Sunday, 9 February 2014

New Nest Recording Site Now Ready For The 2014 Breeding Season And Beyond

The new site at the works location of Martin Thomas (Billy Wizz), has now been completed with the sighting of 15 various type nesting boxes, made by Martin & Teifion over the previous year, as well as this site various other sites will be monitored, the nest box outcome results will be forwarded to the BTO as part of the Nest Recording Scheme

We look forward to some new tenants for the forthcoming breeding season and beyond

Friday, 13 December 2013

Poultry in Motion II

Way back when in 2010 GR03863 was ringed as a juv at Cosmeston Lakes. We heard nothing more of it until it's ring was read in Greater Manchester. And that was the last we heard of GR03863.

Until recently when we heard via Kane Brides that GR03863's ring had been again read in the field in Greater Manchester. We could tell you more but to be honest Peter Aker who read the ring has done the job on his blog. There is even a map!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Make The Effort And Reap The Rewards

Rich,James, Wayne and Martin visited CBWR for a scheduled ringing session and were rewarded for their patience with the processing of this beauty

This species undergo a complete summer moult and therefor it was not possible to age this male

Other processed species included Cetti Warbler - Reed Bunting & Starlings

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Cardiff Bird Ringers Travel To Pastures New

Martin & Teifion had an early start to join members of the Gower Ringing Group at  their site at Oxwich.

Species Caught : Meadow Pipit - Robin - Long Tailed Tit - Blue Tit - Great Tit- Goldcrest - Cetti Warbler and wait for it FIRECREST to the delight of Owain as this was a target species for the site

Special thanks go to Owain, Charlie, Heather, Cedwyn and Keith for our warm welcome
See below photograph of Firecrest & Goldcrest

Photograph Courtesy of Teifion Thomas Bird Images
Further images available on Gower Ringing Group Blog

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Making the most of migration

Well since a trip to Flat Holm island to monitor migrants was called off due to blustery conditions, the only option was to monitor at our usual haunts. The bay was the ideal substitute and a modest number of birds were caught - mainly willows and chiffs with a splattering of blackcaps and reed warblers. The later are now getting thin on the ground  (much to Vaf's relief) and migration for the species presence in the country is petering out.

Oh yes, what would science be without a graph. This one from BirdTrack
showing the reporting rate of reed warblers showing reed warbler migration
nearing its end.

The black caps we caught were very chunky and some had some major fat stored up - giving Facey a run for his money. But the stars show went to a spotted flycatcher and a mippit. The former was only caught for the first time at the site in 2011 but has put in an annual appearance since although at very low numbers. The mippit was only the twelfth we have caught; the first eleven all being caught in 2009!

Separating mippits and trippits involves things like measuring the hind claw. 

Close up of the meadow pipits head with data sheets in the back ground.

A picture of a meadow pipit to illustrate the fact we caught a meadow pipit.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Late in the Season

Swallows seem to be particularly unpredictable this year. I very recently received permission to ring at a farm where a surveyor counted around 40 breeding pairs. Permission seemed to come far too late for me to do much of anything, but reports from a few colleagues around the UK, including the venerable Facey, suggested it was worth a shot. It seems that while some birds have finished breeding for the year, others are occupied by their second broods and still others have laid their third clutch.

I got out to the farm yesterday to find all three scenarios in one place. The vast majority of nests were empty, two had chicks which will have fledged in  a few days time, and several contained eggs. Only one of the clutches was definitively cold so there's the possibility that some birds are trying to get one late brood in. I'll go back in a week or so to double-check.

Over 50 in the air, 1 caught. Result. There were only one pair with a brood in the building, to be fair.

I don't have short nets to cover exits but did manage to find space for a 12m and caught one adult female while we were there. It wasn't evening and the sun was low, so the nets were far too visible.

There were plenty of swallows feeding over surrounding fields. If I have time I'll try to figure out where they're roosting.


Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Eyes Have It

A very quiet morning at Cardiff Bay yesterday was very much a case of "quality over quantity". A meagre catch of the usual warblers was punctuated with a new Cetti's, a Kingfisher and a species we don't catch very often...

Ti looks on expectantly as Pliers removes the star of the morning from a bag...

Behold! A sparrowhawk! We catch these often but they
tend to leave the net before we get to them...

The eyes have it! You can't fail to be impressed by the eyes of a sparrowhawk.

Ti with our other star. Kingfishers are always impressive.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Swan round up

So a little while ago me along with my very small car and even smaller tent trundled off down to Abbotsbury to round up some swans!

As usual the day started nice and early which was thoroughly appreciated after a blustery night in the tent! The canoeists headed out on to the water and the volunteers began to walk out into the shallows in order to guide the moulting and therefore flightless swans into the pen. With some gentle encouragement and only a couple escapees, the swans were quickly penned up! 

With the help of a 'few' volunteers and canoeists we
managed to round up exactly 600 swans!

The ringing stations were set up and the swans began to pile in, of course directed straight to the trainees! From what I heard there was a food station where hot dogs, burgers and sandwiches were available but I'm sure Rich will be pleased to here that a swan-free moment was never found to sample any!

By the end of the morning all swans were ringed, weighed, measured, sexed (which was interesting....) and released back onto the water. As great as the day was I must say I am glad its a biennial event as I feel it may take that long to recover! 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

The Circle of Data

A week or so ago while chatting in the pub with my pal Sam, we came to the subject of the excellent Project Splatter *- the coordinator of which is his housemate.

Sam mentioned that he'd found a squished swallow near the Ambulance Station - he'd take a picture of it for his house mate, who noticed it was colour ringed. Of course I became excited! A colour ringed swallow in Cardiff had to be one of ours! But only two colour rings were on show... Easy, we caught all 10 adults at the Station so just check the notebook... oh, no it wasn't one of those... hmmm.

With 6 Red over Purples and 6 Purple over Reds to choose from, the identity of our swallow looked to remain a mystery. Until last night when Sam brought the now very, very, very splattered swallow to the same pub to complete the circle of data.

Our mystery swallow hatched on 27/07/2012 at the Cardiff Riding School in 2012, (one of 4 nestlings of a second brood). She was ringed L224778 on 06/08/2012, the lightest of her brood at 21.1g . She died on or just before 24/07/2013 having lost a fight with a motor vehicle. The day after we heard of her demise we found out it looked as if a sixth pair had moved in to the station - she was likely one of those before her untimely end having made it back from Africa.

This is genuinely a picture of the clutch of eggs L224778 hatched from in 2012.
Rumour has it she is the one of the left...

Although its a sad end to a beautiful creature, L224778's short life has
contributed to science in several ways; as well as to the BTO's RAS scheme
and ringing scheme, her early days will be included in the dataset of projects
as diverse as shell maculation, nestling growth, and female fecundity. And of
course she contributed to the  Project Splatter. A fair bit for a small bird.
* Project Splatter is a citizen science project based at Cardiff Uni that collates UK wildlife road casualty data using social media. Project Splatter collates UK wildlife road casualty data via Twitter ( or @SplatterProject) and Facebook with the aim to identify roadkill 'hotspots' for future mitigation projects and help preserve our wildlife.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

A Productive Morning

Greetings from Northern Ireland! It was lovely in the forest this morning. The canopy provided excellent protection from the sun and a light breeze payed through on occasion, lifting the heat and the small biting insects along with it. Much of the morning was spent with a coffee in one hand, a book in the other. Occasionally I'd rouse myself to tend the nets. This, almost predictably, is where, time and again, my morning came apart. Between 4:30 and 10am, three birds hit the nets. I'm not allowed to post without including a picture of a bird, it's an old charter or something, so here's the second 3J Robin of the morning:

It's not quite a Sparrowhawk, Kingfisher or Wryneck but it'll do.

It goes without saying of course that the forest was full of birdsong and movement, most of it 20 - 30ft up. It's probably time I explored another part of my site. The Estate is quite large and while I'm sure my current area will be good in the winter, especially with some tapes playing, the canopy is altogether too tall and too mature for much to come to the level of the nets. Here's a picture of one of my nets so you have an idea of what I'm dealing with:

The black stick down the bottom is, of course, the pole. The canopy extends to the top of the frame.

I'm sure there's a more appropriate summer ringing site somewhere on the Estate, I just need to find it.