Sunday, 15 January 2012

An Inlet Full of Oyks

Yesterday saw the Gower ringing group head out to Burry inlet with the hopes of netting a good number of Oystercatcher. It was touch and go for a couple of days but favourable conditions and a large flock led to Billy Whizz, Tai and Thon heading out for some time on the sand.

It took a while to fire the nets as the birds weren't being entirely cooperative and were also being shepherded by a thoroughly unhelpful crow (which was also netted and ringed). Once fired and with everything up and running, Tai somehow took over organising the holding pens and even got to ring a few birds himself.

An oik holding an Oyk. How often does that happen?

The total catch came in at 172 birds with 10 re-traps and one crow. Thanks to everyone who organised and attended the catch for making it such a fantastic day.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Don't You Just Love It?

When a plan works (for once). Set a net for a Grey Wagtail, catch a Grey Wagtail.

Age and sex please you trainee types, and your reasons.

Also, re-trapped today, Blue Tit P408722, ringed 13-Mar-05, age code 5, making it about 7½ years old.  The oldest known from ringing records was aged 9 years 9 months 2 days (set in 1990)

 Update, OGC detail:


And it's a female, that's not a white stripe, just the top of the white throat area. If there was going to be any black male plumage it would have been visible by now.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

2011 Totals Part II: Cardiff Bay

Our premier site is without a doubt Cardiff Bay, so it is worth taking a look at the totals for the site from 2011.  Last year proved to be a pretty good year; in 68 visits we totalled 1401 new birds. Compare this to 2010 when we caught 1546 in 107 visits! This means that we were either very fortunate to hit the big days in 2011, or more likely there were just more birds about.

Although we did only manage to add one new species to the ringing list - Spotted Flycatcher.

2011 Totals Part I

 With 2011 behind us, it’s only fitting to have a quick squint of what we achieved last year; which was the Bull and Morgan Partnership processing 3504 captures! Not a bad years ringing it has to be said. We managed to add seven new species to the list, starting with Black Redstart at the beginning of the year and ending with Black-headed gull; in between there was Redshank, Dunlin, Herring Gull, Greylag and Canada Geese. We started colour ringing coots and Cetti’s Warblers and finally registered the swallow project as a RAS.

2011 was not without other milestones; we said good bye to one of our founders, Dave Bull, who taught most of us our trade and is sorely missed. But we also welcomed new members to the team; CJ, Thon, Wayne and Prince Albert. And of course not forgetting that Vaf was able to start on his long awaited PhD!

We’d like to extend a big thank you to all the other ringers and ringing groups that played host to us in 2011, in particular; Terry Coombs, Brian Bailey, Mike Hounsome, SCAN, Llangorse, Flat Holm, and of course our home away from home, The Radipole Ringing Group.

2012 is underway and we know for sure there will be some ringing adventures being had by the team.

2011 totals:   FG= full grown   R&R = retraps and recoveries

Monday, 9 January 2012

Weekend endeavours

This weekend's ringing here in Cardiff was a bit of a mixed bag. Saturday we were at the bay, a little mob handed for the meagre 10 birds that graced our nets (1.4 birds each…). For a change for this time of year, we only caught one blue tit.

Sunday morning saw CJ and Facey trying for gulls at Roath Park, with their gull to bread ration being 0:5. The gulls were just not interested, with even the swans and geese apathetic to the feast on offer. Lessons learnt:

1)     Don’t try catching gulls at Roath park after a glorious Saturday
2)     Spar bread is far more expensive than ASDA…

Sunday evening saw a return to the bay for a starling roost catch. Over the last month or so between 1000-1500 of them have been roosting at the bay. The spectacle of murmurating starlings was enjoyed with a mixture of awe and gut wrenching anxiety as around 1500 starlings dropped in on the net ride. We caught 17. Some may say a meagre offering considering the numbers at roost; these would be people who have not had to extract more than one starling.

Go on, you know you want to count them...
 We also had a net up for roosting waterfowl/wader types. While we extracted the starlings near by, Ti gave us reports on the other nets contents and displayed excellent initiative (which he proceed to recount for most of the evening); he’ll make a good ringer that one. Three Redshank were bagged and as we processed our wader and starling catch a mallard dropped in to round off proceedings. Both species new for the site.

One of three - no not a Borg designation, its a redshank

Billy Wizz process his redshank

Quackers: Technically we took a picture of the starlings.
They were just in bags...
By the end of play Sunday the weekend’s totals stand at:

Blackbirds – 4
Dunnock – 3
Blue tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll – 1
Long tailed-tit – 1
Starling – 17
Redshank – 3
Mallard – 1

On a more personal note we said farewell to Dr O who moved to Northumberland to work with rusty tree rats.

Friday, 6 January 2012

A Bird in the Hand

As the winds have finally died down enough to allow for some mist netting, I put up a net for an hour before work. 14 birds later I was quite pleased to be holding a new species for the site:
A very tasty bird.

Two were caught at the same time but only one stuck. The rest of the session was typical for the site (retraps in brackets):

Blue Tit 2(8)*
Great Tit (2)
Reed Bunting 1
Woodpigeon 1

*two or three of these chaps were retraps from the very first sessions fopr the site, so are knocking on a bit now.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year All!

Our first outing of 2012 was to catch coots at Cosmeston and by close of play we had managed three of them, and two swans. Catch success was hindered not only the birds being wary but by the weather. An ominous black cloud formed over the lakes with a flash of lightning signalling that thunder would soon arrive. When it did it not only made us jump but also scattered the birds! After that the hail set in and things went down hill; processing coots in a hailstorm is not an enjoyable experience.

CJ and Dr O process coot in the hail.

A Whooper Swan has been hanging around the lakes recently and this morning was in the mix with the mutes. It was catchable but as it was wearing a bring orange Darvic there would not have been much purpose to that! Apparently ringed in Worcestershire in 2010. You can see a selection of images of it here.

We'll post our 2011 totals soon.