Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Highland highlights before the Caribbean

Back in San Jose on our way to the Caribbean coast and time for a look back at the last few days of ringing and birding at Madre Selva in the Highlands of Costa Rica.
Birds have been coming to our garden feeder. Flame-coloured Tanagers are the most common.

Tropical Kingbird the most unusual and never seen in the garden before in 5 years.

Clearly the best garden bird was this adult male Slaty Flowerpiercer, a retrap originally ringed by Richard a couple of years ago. See this blog from 2014 showing the same leucistic feathering

Equally sought after for its unusual bill structure was this Peg-billed Finch, not caught in the garden but in one of our standard nets adjacent to Highland dairy pasture.

This pasture edge scrub is also home to Flame-throated Warblers, one of our less common Highland Warblers.

The migrant Thrushes haven't started returning yet but the first returning Warblers have been caught in small numbers.
Black and White Warbler

and Wilson's Warblers

 We are just seeing our first young resident Catharus Thrushes, both Black-billed Nightingale-Thrushes

and Ruddy-capped Nightingale-Thrushes. The pattern of the growth bar in the tail supporting the ageing of this juvenile

We expect to catch our first migrating Thrushes within hours of arriving in Tortuguero on Tuesday.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Back in Costa Rica...CES style

Wendy and I are back here in Costa Rica - standard banding with CRBO -  Costa Rica Bird Observatories. A couple of days in the Highlands, and some birds to show for our efforts...

 Collared Redstarts  are as common here as Chiffchaffs are in the UK at the moment.

We have spent time with some members of the Scientific and General Boards of  CRBO who were staying here with us in Madre Selva.

Saying goodbye this morning to Greg Butcher, C.John Ralph US Forest Service and CJ's wife Carol. It was a real pleasure to spend time with CJ again, having first met him at Long Point Bird Observatory and hear of the early days of setting up the current CRBO sites.

....deep in conversation with Greg too

The first migrants are with us, Louisiana Waterthrushes and Wilson's Warblers caught,  Black and White warblers seen.

Today has been great for endemics (to Highland Costa Rica and Panama) including this Large-footed Finch.

Not an endemic but ..a great name....Streak-breasted Treehunter.....

Bird of the Day....Barred Becard. ..!!

This an adult female caught during standard banding at our Home site this morning. The first that I have caught in 5 years.
Recaptures today included 2 Ruddy-capped Nightingale Thrushes, a Black-cheeked Warbler and a Yellow-thighed Finch - all were juveniles when we ringed them last Sept /Oct.

Back in Wales, some of the group are now visiting Mwnt, Linnets, Meadow Pipits, and general migrant birds the targets. Some numbers soon.

(photos by Wendy )

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Summer on the Teifi - a round up

CES 2016  - birds we don't catch annually...but we did this year....!


 Pied Flycatcher,

 Willow Tit,

 Grasshopper Warbler,

Otherwise CES was generally poor for numbers of most species. Now the CES season is complete, the BTO will soon publish a summary of national and regional results.

Over the last month we have been active on Poppit beach at night, passage waders are the target. Chris has introduced mist netting elsewhere to complement our lamping. This has improved our Dunlin totals considerably, with c50 caught this month and a Redshank.

 Ringed Plovers are more scattered on the beach and more successfully caught with hand net....

as was this Bar-tailed Godwit..!

A brief look at stats for June, July and August in the Teifi Marsh reed beds (not the CES site).....
Birds ringed included
301 Sedge Warblers, and 1 foreign control.
208 Reed Warblers, - great for our RAS project.
7 Cetti's Warblers, - maybe below average...
22 Reed Buntings - poor for our RAS project.
and 9 Kingfishers - above average.

We have already had recoveries of 2 of the August Sedge Warblers.
S322035 was ringed on 5th August by Tristian and controlled at Westdown Plantation, Wiltshire by the North Wilts Ringing Group 9 days later, 208km on the 14th August.
S161775 was ringed on the 15th August, also by Tristian on the 15th August and caught 9 days later at South Milton Ley, Devon 208 km on the 24th August.

News back from the BTO of ringing details of the 2 French ringed Sedge Warblers we caught this summer. One was ringed at Tour aux Moutons, Loire Atlantique on 28th August 2015 and caught on the Teifi Marsh on 5th May 2016. The other was ringed also ringed on the west coast of France at Braud - et- Saint Louis, Gironde on 13th August 2015 and caught by us on the 21st July 2016

During the Autumn dispersal and migration of TRG members, ringing will still be ongoing. There will be  ringing sessions on the Teifi Marshes and at Mwnt for Linnets and general migration.
Keep an eye on the blog for news from near and far.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

CES season over....blow in the Autumn

754... our total of captures during CES 2016 and not the lowest season for us. We captured 54 new and 16 retraps today including 32 Chiffchaff.

Our lowest season was in 2012 with only 672 captures followed by 732 in 2013. Following this poor breeding season I presume next year will be low with a smaller breeding population resulting from this year's poor productivity. Details on some individual species to follow another day from 8 years of our current CES. Amazing that in 2009 our CES total was 1265 and in 2010 - 1483 birds..!

For CES last week we had 11 people available so we opened nets at our Mallard site too. Nice to welcome Alastair Wilson back for a visit after his time on Bird Island, South Georgia with Albatrosses, Penquins and Petrels. He joined us over by Mallard hide with Andrew who was delighted with a new species, Grasshopper Warbler adding variety to the commoner reed bed species.

Our Acro and general ringing at our Teifi Marsh sites will continue for a while and we will start our intensive Autumn migration monitoring at our CES site, where autumn surprises have included Wryneck (2012)

Common Rosefinch, Siberian Chiffchaff, Yellow-browed Warblers and Firecrests too....

Ryan has just gained his C permit

With assistance from Chris, he has already set up a small woodland site close to his home.  Nuthatch a new species for him already, ringed there on day one.

Charlie is a new member of the Group and he has recently gained his A permit, a Trainers endorsement for Charlie next !

So let the Autumn blow in..!!
               ....another Yellow-browed Warbler would be nice....

(Photos Andrew, Ryan, Tommy and Wendy)

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.