Saturday 12 December 2020

The early winter

For 12 years we have been studying Woodcock, mainly on sheep pasture. These birds are always caught at night by lamping and a hand net, often other species are caught too like Fieldfare, Skylark and Golden Plover.

 On our second visit to a new site, an upland plantation near Crymych we caught a Woodcock at dawn in a mist net - our first Woodcock in a mist net!  This site is situated in the hilltop between and above two of our main study farms.

 An opportunity to look at the ageing features that we use at night - in daylight. This is an adult showing pale tips to the primary coverts and the more flat end to the primaries.

The plantation on Frenni Fawr is at a height of 274 metres. We will mainly be ringing here to study migrating species such as Willow Warblers. A few visits over winter will give us an idea of birds that use the area throughout the year or as winter visitors, maybe Thrushes and Owls.  As well as ringing, all birds recorded on visits are entered into Birdtrack.

Although the plantation is surrounded by sheep fields there is a small patch of interesting dwarf Oak woodland, nearly at the summit of Frenni Fawr. It is the highest semi-natural woodland in Pembrokeshire. This article describes the woodland and it seems little is known about it's history and why the trees are dwarf.

Frenni Fawr woodland

Being so close to our ringing site we hope to learn a bit more about it and what species of birds feed or breed there, if any.

Further up the Teifi valley Arfon Williams with the assistance of locals is starting a new RAS for the Willow Tit. This will also become our third colour-ringing project, the others being Reed Buntings and Starlings.

 More on this new Willow Tit RAS from Arfon as the project develops.