Monday, 27 February 2012

Weekend up date

Saturday was a bit of a finch-fest at the Bay with Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Reed Bunting making up the majority of the session's cast of 20 birds, giving trainee Wayne a good number of birds to process. Dunnock, Blackbird, Great Tit and Blue Tit made up the rest. Despite several Cetti’s warbler blasting out their song, none ventured into the net. Nor did the kestrel...

Its nice to think that is a month or so the Bay will be alive with migrants, perhaps having returned from Senegal. Did we mention we'd been to Senegal?
On Sunday, while the others attended to family matters, or recovered from watching Wales win against England, CJ ventured to Forest Farm on his tod. The Gods rewarded his dedication with a 43 bird catch which included this long awaited chappie:

Congratulations go to two of the team’s trainee types:

John “nestbox” Hyde recently received a restricted C-permit for passerine pulli, while Dr O can finally go out and ring proper birds (basically anything that isn’t a wheatear) with mist nets. Their trainer is yet to receive a box of chocolates or a bunch of flowers…

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Senegal Expedition

Over the last six weeks, you may have noticed that blogosphere has a been a relatively calm, intelligible and a much less flippant place..needless to say contributions from the Cardiff Ringers have been thin on the ground. Literally tens of birds have avoided being ringed.

There was a reason for this neglect.

We have all heard of the places where birds go when they migrate for winter. A warm fruitful place, full of insects, dust, warthogs and malaria. We have all imagined what these places would look like, how they would smell and how we would feel when we saw our beloved migrants once more.

Allow me to tell you, these places exist. We saw them, we smelled it and we felt the feeling.

This was not a jolly- despite what your strongest instincts are yelling. It was serious science involving the cream of long distance migrant passerines, the humble, the magnificent, the sister Acrocephalus species, Reed and Sedge Warblers. It was a joy to see them in their winter grounds. The other dross (hirundines, waders, flamingos, pelicans) were also pretty good.

a short serious scientific video for your enjoyment.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

Don't you just hate it when a plan doesn't come together...

Having not long come back from having spent four weeks in leaky waders in Senegal (more from the Vaf on that later), it was quite refreshing to be standing in the same leaky waders in a Welsh River on Friday. Luckily the latter, unlike the former, carries no chance of catching Bilharzia but it was a dam sight colder.

Thanks to the Merthyr Tydfil Anglering Associasion we've been able to expand our Dipper ringning activities north of the Taf Fechan Nature reserve all the way up to the Pontsicill Reservoir. So yesterday we (that being Facey, Twinkle Toes Hallam, Sherpa Solman, Lozzer and ASBO Howells) headed to the new stretch to obviously ring every dipper from the reservoir south to our old stomping ground.

ASBO Howells bringing his own touch to dipper catching

Lozzer and Twinkle Toes just after the second fly over from the birds at our
second site. Luckily we had moral snacks to keep us going

Of course, this being South Wales and one of our ideas it didn't go exactly according to plan. There were dippers galore as you'd expect given the excellent habitat but sadly these largely stayed out of the nets. We managed two new dippers and, having retreated to the safety of the familiarity of the reserve, three traps from last year. We also nabbed a retrapped Grey Wagtail. All in all it would have been a depressing day had it not been for the first bird of the day. 

The Gang waiting for dippers to fly in to the net further down stream. One eventually did.

We had just set the net at the first port of call when a Grey Heron Landed down stream. With a little encouragement from Twinkle Toes Hallam it causally flew up stream in to the net where ASBO Howells was waiting. This represents a first for the partnership too.

Twinkle Toes with the Partnership's first Grey Heron

Steve Ormerod left a comment on about the February 2010 Living World programme about dippers. For those that missed it then it can be found here . Its well worth listening to and to quote Steve "There is coverage of the Eurasian dipper's adaptation to aquatic life, and discussion of the recovery of rivers in the S. Wales coalfield from the atrocious pollution here in the 1970s."

Sunday, 12 February 2012


We don't see many Linnets down at Cardiff Bay, but there's been a flock of 20 or so popping in every so often for the past month to feed on a patch of dead weeds of a mustardy persuasion, so it was nice to be able to have a good close look at three of their number when a well-placed double-shelfer did the business at the weekend:

Monday, 6 February 2012

Catch Up

While the GW pair are sunning themselves in Senegal, and comprehensively incommunicado, those that are left have been getting on with routine activities, mostly involving CWR and FF, where the totals have been making steady progress. One Blue Tit has even managed to move between the two sites, a distance of some 8km, in 478 days!

Here we see another of the residents at FF getting its own back...