Monday 15 July 2024

Storm Petrel studies

A little background to our increasing effort with Storm Petrels... 

Skokholm warden, Rich Brown, believes nest site availability is a limiting factor to the breeding population on the island, currently c2000 pairs. With the building of two Petrel Stations on Skokholm with their c 250 nest chambers and with Lundy and Ramsey now rat free there is a great opportunity for the population to increase.

This is Storm Petrel Station II on Skokholm, built and ready for the 2024 breeding season.

This herringbone front contains the entrance to almost 120 nest chambers

See the following link for the story of building Petrel Station I in 2016

Skokholm Petrel Station I

Our ringing at Strumble Head, North Pembs follows on from earlier studies by Ian Spence. He commenced Storm Petrel ringing at Strumble in 1983 and ringed for short spells, mostly in July every year from 1991 to 2003. In that time he ringed 847 birds and controlled 39 at Strumble.

Having concentrated our efforts in Ceredigion at Mwnt, for the reasons outlined above, we are now increasing our efforts at Strumble instead. So far this season we have captured 124 Storm Petrels including 9 controls. 

Ringing at Strumble - Stephen Hyam

Here are some of the movements resulting from our increased effort at Strumble Head this month. In our June blog we mentioned some other movements from West coast breeding colonies. We hope that our continuing study at our non breeding site adds to the picture of Storm Petrel movements.

Storm Petrel movements July 2024

Re-encounter reports from Strumble received so far this month..

This was the first re-encounter in South West Ireland for us
2720384  Strumble Head 22/06/2023
Illauntannig, Kerry 05/07/2024 379 days 276deg W D Manley

2739421 Strumble Head 18/07/2023
Skokholm Island 10/07/2024 358 days 40km SSW

2787231 Strumble Head 01/07/2024
Skokholm Island  11/07/2024 10 days 40km SSW

2739449 Strumble Head  26/07/2023
Skokholm Island    14/07/2024 354 days 40km SSW

and this month, re-encounters at Strumble...

2765615 Lundy Island 10/07/2023
Strumble Head  11/07/2024 367 days 96km NNW

2764817 Calf of Man 24/08/2021
Strumble Head 12/07/2024 1053 days 225 km S

2774902 Skokholm Island 20/07/2023
Strumble Head 13/07/2024 359 days 40km NNE

2765786 Bardsey Island    21/07/2022
Strumble Head 14/07/2024 1454 days 84km SSW

2547826 Little Saltee, Wexford      01/07/2022
Strumble Head        15/07/2024 745 days 104km E

The recovery history feature added this year to DemOn, the BTO online reporting tool, enables us to see that some Storm Petrels are also encountered in other locations between the ringing and our re-encounter dates.

As an example, the Storm Petrel ringed on Bardsey had also been re-encountered on the Lleyn peninsula

21/07/2020 Ringed Bae y Rhigol, Bardsey

31/07/2021 Porth Iago, Llangwnnadl

22/06/2023 Porth Iago, Llangwnnadl

14/07/2024 Strumble

The Storm Petrel ringed on Little Saltee had also been re-encountered in Cornwall

01/07/2022 ringed Little Saltee

18/06/2023 Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra

15/07/2024 Strumble

Strumble Head has the advantage of being a convenient site for visitors to come along to experience and learn more about our Storm Petrel ringing. Anyone is welcome to join us at a session.

One of our trainees, Anna Webberley, who works for Sea Trust , arranged a visit for some youngsters from the Marine Biology Club with their parents.

"Our Marine Biology Club had a fantastic time on Friday night on their trip to Strumble Head to see Storm Petrels being ringed with the Teifi Ringing Group! Everyone enjoyed learning more about the importance of bird ringing for conservation as well as getting to see these amazing seabirds up close. Both children and parents had a go at perfecting their ringing hold with Bernard the toy Gull, before getting the chance to help Teifi Ringing Group members release a Storm Petrel.

Thank you to the Teifi Ringing Group for letting us join the session and thank you to Stephen Hyam for photographing the evening!"

Sea Trust Marine Biology club at Strumble - Stephen Hyam

Rich D and Wendy J

Wednesday 3 July 2024

Summer species and recoveries

Regular ringing at Cors Caron (Ceredigion) is continuing to produce a variety of species, some not regular at our other sites. This juvenile Redstart and adult male Whinchat - fine examples.

Juvenile Redstart
Adult male Whinchat

Arfon is hoping that this year's CES style effort will result in Cors Caron becoming another CES for the TRG.

On the north Pembs coast our Linnet RAS site is continuing to catch well.

This leucistic Linnet stood out from the regular plumage birds. The last two sessions have produced mostly juvenile birds, presumably the adults now on second nesting attempts.

A colour ringed Osprey was around the Teifi from the 30th May until the 6th June.

Osprey 7H6 - Stuart Hall

Many thanks to several photographers for reporting this bird from Curlew Hide on the Teifi Marshes. It was one of a brood of three ringed 10km south of Inverness, on a platform that the nest was moved to after a couple of years of having the original nest site robbed in the mid 90’s. 

The birds have since been successful in all except one year and usually manage to fledge three chicks as they did in 2022 when Jon Brain ringed this one on 1 July. The nest has had a spectacular success rate for subsequent sightings including a bird seen in Guinea Bissau. Thanks to Jon Brain for the news and photos.

Osprey 7H6 at the time of ringing - Jon Brain

Pied Flycatcher studies...

Pullus Pied Flycatcher - Naomi

This link covers a summary of our Pembs locations, hopefully a summary of our Ceredigion studies to follow.

Pied Flycatchers in Pembs ...

The Group runs several nest box schemes and have added a new site this year, the National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen. Ellyn has been assisted by Andrew in finding existing boxes and monitoring them. Ellyn has written an article about the nest box work as part of Wales Nature Week 

Feathers and Fledglings: A Nesting Season at the Garden

June sees the start of our Storm Petrel monitoring. Five visits to our Storm Petrel sites so far this season, Mwnt and Strumble. 37 new birds and 2 that had been ringed elsewhere, Bardsey and Mwnt. We plan to increase our trapping efforts this summer and have demonsrations planned for local interested groups at our Strumble Head site.

Storm Petrel 2720399
Ringed Mwnt 25/06/2023
Re-encountered Strumble Head 12/06/2024

Storm Petrel   2788509
Ringed Bardsey Island 09/07/2023
Re-encountered Strumble Head 12/06/2024 339 days 86km SSW

Storm Petrel 2739416
Ringed Strumble Head 18/07/2023
Subsequently encountered Calf of Man 16/06/2024 334 days 225km N

Winter nightime studies....

Due to several of the Group's ringers spending spells in November and February ringing under the new moon in The Gambia, our winter farmland surveying and ringing at night has been reduced. This particularly affects our north Pembs farmland sites. Arfon is taking out trainees and his similar studies on Ceredigion and Carmarthen upland farms are producing excellent results and some interesting recoveries...

Woodock  EM42456

Ringed  Tan-lan, nr Ffarmers Carms 06/12/2023

Shot  Lake Yasnoe, Svetogorskiy, Leningrad Oblast, Russian Federation 13/05/2024

158 days 2239km ENE

Visiting ringers to our sites....

We are often in a position to welcome visiting ringers .. or observers to join or watch our activities

Jenny spent a few days with us ringing at CES, and both our main Reed Warbler RAS  and Reed Bunting RAS and colour ringing sites.

June was not a great month for several of our species with signs of poor breeding success. Hopefully as the weather improves and allows we will be more active in the reedbeds and across the Marshes and produce a more complete picture.

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Friday 31 May 2024

A late May summary

Reed Warblers are one of our RAS species on the Teifi Marshes. So far, 28 new, 8 returning birds have been re-encountered to the end of May. 

At Cors Dyfi, 5 new, 1 returning breeding female from last year and this control that was  ringed at Llangorse lake 5 years ago

Reed Warbler ANH2087

Ringed Llangorse Lake, Powys 20/08/2019

Re-encountered Cors Dyfi NNR 18/05/2024 1733 days 85km NNW

So far this spring 160 Sedge Warblers have been ringed on the Teifi Marshes, mostly birds on migration. Two were also caught that we had ringed in previous years. The biggest Sedge Warbler migration day was on the 4th May, a predictable date with 43 ringed and one with a Brussels ring. 

Two Chough recoveries ....

EY80581 ringed at a confidential site nr Newquay 24/05/2014

Re-encountered on the A487 as a road casualty 21/04/2024 3620 days

EZ08062 ringed at a confidential site nr Cardigan  21/05/2015
Re-encountered nr Moylegrove 19/05/2024 3286 days 

Chris was Whoosh netting Linnets for the RAS project when a Chough wandered in...

Pied Flycatcher monitoring is underway in several woodlands.  In Cwm Rheidol, a WTSWW reserve, Naomi has 2 breeding adults that were ringed in the same wood in 2021 as pulli and now nesting less than 200 metres from where they fledged. 

A summary of the Pied Flycatcher season to follow in a couple of weeks. Some of the Group have been helping Fledgemore RG with their large Pied Flycatcher RAS at the Gwenffrwd Dinas reserve. It will be interesting to compare breeding success in the different woods.

Dipper monitoring is also continuing with the outcome of several second broods awaited.

CES Studies..

At Cors Caron, Arfon is leading the preparation for a new 6 net CES. 

The Llechryd garden CES has started with predictably low numbers of adults until the young birds fledge. 

(Wendy J and Rich D)

Tuesday 30 April 2024

Sedge Warblers and an April summary

From mid April the first Sedge and Reed Warblers return to the Teifi Marshes. 

The first Sedge Warbler was ringed on the 14th April.

Sedge Warbler

A Sedge Warbler that had been ringed in France was caught on the 18th April, the first re encounter and a foreign control of our 2024 spring migration monitoring on the reserve near Mallard pond.

Sedge Warbler      9111953

Ringed   Audenge, Gironde, France 16/08/2023

Re-encountered  Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 18/04/2022 246 days 864km NNW

The recovery shows part of a usual movement of a "Teifi passage Sedge Warbler"  This bird being ringed on its way south along the Atlantic coast, and re encountered by us on it's return journey - I guess to Irish bogs....

Peak dates for Sedge Warblers are usually at the beginning of May when large numbers pass through on their way to breeding grounds.

Yellow Wagtail

The end of April is also the peak for migration of White Wagtails on their way to Iceland. A flock of 40 was flying around at dusk on the 16th. Weather has prevented many evening visits to the reserve so only 11 White Wagtails have been ringed so far this year. A small catch of 9 White Wagtails on the 20th April was brightened by this male Yellow Wagtail. Only the 3rd in 10 years to be ringed on the Teifi Marshes, the first spring bird.

Several of the group are busy monitoring Dipper nests so are often found wading in rivers and under bridges. 

One of Andrew's lower bridges 

Dipper news to follow as the season progresses. 

Some details of movements of our birds received from the BTO recently....

Starling LR08447

Ringed  Bancyffordd, near Llandysul Carms 30/11/2023

Found dead, probably hit a window,  Molfsee, Germany 03/04/2024 125 days 990 km ENE

We have had several recoveries of  Starlings to and from Latvia. This location in Germany would have been on its migration route back there

A very late report of this Sedge Warbler that had been ringed in France in 2022

Sedge Warbler 9710315

Ringed   Guerande, Loire- Atlantique, France 11/08/2021

Re-encountered  Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 04/08/2022 358 days, 555km NNW

Sedge Warbler     BBB2057

Ringed   Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 25/07/2023

Re-encountered    Doville, Manche, France 09/08/2023 15 days 376km SE

Siskin   AHV4327

Ringed     Ffarmers, Carms 15/03/2023
Re-encountered   Wivenhoe, Essex 26/03/2024 377 days 341km E

Carmarthenshire March 2023, Essex March 2024

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Saturday 23 March 2024

Early Spring arrivals....

Chiffchaffs were caught at a couple of sites from the 11th of March including three re-encounters from previous years. 
During last year we had only 6 similar re-encounters.

Now the earliest Willow Warblers ...

Two ringed on the 22nd, our previous earliest were ringed the 8th April, though we have heard a few before that date.

Earlier in the month a Firecrest was a surprise on the 7th, our first ever in March. 

Late news of a  Redwing    RY42097  ringed  on the Teifi Marshes, Pembs on the 13/10/2021
Shot  Soller, Mallorca, Spain 08/12/2022 421 days 1478km SSE

The nesting season for Dippers is well underway. Andrew has made some Dipper pipes this year for his Cwm Gwendraeth, Carmarthenshire sites and four out of six are already in use. At all of his sites, 7 nests have started, 2 with eggs and one where chicks have hatched.

Several of the bridges are on old industrial sites, now regenerating.

The number of Dipper boxes monitored by Alison in North Pembs have increased with both new sites and some taken over from Paddy Jenks.

Having visited myself earlier in the year, a few ringers with Kartong Bird Obs links recently spent a few days with friends involved with the West Oxfordshire Farmland Project.
The links below summarise our " farmland experience". A great weekend of learning and assisting with the WOFP work.

West Oxfordshire Farmland Bird Project tweet 16th March - shared experiences of farmland birds   

Corn Bunting

West Oxfordshire Farmland Bird Project tweet 19th March- A busy bird ringing survey on the Lambourn Downs


If interested, direct message them, Olly, Noah and Ian will be delighted to hear from you.
We will be returning and developing our relationship.

Reed Buntings...

We are continuing RAS (retrapping adults for survival) and colour-ringing of the Teifi Marshes Reed Buntings, ...
Many thanks to Chris for the meticulous preparation of another 120 combinations.

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Tuesday 12 March 2024

Upland waders to Ospreys

Details have been received of a Redwing with a Belgian ring caught in Wendy's garden near Cardigan on the 10th October 2023. 10X89020 was ringed on 14th November 2022 at Herentals, Antwerpen, Belgium.  330 days  658 km west.


Lamping mainly during the new moon periods has been good this winter. Both teams out using Thermal Imagers to survey and find birds.

Fieldfare - Brennig

Recent evenings surveying in the dark on our Frenni and Boncath sites. Frenni, 60 Golden Plovers, 12 Woodcock, 10 Fieldfare, 4 Snipe. The small groups of Woodcock rather than individuals spaced out on the hillsides indicative of migrating birds. 

On Boncath fields, our highest ever count of 26 Golden Plover and 8 Woodcock. A  Woodcock weighing just over 400g a sign of a migrant - most mid winter birds weigh nearer 300-320g. 

Whilst on the night of the 9th March - Arfon trapped his 250th Woodcock of the winter season. 

Woodcock - Arfon

No less remarkable, the 26 Jack Snipe trapped in his study area in North Carmarthenshire.. Also on one of Arfon's study farms, a retrap Jack Snipe that was ringed in the same location last March.

Jack Snipe - Brennig

Preparations are well under way for our nets around the late winter reed cut on the Teifi Marshes.....

We are on the last series of very high tides before White Wagtails, Hirundines and then the Sedge and Reed Warblers arrive. 

Currently, a few local or migrant Pied's roost every night, this retrap from August 2023 caught on the 5th March and interestingly our first ever re-encounter of a Pied Wagtail. Perhaps they are migrants....?

Retrap Pied Wagtail age 5

A few of the Group have just returned from Kartong Bird Observatory in The Gambia. A few surprises which may affect our ringing this Spring too. A very low number of Phylloscs, including a total absence of Chiffchaffs. Relatively high numbers of Common Whitethroat, Treecreepers and Woodchat Shrikes.

A couple of Ospreys caught and colour ringed too (caught in mist nets)

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Monday 29 January 2024

A Waxwing re encounter...

A Waxwing recovery...

Colour- ringed Waxwing - Jen Evans

A small number of Waxwings were seen daily on the Teifi Marshes from the 7th January, one of the seven on the 24th was seen to be colour ringed.  It was ringed by the Mid Wales Ringing Group near Treowen Leisure Centre in Newtown, Powys on 2nd January 2024. One of 25 ringed out of a flock of 67.  Thanks to Tony Cross for the ringing details.

An update from Tony about other movements of Waxwings ringed in Newtown...  Onward Waxwing movements

Arfon, out lamping with trainees, has captured and ringed the majority of the Group's Woodcock this winter. Several site faithful returning birds and this bird either a passage or a cold weather movement from usual wintering site.

Woodcock EM33240
Ringed Benington, Hertfordshire 09/01/2023
Re-encountered Glanwern, Carmarthenshire 06/01/2024 362 days 262km W

The Group has colour ringed local Chough pulli over several years for the The Cross and Stratford Welsh Chough project. 

A complete picture of the resightings has recently become available via DemOn. A total of 55 sightings of 6 of the colour ringed pulli.

Resighting locations of locally ringed Chough

Reed Buntings and management of the Teifi Marshes reed bed.

A colour-ringed Reed Bunting ringed in 2020, resighted 13 times

This week, the annual reed cut near Mallard hide was completed. As the sign in the photo below discusses, the removal of old reed, and the constant new growth does help the overall vigour of the reedbed. 

This is invaluable to our Reed Bunting RAS and colour ringing project. Before the reed grows, and at high tide the area is used by roosting Curlew and Snipe. 

By mid April this new reed cut should be alive with White Wagtails feeding prior to roost and the early Sedge and Reed Warblers singing.

The reed cut does mean we have to prepare new net rides, before the waterfowl start nesting. Rides to be ready for our migration monitoring starting with passage Sedge Warblers, our peak passage in the first week of May.


Alan Jones, a local thatcher and carpenter brings a small team and some specific equipment to come to cut and bundle the reeds for thatch. This video of Alan at work shows the technique .

How to harvest water reed for thatching

The AGM  was held at The Grosvenor Hotel in Cardigan on 25th January 2024. All business was successfully completed and plans were discussed for the coming year.

(Rich D and Wendy J)

Thursday 4 January 2024

2023 - some features of our year..

2023 was another year of progress for the Teifi Ringing Group.   Looking forward to the future, several new trainees have been welcomed into the Group.

Firstly we have chosen a Storm Petrel to feature. Our greater effort last summer, particularly at our original site of Strumble Head is producing some good results in controls, recoveries and numbers. This nicely complements our training and work at Mwnt.

A Strumble Head Storm Petrel

The table below is the Initial Year of Ringing Report for all TRG sites used in 2023. (not the number of re-encounters, but the number of individual birds)

A few key species are discussed in this post, put the species in the search box if you wish to look in more detail.

eg House Sparrow - this will link to posts from Andy discussing his RAS and colour ringing.

For controls and recoveries look at the tables listed in the side menu, or use the search box.


We have had some exciting colour ring sightings too, like this Norwegian marked Greenshank, ringed at Revtangen Ornithological Station on the 6th August and seen at The Webley in the Teifi estuary by Hannah and Liz 13 days later, 978km. Likewise with Brennig, a real passion to see and read colour rings.

Norwegian ringed Greenshank

The Group also has a long standing Reed Bunting colour ring project. Always great to receive some photos from regular and visiting photographers on the Reserve.  Reed Warblers are more difficult to observe, like Reed Buntings we have a long term RAS study, both studies have now been running for over 10 years.

Teifi Marshes, Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

The Teifi Marshes is still our main site, with 2200 birds processed this year, many thanks to Nathan Walton, staff and volunteers of the WTSWW.

White Wagtails are another species that use the reserve reeds and waterside in large numbers on passage to Iceland - our 3rd recovery in Iceland in 2023..

The Group's 4th RAS study is the Linnet. Led by Chris, is whoosh net based and has provided trapping experience leading to endorsements for several ringers from the Group and elsewhere. The site is also a fantastic cliff top site in the Pembs Coast National Park, many thanks to Roger and Gill Lewis for offering the site and their continued support. 

Linnet - Chris Jones

Although we are based on the Teifi Marshes, various members of the Group operate a little further afield, if you scroll back through posts you will see some of these sites and activities mentioned..

If you would like any further information or want to see or join any activity please contact Wendy or myself... (contact email form on blog)

Details of movements  received this year

 2023 Recoveries and Controls

Bringing us up to date...

Lamping... the moon allowed some good surveying activity in early / mid December..

A view from the Thermal Imager...the white spot being the bird.

Woodcock bill measuring....

Jack Snipe, our least encountered and ringed hill top waders species

Looking at the ringing totals for  Wales and our local counties, Skylarks look like an opportunity for a study.  Few ringed, very few recovered and  we may have a chance to target this species on a couple of our nocturnal survey sites.

Recently notified recoveries

Reed Warbler APR3879
Ringed Teifi Marshes, Ceredigion 06/08/2022
Re-encountered St Ouens pond, Jersey 09/08/2023 368 days 362km SSE

Herring Gull  GC48145
Ring read in the field by Brennig
Ringed   Central Bristol 23/06/2009  originally colour ringed
Resighted  New Quay 28/12/2023 5301 days 149km NW

(Rich D and Wendy J)