, bird and band with some visitors who are important to the organisation...
Costa Rica Bird Observatories.

Friday 18 September 2015

Motmot and Iguanas before the mountains..

Our work with Costa Rica Bird Observatory began today with a morning ringing in INBioparque, in San Jose.
The national bird of Costa Rica, Clay-colored Robin, was the first bird ringed and 7 more followed.
The highlight of the morning though was a Blue-crowned Motmot, a resident commonly seen around the park.

As well as residents, there are now an increasing number of migrants passing through. A good variety of species were recorded on our area search during ringing including Red-eyed Vireo, Blackburnian Warbler and Yellow Warbler. American Redstart and Alder Flycatcher were ringed.
 Although we are used to seeing lizards on our net rounds on the Teifi Marsh, they don't quite match the thrill of seeing these massive Iguanas that roam around here!
The trip to and from the park was a different experience too, by train with interesting platforms which only reach part of the train, involving a big jump down from the other carriages!
Off to Madre Selva in the mountains tomorrow to ring at 2,500m. No internet for a while so we hope the group back on the teifi will be ringing some good birds to blog about instead...

Sunday 13 September 2015

From September on the Teifi forests and mountains of Costa Rica

This likely our final post before Wendy and I go on our regular Fall Migration Monitoring visit to Costa Rica - our fourth year. Chris goes to Spain, and Dawn and Karen go to Bardsey !

This juvenile Spotted Flycatcher the September highlight for me, one of two we caught this Autumn.
Other highlights on posts below...and more flycatchers in Costa Rica soon !

September totals to the 13th, have Chiffchaffs leading the way with 175 new birds and Blackcaps with 104.
Of the acros... Sedge Warbler  with 23 and Reed Warbler with 18, we did expect a few more.
10 Willow Warblers, only 5 Common Whitethroat and 1 Lesser Whitethroat, likely a reflection of the change in effort and location this early September.

Off we go !

From ringing from the back of a Land Rover here with Chris, to the humidity of the Caribbean Lowland Forest, and 70 species of Flycatcher on the Costa Rican list...

Here Wendy is at our Aeroporto banding site at Tortuguero, surrounded not by flycatchers on this occasion but by Swainson's Thrushes - we banded over 400  in Sept /Oct 2013

On our first visit in 2012, this Royal Flycatcher was one of the first birds to great us on our first banding session at Cano Palma - COTERC..the Canadian Organisation for Tropical Education and Rainforest Conservation.

This is our home for the first couple of weeks. Madre Selva in the Costa Rica Highlands where we operate three Constant Effort Sites.

More from Costa Rica soon...we arrive in San Jose on Wednesday afternoon, and band at INBioparque on Thursday morning...
A Blue- crowned  Motmot for Wendy maybe..

On two previous trips, Wendy has left Costa Rica without seeing a in the hand Blue-crowned Motmot.

Friday 11 September 2015

Tree Pipit adds variety to the September regulars

The settled weather has given us the chance to ring regularly on the Teifi Marsh this week. Our migration monitoring through the reserve is now on our drier CES site rather than the reed bed site by Mallard hide used during August.
The commonest species have been Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs with a few surprises.
This Tree Pipit was only the second that we have caught. The last was in September 2010.
In the same net was a Grey Wagtail. We don't catch many, this only the second since 2010 on this part of the reserve.
There was an increase in Robins caught and heard this week which fits with Skokholm Island recording 28 on the 9th Sept, they are on the move.

Some news of recoveries just received from the BTO...

Reed Warbler Y171344
Ringed at Kilpaison Marsh by the Pembs Ringing Group on 20th May 2012
Controlled by us on the Teifi Marsh on 31st July 2015
1167 days 53km

Storm Petrel 2683366
Ringed at The Lizard by West Cornwall Ringing Group on 17th June 2015
Controlled by us at Mwnt 26th July 2015
39 days 244km

Sedge Warbler L018029
Ringed at Icklesham, East Sussex by Rye Bay Ringing Group on 13th August 2010
Controlled by us on the Teifi Marsh on 16th August 2015
1829 days, 390 km

Monday 7 September 2015

September warblers and waders too ....

During September with CES finished, we start to move our extra catching effort from the Mallard nets in the reed-bed to part of the CES site. The nets in the mixed habitat in the Pentood part of the marsh run throughout.
More on the warblers later but first some waders.
This a nice one for us - a juvenile Greenshank on the beach !

Our wader catches are usually made up of Dunlin.
with smaller numbers of Ringed Plover, an important species for us to catch as their roosting habits aren't favourable to cannon netting. Most of our waders caught are juveniles..

Before we closed Mallard reed bed nets for the season, a couple more juvenile Kingfishers were caught which brings the total to 9 new ones this year and 50 Kingfishers on the Teifi Marsh since 2008.

After one week in the CES site, the main species caught as part of our migration monitoring have been Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

We are catching a good variety of warblers every morning including Willow Warblers, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers and smaller numbers of Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and this Lesser Whitethroat...

Last Saturday we hosted a ringing demonstration for the Mid Pembs branch of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales in conjunction with a talk we are giving them next week about ringing.

Keen younger birders are always welcome - hoping to inspire them to become OUR Next Generation Birders... and ringers

Thursday 3 September 2015

Ringing on Skokholm

Photo by Jake Gearty

Five of us went ringing on Skokholm from the 24th to the 31st of August. There was me and Chris from the Teifi ringers and there was Steve, Anna and Kim from Pembrokeshire ringing group. Thank you to Steve and Anna for organising the trip.

This was my first time to the island, which I had read and heard lots about, but nothing prepares you for the beauty of the island or the Manx shearwaters flying over head at night.

During the week we shared the island with some great people, I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and Annie Haycock who are amazing birders and photographers (they were on the island helping type up some archives of bird logs recorded in the 1940's -50's by hand, which included data from when Peter Condor was warden). We also had the pleasure of having a group of 6 Next Generation Birders, Craig, Kirsty, Sophie, Jake, Drew and Michael who were very keen to ID as many species as possible as they were in competition against another group on Bardsey, so they were great help at letting us know what species were around and helping Richard and Giselle with their bird log. Unfortunately Bardsey won with 94 species to Skokholm with 84.

Highlights include young Storm petrel weighing, visiting the Storm petrel colony in the quarry, Manx shearwaters ringing, which we did most nights and Storm petrel ringing, which due to low numbers was more of a demonstration and a chance for some of the NGB's bird ringing trainees to ring Storm petrels. I really enjoyed being able to see how much I had learned about ringing birds, ageing, sexing, etc and being able to pass this on to other people.

Young Storm petrel.

Photo by Craig Reed of a Manx Shearwaters.

Species ringed: Meadow pipit, Rock pipit, Willow warbler, Dunlin, Manx shearwater, Storm petrel, Robin, Sedge warbler, Reed bunting, Wren, Spotted flycatcher, Swallow, Whitethroat and a retrapped Lesser whitethroat.

Species seen: Bar-tailed godwit, Black-tailed godwit, Little stint, Knot, Ruff, Gannet, Fulmar, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Merlin, buzzard, Golden plover, Wheatear, Chough, Whimbrel, Curlew, Greenshank, Oystercatchers, Cormorant, Shag, Moorhen, Greater black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, etc.

I got to ring three new species, Rock pipit, Manx shearwaters and DUNLIN!!!! My first wader, which takes me up to 36 species ringed.

In the words of Kim: "Chris was like a ninja when catching the Dunlin"

Photo by Kirsty Heiner, Dunlin being ringed.

On our day of departure Spotted flycatcher began to arrive, Kim and Bob managed to catch one in a heligoland trap, which was a new species for Kim. Until departure me and Chris kept checking the heligoland traps and we had a mist net up in the courtyard, but to no avail. But I did mange to catch a Swallow in a heligoland trap which does not happen very often.

Photo by Kirsty Heiner, of the Spotted flycatcher ringed by Kim

North Pond

A few words from Craig Reed:

"thank you from the NGB ringers to the members of the ringing team present on Skokholm Island for the week of out visit, a great group of people, providing great help and passing on valuable knowledge. Thanks for the opportunity to ring species normally well out of grasp for me, allowing valuable experience with a number of amazing species such as Storm Petrel, Manx Shearwater and Rock Pipit. I can't imagine I will be ringing any of those any time soon in my Midlands homeland! Thanks to all from the Teifi ringing group and Pembrokeshire ringing group, great to have met you all!"

To wrap up, the island lived up to my expectations, it was an amazing experience, which I could happily repeat yearly. I loved the isolation of the island, the beauty of it and of course the amazing variety of bird species day and night. The only thing missing was my beautiful wife and daughter, who will have to come with me next time.