Thursday 26 July 2018

July activities - Nightjars to Stormies

Various exciting ringing from members this month both with our Group and as guests of other ringers and Groups. 
A few members have contributed words and pictures here of their experiences.... ..... from CES visits to Nightjars, Stormies and Swallows.
Our first Group visit of the year to Mwnt to catch Storm Petrels was successful 

 and provided a new experience for several of our trainees. 

Angela gave us her thoughts about the night and her first experiences as a potential trainee " "As a newcomer to the world of bird ringing, I thought my experience with the Teifi Ringing Group couldn’t get much better after being asked to remove a somewhat larger bird than I had been used to. With some trepidation, I removed the bird from the bag and was delighted to see the beautiful electric blue plumage of a kingfisher. To hold a bird only usually glimpsed as an azure flash streaking past was very special. However, on a moonless night on the edge of a cliff, we waited for another bird I had only read about and thought unlikely I would ever see - the storm petrel. The lure brought in 4 in total and I was surprised to discover they are much smaller than I had expected and have a smell of lanolin! The one I released sat on the edge of a precipice until it flew off into the night and out to sea. A magical moment." 

That night at Mwnt 14th July 2018 we also caught a Storm Petrel that had been ringed on Bardsey on 26th July 2016. 

Another nocturnal activity that our members have been taking part in is ringing Nightjars. 
This note is from Andrew 
 "My highlight this month was naturally the invitation to appreciate & experience Nightjar. I originally encountered them as a species while in Gibraltar last year, and my excitement was in then realising that through migration they can equally be seen in Brechfa which is quite close to where I live. Seeing any species locally is naturally far more rewarding, and also provided a nice surprise in being able to follow & be shown these chicks." 

 Spot the well-camouflaged Nightjar! (photo Andrew) 

Charlie has also been successful in catching a Nightjar at his ringing site, Fygyn Common. "On my 5th attempt I eventually caught and processed a Nightjar as an adult male at Fygyn Common. Prior to this I have had a net erected and on other occasions I just had the sound playing and on all occasions I did not hear any churring of Nightjar and never spotted one flying around either. I consider this Nightjar may be a lucky catch because I was not aware of any indicators suggesting there was one flying around. What I am sure about is they come out of the Brecfa forest and fly around Fygyn Common catching moths. The evening I caught the Nightjar there were plenty of moths flying around and several caught in the net, so I was not too surprised to have caught it. 

 "Nightjar are such stunning well camouflaged birds. Around their mouths they have what are called rictal bristles as can be seen in the head picture of the bird. It is believed these prominent bristles are used to help them direct moths into the gape of their very large mouths."

 (Photos - Charlie) 

The CES season continues with all sessions so far successfully completed. Although variety and numbers are down there have been some new species for Alison.... 
 "The July highlight for me has been the opportunity to ring a Storm Petrel, but I have also been fortunate to ring another 5 new (for me) species as well" The new species included Treecreeper, Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat and Sand Martin. All species that we only catch in small numbers.

 Charlie was the guest of his old ringing group to ring Goshawks in the nest... "Occasionally members of the Teifi Ringing Group get invited to help other ringing groups with their projects. I was invited to help with such a project to ring Goshawk pulli in England at the beginning of the month. Three pulli were lowered from the nest all were in a healthy condition and quite large. BTO and Darvic rings were fitted, wing length, weight, beak to back of the head, beak to cere and tarsus measurements were all taken. Birds were then safely returned to the nest." 

Swallows are starting to gather in large numbers in the evening over the reed bed on the Teifi Marsh. A couple of sessions of roost ringing have been successful with some Sand Martins ringed as well. Mallard Pond is always a pleasant place to be at dusk and we have had the opportunity to talk about ringing and show some birds to interested visitors. 

Early mornings see us back there to start our long running migration monitoring. Sedge and Reed Warblers have started to arrive on their return migration. Also we are catching good numbers of juvenile Reed Buntings to colour ring for our BTO project looking at adult survival (RAS)