Monday, 15 August 2016

Sedge Warblers and Swallows

Sedge Warblers are on the move.
One juvenile we ringed on 26th July was already in Dorset, 221 km away 4 days later. This was caught by Ian Dodd ( @LittleseaObs )
As in previous years, peak passage occurs in the 2nd week of August on their Autumn migration.
On Sunday 14th, 41 Sedge Warblers were ringed in a few nets around Mallard pond on the Teifi Marsh taking us to over 100 this month so far.

This was a good session teaching our newest trainees, Andrew and Tristian with a juvenile Kingfisher being the highlight for them

The 6th juvenile Kingfisher this year

Juvenile Reed Warblers are making up the rest of the bulk of the birds in the reed bed nets.

By night hundreds of migrating Swallows are roosting in the reeds. A good catch of 89 last night, mostly juveniles. A roost session last week was a special day for our visiting young ringer Jacob, from Northants RG as the first bird was a Grasshopper Warbler, a new species for him. A big thanks to his Dad who helped with the admin during a busy hour when 61 Swallows were processed.
CES 10 was completed last week. Our quietest ever with just 29 birds compared to the bumper year in 2011 when we caught 108. Highlights were a couple of juvenile Garden Warblers and some Blackcaps.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Teifi Starling to Lithuania

News today from the BTO of a Starling ringed by us on the Teifi Marsh on 20th November 2014 and caught by a ringer in Ventes Ragas, Silutes, Lithuania this June.

573 days  1737 km
Ventes Ragas, where it was caught is one of the oldest bird ringing stations in Europe. They catch a lot of Starlings, 14,626 were ringed there this June.

This is one of the 19 Starlings ringed that evening, one of thousands that roost on the Teifi Marsh in winter

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Roost ringing and 2 French Sedgies

A control juvenile Swallow was among the 30 caught last night on the Teifi Marsh. It will be interesting to see where a bird with the ring from the series Z907 was ringed, obviously very recently.

We now have 4 trainees and with a keen Biology student home for the holidays from Oxford Uni as well it was good to be able to introduce some of them to roost ringing in the reed bed.

Every evening from about 20.30 the numbers of Hirundines over the marsh builds to several hundred. This month we have caught 65 Swallows and 1 Sand Martin.

(photo thanks to Dean)
Pied Wagtails come in to roost a bit earlier and 19 have been ringed so far this month.

As usual we are out ringing early every morning, weather permitting, to continue our long term monitoring of migration through the Teifi Marsh. Sedge Warbler numbers are increasing and a surprise earlier in the week was a French control. Although we catch several French ringed birds in Spring, it was our first in July but this year this was swiftly followed by another French control, this time with a Strasbourg not Paris ring.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

CES 7....a yearly comparison,

On July 7th 2013 I wrote...."CES 7 this year compared to last year.   45 new birds this year..31 last year.  18 retraps this year..28 last year
Only one piece of data, but supports the better breeding season this year following a poor breeding last year producing fewer birds to recapture. 14 new Chiffchaffs and 7 Reed Warbler recaptures too..."

This year during CES 7 we captured  52 new birds and only 13 retraps. A surprisingly  low proportion of retraps. The Totals of  CES 7 for 2010-2016 are at the end of the post.

We recaptured a male Redstart ringed during CES 5. Back in 2013 Redstart was a not a species that we caught annually, we now appear to have Redstarts breeding more locally. The photo is of a juvenile taken caught during CES 7 last year. Perhaps a trend shown in the latest BTO Breeding Bird Survey report just published.

The most numerous species caught was Chiffchaff, 15 new and 2 retrap.

Reed Warblers have always been a feature of our CES, 7 new and 4 retraps this session.
We have a RAS site nearby for Reed Warblers, but we are interested in the Reed Warbler data provided by CES too. This season we have caught over 132 Reed Warblers, nearly all adults so far. I have a feeling that the 49+ new adults is unusual for to do !

Two of our trainees Dai and Dean had the chance to learn how to fit colour-rings on Reed Buntings, another species we are studying, and attempting a RAS project. Two adults and a juvenile were caught.

A good proportion of our Reed Bunting recapture records are from photographers. Many thanks particularly to Tommy and Colin. Great to add a bit of Citizen Science to a visit to the Teifi Marshes Reserve.

Three new juvenile Treecreepers were the other highlight of this CES visit.

TOTALS for CES 7   New      Retrap
2010     45   23
2013 4518
2015 6815

Monday, 4 July 2016

More juvs and French controls

The first juvenile Sedge Warblers were ringed on the Teifi Marsh yesterday

Also the first juvenile Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler.

Not an easy development for some young. Irregular feeding producing extreme growth bars in the feathers as this tail shows in one of today's juvenile Reed Warblers.

Although this is an old paper, the abstract does explain growth bars nicely.
Ptilochronology, Feather growth bars as indicators of nutritional status.

CES 6 was done last week with  just 48 birds caught compared to 82 on the equivalent CES last year.
The most interesting catch was a juvenile Willow Tit, caught with the adult that we ringed last week. As noted in a previous blog it would be nice to think that these are breeding on the reserve.
Other Tit species were notable by their absence, a different story on our garden feeders where Blue and Great Tit juveniles are present in large numbers.

Regular readers of the blog will remember that we caught a good number of Sedge Warblers on migration this Spring including 1 Belgian, 10 French and 4 UK controls. We have now had details from the BTO of another two of the French birds. Both ringed on Autumn migration last year.
FRP.7828959 was ringed in Sandouville, Seine Maritime on 6th August 2015.
FRP.7843214 was ringed in Mars-Ouest on 21st August 2015.
The latest two have been added to the map of other Spring 2016 Sedge Warbler controls already received. We are now just waiting for ringing details of 5 French and 1 Belgian controls.

We don't catch many Storm Petrels at Mwnt but last night 11 were caught, all new. This was our second highest catch at Mwnt. 13 on 1st July 2014 included 3 controls and a retrap.

Weather permitting, we are planning the next CES for Wednesday 6th July

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Skokholm revisited

Another visit to Skokholm to help mainly with colour ringing Great Black-backed Gull chicks. This is part of the long term monitoring of survival and recruitment into the breeding population. The largest chick we ringed was already practicing stretching its wings and jumping.

This is one of the smaller chicks, back in its sheltered spot after ringing

and these were three from the same nest.

We were joined by Ieuan and Viola from the BTO who were out on the island with a group of Cardiff University students on their long running annual field course

Oystercatcher chicks were also colour ringed joining the Pembrokeshire Ringing Group wader study.

Once a year, a couple of hours are spent in Crab Bay mist-netting Puffins to top up up the colour ringed study population. Visitors to the island enjoy contributing to the study by looking for colour ringed birds in the study plot.

More about the Puffin ringing on The Skokholm Blog

We also caught some Passerines using mist nets, spring traps and running the Helgoland traps.  A lot of juvenile Wheatear were fledging around the island and a couple were ringed.

The wardens and volunteers were busy all week doing a whole island Storm Petrel Census, part of the 10 year national survey of the UK's breeding Storm Petrel population.  Vicky and Erin here using an endoscope to look into a Storm Petrel nest hole, though most of the surveying is using playbacks.

The count was featured on the BBC news website last week "Project to count Storm Petrels off Pembrokeshire Coast"

Cardiff University have been running a field course on Skokholm for many years, also held on Skomer for 3 years while the island was shut. The students spent the week doing various projects and gave interesting reports on their work at their end of course barbecue.

Some of them joined us catching Manx Shearwaters along the study transect at night.

Captures this year are averaging 50% retraps from previous years. Nice that the first Manxie we caught was one we ringed last June, back after its long journey to the South Atlantic.

Another very worthwhile week on Skokholm.
A stay on Skokholm is highly recommended. Ringers are welcome. See the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales website for information
Staying on Skokholm

Meanwhile, Andrew, our trainee, was out on Skomer helping with the Manx Shearwater research.  Here is a young chick being weighed

 Back to the Teifi now and CES is planned for Thursday.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

CES 5 ....before we wander

We managed a very successful CES 5 despite some forecasts of less than helpful weather. 79 of 18  species were captured, including our first Long-tailed Tit party of the season...9 new and 4 retraps.
Highlights included new adult Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Tit and this moulting adult male Redstart.

Redstarts breed nearby and we catch the occasional wanderer. Lesser Whitethroats breed on the site in small numbers, and this was our 4th Willow Tit, although the first adult. Willow Tits are rarely recorded around the Teifi, we know they breed around 5 miles away at Ffynone wood, a site connected via a tributary of the Teifi.

Nice to think our CES Willow Tit was from a closer breeding site. Two new adult Reed Warblers added interest with another three returning birds caught for the first time this year, two from 2013. Cettis, Garden Warbler and this juvenile Treecreeper were new species for our two trainees present, Andrew and Dai.

As well as ringing on the Teifi Marsh we are continuing to ring in our gardens and at Mwnt. At Mwnt we are continuing our Linnet study as well as ringing some other species including Stonechats.

Juvenile Stonechat on the left and adult (age 5) male on the right.

This week at Mwnt we also ringed a few House Sparrows wandering to feed from the nearby farm. Juveniles of many species are now on the garden feeders including Goldfinch, Siskins, and Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Last month, Wendy was surprised to catch this Redstart in the garden.

It turns out that the nest must be very close as the fledglings were on the washing line this week !

No ringing planned in the coming week as two of us are going to Skokholm again and others are off on holidays.
Pictures Andrew, Charlie and Wendy