Wednesday 29 December 2021

December on hills and in gardens

As December draws to a close with a spell of wet and windy weather offering few opportunities for ringing, we look back at the last few weeks.

The third most frequently encountered species was Woodcock. No surprise as lamping them at night is possible in windy weather. Arfon has been busy on his local upland sites near Ffarmers including 6 birds ringed in previous years. Woodcock are very faithful to their wintering sites as this example on a farm near Boncath shows.

EZ73664 was ringed there on 14th November 2020 and we re-encountered it this year on the 2nd December very close to its original ringing location. Every time a Woodcock is caught we record the GPS and plot them on Google Earth

To give an example of the scale of our historic data these are the Woodcock caught over the last 10 years in just 6 fields

Other species ringed at night this month included Snipe, Jack Snipe, Fieldfare, Golden Plover, Skylark, Redwing and Meadow Pipit. We plan to introduce our new trainees to lamping over the next few weeks.

Starlings were the most frequently ringed species, nearly all caught in various traps rather than mist nets. The one subsequent encounter listed below was a bird with a Belgian ring in Andy's garden. We are still waiting for details from the Belgian ringing scheme.

December 2021 totals in gardens, farms and Teifi Marshes

Three of the group have recently bought these walk in traps from Jed Andrews, South West Norfolk Ringing Group. Pictured here as we all excitedly un packed the trap when it was delivered during a ringing session.

Thanks to Jed for designing and supplying these. Although currently being used in gardens we plan to use them for a wider range of species soon.

Looking at the table of captures it can be seen that there is a high proportion of subsequent encounters. Most of the Reed Buntings and many of the House Sparrows are re-sightings of colour ringed birds showing the importance of this work. We are grateful to the valuable re-sightings by photographers on the Teifi Marshes and would like to thank Colin Dalton and Tommy Evans in particular

Colour-ringed Reed Buntings, Colin Dalton

News received this month of a Sedge Warbler from the Teifi Marshes on its autumn migration. We have many such movements but this one is further south than most.

Sedge Warbler ARP9540

Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 12/08/2021

Subsequent encounter Audenge, Gironde, France 27/08/2021 15 days 865 km SSE

We will be posting year end totals and a summary in mid January.

Wendy J and Rich D

Thursday 2 December 2021

Warblers and variety in November

November started with a good session at our site in the Pentood part of the Teifi Marshes with a very late Reed Warbler and unusually for the site, 2 Stonechat.

On the 10th, a Siberian Chiffchaff was ringed in Pentood, to be followed by 3 further birds on the 16th and 17th at our River View Point site on the Teifi Marshes.

Siberian Chiffchaff

A look back into the Group's history and our first and only previous Siberian Chiffchaff on 15th October 2015   "An interesting Chiffchaff"

Our catching of Siberian (tristis) Chiffchaffs is part of a widespread arrival across the southwest this autumn - we have caught  10 collybita  and 4 fulvescens type Chiffchaffs this month too.

Recent news of Chiffchaff  KCC988 ...

Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 09/08/2021

Subsequent encounter Skokholm Island 20/09/2021 42 days 61km SW

On the 5th November this Sparrowhawk and two Kingfishers amongst the 77 Redwings caught.


By the end of the month 260 Redwings had been ringed, mainly on the Teifi Marshes but also in a young woodland in Llechryd.

A good number of Crests have been ringed this month, 58 Goldcrests and 1 Firecrest on the 17th.


The Group have captured 25 Firecrests in the last 10 years including one from Belgium, 16 of them in November.

But where are our Firecrests and Yellow-browed Warblers this year ?? Perhaps December will provide some late season birds.....

Starlings have been seen in increasing numbers over the last few weeks

241 ringed, mainly by Andy near Llandysul. One Starling that Andy has caught twice this month in his garden had been ringed in Lithuania.

Starling KE14864  

Ringed by the Lithuanian Ringing Centre at Silutes, Lithuania 16/06/2020

Subsequent encounter Bancyffordd, Carmarthenshire  29/11/2021   531 days 1717 km WSW 

As it was ringed in June it is likely that  Lithuania was it's  breeding area.

Starling KE14864

Not many G rings are used at our garden ringing sites..

So this 2cy Buzzard was quite an achievement in Chris's whoosh net- slightly different from the Corvids including a few Jays caught recently.


To end November, this Woodcock with an abnormally short bill was ringed by Arfon. 


It measured just 57 mm (bill to skull), presumably a healthy juvenile arriving in mid Wales to winter from it's natal area much further east.

(Rich D and Wendy J)