Friday, 25 May 2012

The B-Team

The Gods of Ringing were really spoiling us with five blackbirds inducted into our new project yesterday morning; 16 and counting!

I pity the blabi that ain't go no bling!

Sunday, 20 May 2012


Yesterday, Cardiff Bay proved to a be a productive little site with the details of 39 birds safely in CJ's notebook. The catch was dominated by reed and sedge warblers; always a pleasure to see these chaps. As the forecast was a little wrong, the 80 or so swifts knocking around the bay were flying low so TT and Facey wasted a good amount of time trying to flick them... Plenty of fresh air was caught. We did have a nice surprise with our bird of the day going to this fellow:
Spotted Flycatchers rock. Fact
A trainer enjoys a much needed cup of tea. Mainly to settle his nerves after
being told the SPOFL has brood patch... It didn't; the trainee in question was
 fined three cakes 

Rosie and CJ consult Svensson

Earlier in the week we had a vist from Iolo Williams and his crew who came to film us catching Blackbirds for his new series. We managed to catch one (our project 10th...) out of the half dozen or so of the little turdus that were present. But it was nice to get a Jay, Mistle Thrush and a brace of Treecreeper. Signed pictures of the Cardiff Ringers are available on request, and action figures will be available next year. (except that the Facey figure will in fact be inaction).

They say the camera adds ten pounds; how big is Facey going to look!?

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Another Euro-Sedgie

Saturday saw CJ, Billy Whizz and TT down the bay ending with a reasonable haul of about 30 birds which included another foreign control in the form of a French ringed Sedge Warbler; could be from France, could even be from West Africa... Time will tell.

And the boy got another hirundine tick, this time a lady Swallow that wasn't looking where she was going...

Meanwhile Vaf and Facey headed to Cadaxton for some PhD based ringing; sadly no controls but all bar two of the dozen birds caught were migrants.

Saturday afternoon comprised ringing some chickies with ASBO Howells, including four Bullfinch pulli.

Saturday evening saw Facey, Dr V and TT heading to the stables with the intention of recruiting more blackbirds to the project. An hour later one more blabi had joined the project with another bouncing... a welcome by-catch was three starlings. They also watched a Great Spotted Woodpecker 'inspecting' one of our new nest boxes.

Sunday, being a traditional rest saw Pastor Maldonado win the Spanish Grand Prix, Man City snatch the Premiership title in injury time, and the Swans stuff Liverpool to finish a magnificent 11th. Two broods were ringed.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Less is More

CJ was very pleased to meet up with a couple of these little chaps during the week, as they are rare to non-existent in his recently vacated part of the world...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Belgie - Belgique

Star exhibit amongst a good haul of acros at CWR on Sunday was this chap, bearing a chunky ring engraved:


Saturday, 5 May 2012

Holiday Snaps

No ringing again this morning, too windy, maybe tomorrow will be better.  Meantime CJ and Mrs. CJ are back from a week on Lanzarote, where CJ was allowed out for a morning birding by himself, and managed to secure a few piccies...

Berthelot's Pipit Anthus berthelotii is common and comes to crumbs in tourist car-parks, so that's an easy one.
Canary Islands Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis koenigi is fairly common too, though rather less approachable.
Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens, easily heard but harder to see, I just got onto this and a couple of others when my attention was distracted by something else...
Fairly distracting in the scheme of things, a Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor, one of three that put in an all-too-brief appearance.
The local race of Houbara Bustard, Chlamydotis undulata fuertaventurae, is usually seen departing rapidly from the scene; at least this one paused for a look before making itself scarce.
On the other hand, the main theme of the Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus seems to be "if I don't move he won't see me". You do tend to get a great many identical pictures of birds like this.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Quacksquad 2012

Some time ago I told you about the ducks that had hatched in the quad of my new office. Over the last six weeks they have grown and yesterday morning a well-oiled military machine of a duck round up saw them induckted in to the BTO ringing scheme; nine ducklings caught and ringed in under half hour. Not bad compared to last year’s attempt of four ducklings and a twisted ankle in just under an hour. The secret of this year’s efficiency? Mealworm.

Mealworm, it turns out is like crack to a duck and the nine surviving ducklings found a willing pusher in me. Each morning they’ve be thrown a handful of mealworm coming close to feed with gusto, largely oblivious to what’s happening around them while they get their fix. This made it easy to corral them between two wire mesh baffle boards between the shed (yes we have a shed) and the office.
Star of the show was my colleague Graham “and another” Couchman; those readers who have ever been out catching waders with SCAN will know Graham. And why was Graham star of the show? Check it:
Yes, he took on five of the nine ducks! Goodman! You'll
have to excuse me, I was sorting through the equipment...

Pikey Nick holds a duck after expert handling of a wire baffle board. Smithy
however, just popped out when the hard work was over... like our shed?

Quacksquad 2012 was: Graham Couchman, Pikey Nick, Miss Smith, Sharpy, Carol Williams, and our chief releaser of ducklings, Lesley Stone. Oh and me!

How life is hard for the Blue tits of Bute Park?

To find out you'll have to take yourself along to this event:

Thursday 3rd May - How life is hard for the Blue tits of Bute Park .
6.00pm to 7.30pm
(Lecture by Dr Peter Ferns)
City Parks provide an ideal habitat for some birds, especially those that like a mixture of short grass and trees. For those that feed on canopy insects though, things are more difficult. In this presentation, Dr Ferns compares the diet, breeding effort and success of the tits in Bute park with that of other habitats.
To book a place please call 02920 788 403 or email
Charge £3 per person

Peter is an excellent lecturer and if you can make this talk we highly recommend you go!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A Wild(life Trust) Weekend

Saturday saw Facey and Vaf donning their teaching gear to run a workshop on survey and monitoring techniques for birds for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Yes, those pair teaching people is a  scary thought.

Of course they couldn't resist adding in a ringing demo to the day's proceedings. While Vaf and Facey demonstrated the fine art of ringing and ageing blue tits, Twinkle Toes Hallam buzzed between the nets occasionally extracting something more than a blue tit, like a great tit... OK there was also great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, house sparrows, a few chaffies and this lovely pair: 

What a load of bullfinch...
Blue tit 111

Attention class, we have a... great tit!

Thanks to Rob, Vaughn, Izzy and Carys at the Trust for inviting us to run the course and to all the participants; we hope you learnt something and had some fun too!