Friday, 23 December 2011

Thinking of Summer

Christmas ringing so far has been rather unproductive* (Bah-bleedin'-humbug). So with wet and windy weather gripping much of the country, a bit of a look back to summer is needed to lighten the mood.
We've been looking at the swallows breeding at the Cardiff Riding School (red marker) since 2006, and this year proved to be the second most productive year since then. This year, 20 pairs made their homes in the stables, stalls and barn, with at least one other in the indoor school building (think massive metal shed; its a bugger to monitor, so we don't report on those). Each year we produce a poster about the swallows' season for the Riding School's staff and punters; it gives the headline news from this season and you'll find it at the end of this post for your perusal.

View Swallow Sites in a larger map
There were a further 3 and 2 pairs respectively at Blackweir Ambulance Station (blue marker) and at Bute Park Nurseries (green marker); giving us a total of 27 or so pairs; not a bad total for an inner city location. We didn't do much nest recording at these latter sites but they fledged around 25 youngsters – you can do the maths for the total number of fledglings produced in the parks as a whole.

These additional sites also mean we were able to register the project as a RAS, albeit RAS Lite compared to the number of pairs covered by some Swallow RAS project.

We think we have found all the swallow breeding sites within the parks but if any local birders are reading this and know of any other sites out there, then please let us know (either post a comment here or email us at

As always we'd like to extend a big thank you to the staff of the Riding School, the Ambulance Station and the Nursery for allowing us access to the sites and putting up with us throughout the summer.

*e.g. yesterday; three potter traps, 6 hours, no birds...

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