Thursday, 21 August 2014

As (hopefully) seen on TV

The question might have been asked thus “Can you help me out with catching dippers for a filming session for Ray Mears’ new series?”

What was heard was “Whotcha! Want to meet Ray Mears?!”

Vaf practising his on screen his pole
handling technique
And so that is how it transpired that Vaf and Facey found themselves, chanting “Ray! Ray! Ray! Ray! Ray!” on their way to meet Prof Steve O(merod)  and get some BTO bling on some dippehs in front of Ray Mears (while not pointing and not drivelling “You’re Ray Mears, you are!”).
Mr Mears is a genuinely, genuinely, nice guy – friendly, chatty, and down to earth. He took the time to talk to us both and even listened to what we had to say (more than just “You’re Ray Mears, you are!”). He clearly cares about the world around him and the fact our species is royally screwing it up.

Steve wanted the big riparian three; dipper, kingfisher and grey wag. Water birds are like water buses, after a long wait for nothing four come along at once; in quick succession we missed two kingfisher, a dipper and a grey wag.
But the Gods of Ringing did smile on their loyal disciples and we soon caught a kingfisher. No sooner as the bird was on dry land it was a case of “ere, Ray! Hold this!” and off our merry pair went to extract two dippers, quickly followed by a grey wag.

Facey, Ray and Vaf. Mr Mears is clearly pleased to be in the
presence of the (in)famous Cardiff Ringers.  
The camera was pointed at us a good few times, thankfully as we took ages on our hair and makeup. So you might, just might, glimpse our overly excited grins on Ray’s (yeah first name terms) new programme to be aired in Feb 2015. But if we end up on the cutting room floor, we’ll be pleased with the fact that the dippers we caught made it on screen with Steve Ormerod and Ray Mears.

If you have a film sequence involving of ringing... if no one else can help... and if you can find them... maybe you can hire... The Cardiff Ringers*

(Cue Facey’s car rolling over and Vaf throwing an eco-tone pole at some trainees)

 *If locked in a warehouse we’d probably fashion a larger potter trap.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Gull Ringing It Is Then

Having missed the annual gull ringing last year in Cardiff City Centre & Surrounding Area, I was eager to receive the date from Rich, this was received, annual leave request put into employer for July 1st , leave granted, "Happy Days"

The activity was run like a military operation with Peter Rock, being the OC, RV Southgate House 09:00hrs, where we (Wayne Morris & myself) were greeted by Peter, bringing up the rear was Rich Facey & Ian Vaughan (That sound rude) should I say arriving a few minutes later was Rich & Ian

To the roof we went, where 3 Lesser Black Back Juvenile Gulls were rung, at this location a few nests had failed.

Further visited to the roof of WH Smith produced 3 LBBGU & 3 HERGU contributing to science and wearing new jewellery and a fancy plastic accessory (Darvic)

Visits  to Vitality/Henrys - Sainsburys - Boots produced a further 8 Juveniles

By far the largest breeding area was the roof of Wilkinsons (17) & Sainsbury (2) roof just off Newport Road, with another 19 Juveniles being added

Eagle eye Morris had viewed Juveniles on the roof of carpet right, the smooth talking Peter Rock secured permission from the store to grant us authorisation to go on the roof 3 LBBGU were ringed, however a visit a week earlier could of secured us a few more.

In total 39 Juveniles were rung 27 LBBGU  & 12 HERGU

A thoroughly enjoyable day with great company, huge thanks to Peter, Rich, Ian & Wayne, and the beer was pretty good at the end of the ringing activities

Myself arranging birds for further processing

Darvic Being Added To This Herring Gull

Monday, 21 April 2014

Communique from some bloke in Northern Ireland

Contrary to rumour, our Irish contingent, TT, has not in fact been held hostage pending a ransom. Were that the case, it is hoped that someone, somewhere, would come up with the 25p and a chewing gum needed to release him.

No, TT is still active on the Emerald Isle. Unfortunately his gloriously be-canopied site proved to be less productive than a very unproductive thing, with zero birds caught from his last 5 outings. Evidently the Ringing God, Sagi (it's Latin; Google it. See what I did there, huh? Yeah...), had decided that this was not the right site to conduct ringing operations so TT is currently searching for pastures new. Except that he won't be using pastures as that would be foolish. Phone numbers have been collected and ringing threatens to break-out any day now.

Fortunately for TT, who, for some obscure reason, continues to write in the third person, there has been the occasional outing to tide him over. A couple of birds were caught in the garden of a colleague, hereafter known as Hesford, for 'tis his name. With Hesford gaining his restricted C permit for his PhD study of mumblemumble willow farms, they have taken to ringing at one of his study sites where the catch is, while not huge, appreciable.

On our first outing, they... oh screw this, I'm confusing myself. On our first outing we caught several bullfinch and this glorious jay which, due to a lack of appropriate rings in Hesford's kit, is now swanning - or should that be jaying? - around sporting that most sought-after piece of avian bling, a Cardiff Ringing Group ring sequence. It's only a matter of time before the other jays see it and start throwing themselves into our nets in order to get their own.

We've been out again since and should be going out this week, if the weather holds up. It's a big site to there's plenty of scope for experimentation. Then, hopefully, I'll be closer to having a new permanent site or two and I can introduce more birds to the splendour of CRG rings.

'Til next time, toodle pip.

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.