Friday 29 April 2016

Lovely Linnets....our next RAS ?

Following some great planning and long term feeding by Chris, we captured 89 Linnets in recent sessions at Mwnt, with 9 retraps.

Today we captured 43, including 5 retraps. Nice to catch a female Stonechat too.

Chris's Whoosh nets, with which he caught many Twite and Brambling in NE Scotland, have proved ideal for our Mwnt Linnets.  A great training exercise for Group members, as is the use of Spring Traps we use for Wheatears, Stonechats and Pipits.

Extracting Linnets from the net placed on the hillside below the Gorse.

Ringing at Mwnt, from the comfort of the back of Chris's 4WD this morning...

We hope to be back on the Teifi Marsh tomorrow at Mallard, with CES to follow when the weather allows.

Thursday 28 April 2016

France, the Teifi !

A wander around the marsh yesterday evening suggested that with the northerly wind dropping and the clear sky our migrants, particularly Sedge Warblers could appear in the morning.

Some did....The first bird I extracted was wearing a Belgian ring. Chris ringing on the other side of the marsh, messaged with news of a French ringed Sedge Warbler. By 8am the wind picked up and we packed up at the Mallard nets, with 11 new and 1 control Sedge Warbler, 2 retrap Reed Buntings, one of which needed colour ringing for our RAS project ...

and a retrap Cetti's Warbler ringed in 2012.

Over the other side of the marsh,  Chris caught 23 birds in the Pentood nets, including a second French ringed Sedge Warbler, 7 new Sedge Warblers, a retrap Cetti's Warbler, 5 Willow Warblers and also a retrap Reed Bunting needing colour rings. The highlight was a Grasshopper Warbler, the 28th for the group since 2009 but only the 4th Spring bird.

Friday 22 April 2016

Back to the reed bed...

With at least once daily visits to the Teifi Marsh we knew when to start our Spring migration ringing after seeing the first White Wagtails coming to roost and hearing the first Sedge Warblers so on Monday evening our nets were back up around Mallard pond.
The first White Wagtails of spring were ringed that night. Over 100 came to roost in the reedbed. A total of 35 have been ringed this week.

The following morning (Tuesday) there were a lot of Sedge Warblers singing and 8 were ringed

Wednesday morning was very different. The morning dawned with a hard frost and once it warmed up just 2 Sedge Warblers were ringed and the dawn chorus was quieter as the migrants had moved on. Importantly though, between the Mallard nets and those over on Pentood Marsh, 5 retrap Cetti's were caught. The oldest was ringed in 2012. They seem to have had a good breeding season and winter as at least 6 dominant territorial singing males can be heard on a circuit of the marsh.

This is a control Cetti's Warbler from Hampshire that we caught 2 years ago

The reedbeds are looking good ready for the return of our breeding Sedge and Reed Warblers. Reed Buntings are singing from their territories

We haven't just been in the reed bed. On Thursday we had another visit to Mwnt to catch Linnets in a Whoosh net. A successful day with 30 Linnets ringed and 2 retraps.

We were ready with the springtraps too to catch Wheatear but despite a few hundred being recorded on the islands the day before not one was at Mwnt.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Bluethroat at the Bill

The highlight of a terrific trip to Portland Bird Observatory  was this fine young male White-spotted Bluethroat

Caught and ringed on the Saturday of our long weekend of ringing and birding.

This was our 5th Group visit to Portland Bird Obs. We arrived on the Bill via a Hoopoe and quickly got into some afternoon, mainly Phyllosc, ringing.

When the rains came on Friday, we left the Obs and went up the Fleet a few miles for a delightful Pallas's Warbler, rainproofs required but excellent views with patience.

As the rain cleared we returned via Ferrybridge and saw both Little and Sandwich Terns, and a surprise to find a distant Great Northern Diver.

With the weather improved there was a chance to open the nets for a while. A few birds to end the day including one of two Firecrest that we caught 

and a male Redstart.

The weather was much better on Saturday and we ringed 76 birds.

We managed to find time, taking turns for the four of us to catch up with the male Subalpine Warbler in scrub along the cliffs.

Now a summary of the weekends ringing....

Blackcaps were the most numerous species caught with 92 ringed. This one had obviously been recently feeding on Citrus trees on its migration.

Willow Warblers came second with 69 which is more than we ring in most years around the Teifi. Chiffchaffs were the third with 38 ringed. Other species included 7 Redstart, 7 Goldfinch, 7 Linnet, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 1 Whitethroat, the first of the Spring, and 2 Robins.

Two Short-eared Owls  in off the sea......a great finale for our weekend of Spring migration.

Many thanks to Martin Cade and Peter Morgan for the warm welcome as always.
(Richard, Chris, Wendy and Andrew)

Wednesday 13 April 2016

Action....ringing for the TV

A lovely sunny morning down by the River Teifi...

An excellent backdrop for some filming of the Teifi Ringing Group in action !

The filming was for Garddio a mwy, (Gardening and more) a new series being produced for S4C.

The film production crew were visiting the reserve to film the annual Spring migration of our famous Water Buffalo.....and  a piece about birds and our research.
The birds did not disappoint with....

this fine male ....and surprisingly unringed Cetti's Warbler. We have an established population and ringed 25 new Cetti's on the site last year.
Another highlight for the camera - an unringed female Reed Bunting. Last year was a poor breeding season but nice to add a new female to our RAS project and be able to add another colour-ringed bird to the c200 already ringed in the past two years.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

Finches, Finches and movements.....of Finches

Linnets today, and our best ever day total by far..
Back in 2011 we caught nine at Mwnt during April in two-shelf thirteen!

Foel y Mwnt in the background.

After weeks of seeding and recces we used a Whoosh net. Chris demonstrated the effectiveness of this capture method to members of the group unfamiliar with Whoosh nets.

Postioning the trap at Mwnt today.

Back to the gardens and Wendy has caught the first Lesser Redpolls of the year including this control. The group has caught less than 100 Redpolls

Our catches our roughly divided into spring passage birds being caught at Wendy's and mine in Spring, and Autumn passage through the Teifi Marshes.

We now have 1500 Siskin captures and the control below is one of the longer movements.
D696822 an adult male, was ringed in Northumberland in March 2014, and contolled in Boncath, Pembs in March 2016. I guess this year late returning north, and not our first control between the two sites.

Greenfinch TT2953 is an intra county control. Ringed in November 2015 in the farmland of mid-Pembs, and captured across the Preseli Hills in Boncath this March.....

The Goldfinch, D608887 was ringed in Charlie Sargents garden in mid Carmarthenshire during March 2014. Caught in Boncath in March 2016, and perhaps a passage bird or just a local wanderer..

2 Siskins have also moved between our gardens and Charlies.

Finally.....not a Finch !!

Sand Martin....D350951  - yes the only bird we caught on the 28th March - last month.
This Sand Martin was ringed, presumably on passage, at Icklesham on 10th September 2013
All maps and photos ...Wendy
 An interesting morning ahead, we have a production company filming us ringing tomorrow !!