Friday, 30 December 2011

Habits and habitats

A bit of site maintenance in the rain at one of our woodland sites resulted in a new net ride and a load of sycamore cleared. The latter in the hope of creating some nice glades and regeneration of anything except, well sycamore.

On the way home, with hypothermia setting in and four loaves of bread in stock, we couldn't resist another attempt at gulls at Roath Park Lake. With no gulls about we turned our attention to the water fowl, finally breaking the RPL curse by catching and colour ringing our first coot there! Good work CJ. We've now used up a staggering... wait for it... 9 colour rings from the 100 we've been allocated. It is going to get cold soon isn't it...?

Three Canada Geese and a Greylag later we decided that dry clothes and a warm drink were in order so headed home.

A reused picture to add some colour. It is relevant; it was taken at RPL, shows a
Darvic ring, and is of a species we caught today. We also saw a Darvic wearing GREGO; FX6.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Gull : Bread Ratio

Yesterday we achieved a ratio of 1.2, that's six gulls caught for an expenditure of five loaves of Asda's 'Cheap n'Nasty' ® brand white sliced bread. Some scope for improvement remains, we feel.

Our tally was five Black-headed and one Lesser Black-backed.  Here's a sample:

Also present was this colour-ringed LBB, ringed as a second-year by the Severn Estuary Gull Group at Gloucester Landfill on 26-Nov-05:

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...

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Friday, 16 December 2011

Frustrating Friday

It was a simple plan; a quiet Friday morning coot catch at Cossie was bound to result in good numbers of the species. By now Vaf and Facey should know that such a simple plans are doomed to fail.

It didn't help that Facey was ten minutes late meaning the opportunity to catch in the presence of "Bread Man" was lost. Bread man is a gent that arrives at the lakes and literally empties bin bag loads of bread in to the water. He arrived, he emptied, he left. The birds, full of bread, weren't prepared to come That close.

While we watched crestfallen as the coots kept their distance, we did manage to secure these:

Voila! Le Tufted Duck fem

Pleased as punch, but no Facey, its not a coot...

Vaf and Facey were of course disadvantaged by a distinct paucity of coot... 

Fingers crossed and warmer socks, we'll be catching more coot in the next few weeks as the weather gets colder...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Here Cooty Cooty Cooty

Its been a while since our last post but don't worry we haven't left the country (yet). The weather hasn't been conducive to ringing of late; a tad on the windy and/or wet side. With the weather improving we decided to head to Cosmeston to ring Coots on Saturday.

During our several Coot ringing outings, CJ has steadfastly declined the opportunity to ring one (when one has been available), preferring his first to be one he'd caught himself. On Saturday the first Coot both caught and ringed was by CJ, affording him much quiet pleasure. It was also Wayne's first Coot ringing experience.

As the weather is getting colder the Coots are becoming slightly bolder, but still all we could muster was five, caught in quick succession. Given the time of year there aren't as many Coot as we'd expect, and without safety in numbers they are still a little bit too wary for a big morning's catch. There is, on the whole, a bit of a dearth of waterfowl on the lakes compared to most years. Either that or the last two winters have spoilt us.

With the Coot on to us, we broke camp for another part of the lake to try for what some would call "proper birds". Sadly, despite a myriad traps, all we could achieve was a retrapped Dunnock. But we did get some Mallards - important G closing practise for the assembled trainees. 

Finishing on five new Coot, three new Mallard, and a retrap Tufted Duck, plus the Dunnock, and covered in 'fowl crap, we headed for breakfast.

Ti did an excellent job of releasing the morning's customers.
With the morning's session complete, and breakfast consumed, the group dispersed. On the drive home CJ and Facey decided that a bit more ringing was in order, so headed to the Stables - adding a retrapped Robin and 13 new Long-tailed Tits to the day's totals. This brings the Stables' total for the year to 211 new birds; a bit of a milestone as it's the first time we've breached the 200 mark here. It might not sound a lot but for a site where once the nest boxes are empty and the Swallows have departed, all that is caught is the odd Blackbird, Dunnock or Robin and we are quite pleased. You never know, we might make the dizzy, dizzy heights of 250 before the year is out. You have to have dreams people, you have to have dreams.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Crossbill Calamity

For several of the Cardiff Ringers, seeing a Crossbill in the hand would be a first. Today Vaf and Facey had that experience but the circumstances some what tarnished it - the Crossbill in question had been hit by a car (not the one they were driving!) and died shortly after being picked off the road. Such a shame as they are truly ace birds.

But the presence of a bird in the hand, dead or alive, does provide an opportunity to learn and the bird was scrutinised post mortem when a copy of Svenson was at hand.

The bird will continue contributing to science as it will soon be interred at the museum.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

The Weekend

Our ringing this weekend is best described as "humph".

Friday night saw an attempt to catch Redshank but it turned into an episiode of "men that stare at nets". Clear skies didn't help but the distinct lack of any birds was main problem. However, it was an opportunity to admire CJ's newly built keeping box; note that this was deployed once it was clear that we wouldn't need it. A pasty and rissole from the Cardiff indoor market was a highlight.

On Saturday, with a chill in the air and it being too windy to put up nets we decided to try our hands at increasing the Coot totals at Cosmeston. Try is the operative word. With no helpful members of the public and unhelpful birds we were as successful with the coots as we were with the redshank. Eventually the temptation was too great and we ringed a few cygnet and adult swans. Attempts to catch Mallards at a different spot on the lakes were equally unsuccessful. We did manage to spring trap a Great Tit which became the first bird Wayne has ringed!

Sunday, well we decided not to bother.

We made a quick stop to the bay to try for coot.
This picture pretty much sums up the weekend

Yeah... we weren't sure what was happening either....

Very few things will put a swan off its bread.

Wayne's first bird gets a look over. We know what you're thinking "Nice spring trap".

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dutch Gull

After a bit of detective working on Dirk Raes’ fantastic European colour-ring Birding  site, we tracked down the origins of the Darvic’d Black Headed gull that we saw at Cossie Lakes on Saturday.

You can imagine how exciting it was to hear that it’s come all the way from the Netherlands, where it was ringed as an adult male breeding on an island in Veluwemeer by Frank Majoor on the 6th May 2007. 

As you can see from the E2CV’s sightings history, we are not the first South Walian yokels to report him at Cosmeston.
A big thank you to Frank for sending through this information, and we can recommend checking out his website

13-6-2007                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast eilandjes             F. Majoor
29-6-2007                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes             F. Majoor
4-10-2007                Cosmeston Lakes, Barry, South Wales                   David Gilmore      
22-3-2008                Harderwijk,                                                              Stef Waasdorp
23-3-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
26-3-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
28-3-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
8-4-2008                 Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes             F. Majoor
10-4-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
18-4-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Henk van Huffelen
25-4-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
27-4-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Benny Middendorp
2-5-2008                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Henk van Huffelen
6-5-2008                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
22-5-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
19-6-2008                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Henk van Huffelen
13-3-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
22-3-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
13-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
15-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
19-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
22-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
25-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
29-4-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Henk van Huffelen
4-5-2009                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
10-5-2009                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
3-6-2009                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Benny Middendorp
7-10-2009                Cosmeston Lakes, Barry, South Wales                   Michael Powell
7-11-2009                Cosmeston Lakes, Barry, South Wales                   Alex Bevan
13-3-2010                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
27-3-2010                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
7-4-2010                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
14-4-2010                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
19-4-2010                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Rob Voesten
5-5-2010                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
21-5-2010                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Rob Voesten
9-6-2010                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            F. Majoor
14-3-2011                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
19-3-2011                Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Stef Waasdorp
4-6-2011                  Veluwemeer, Hoogspanningsmast Eilandjes            Rob Voesten
19-11-2011              Cosmeston Lakes, Barry, South Wales,                  Cardiff Ringers

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Dippers to Ducks

The November Dipper visit on Friday to the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales' Taf Fechan Reserve saw us maintain our "new bird streak" with no retrapped dippers being caught. True we didn't catch any dippers, or anything else for that matter. This was slightly disappointing as we had been joined by Dr Larus Ross-Smith of Flat Holm and BTO fame who was hoping to pop her dipper cherry.

Spending time at Taf Fechan is never a chore, regardless of catch success. If you live in or near Merthyr and have never been there then Shame On You. Its easy enough to find, so go visit.

Our efforts on Saturday were more fruitful. Firstly we were joined on site by Wayne Morris, local BTO rep, and of course a session is never dull when Ti the Tyke is about. The session began very slowly with only eight birds caught in the first two hours; although among these was a 3 female Bullfinch which is always nice to see, and Vaf got to colour ring another Cetti's Warbler. Given the slack nature of the morning we decided to pack up and try our luck with some Coot. However, the Gods of Ringing smiled, and as we took down the nets M1 and M2 filled with birds; Lesser Redpolls, Greenfinches and a few Blabis too. We ended on 29!
Number four

Our next stop was Cosmeston where we hoped to add some more Coot to the colour ringing project. A mild November has not helped our cause so we were keen to get some more. Arriving at Cosmeston we were somewhat perturbed to find a paucity of waterfowl. Even the swans seemed thin on the ground. The Coots took some interest in the corn on offer but not enough to bring them in close enough.

Its at this point a random lady and her two children started feeding bread to the assembled birds; the Coots went mad for it. Two minutes later, after quick explanation of who we were (imagine that...), she and her kiddies were showering our feet with bread and two more coot were secured for the project. This woman will never read this blog but we would like to say a massive THANK YOU for your help! A spin off of this ladies assistance was Wayne's first time holding a coot; an experience best described as shitty.

Its amazing how few people will throw bread at a strangers feet on request, so with few birds coming to corn we had to be content with a Mute Swan and a Tuftie. We could have done many more of the former but we like to keep them in reserve for the Very Quiet days.

The Man that Stares at Ducks

We ended the session with resighting a darvic ringed Black-headed Gull. It'll go through the proper channels of course but if you know any thing about E2CV (white with black lettering) then let us know!

Sunday was a day of rest.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A picture speaks 1000 words

This picture tells you everything you need to know about today's session.
Seriously, we don't want to talk about it.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Snipe Hunt

The pursuit of Cetti's Warblers may well be a fool's errand, but at least the by-catch can be interesting.
The new Stanley and Livingstone nets aka M (Machete) 1 and M2 netted a new Goldfinch, a retrap Kingfisher, Blue Tit and one of these pointy-mouthed stripey birds.

Sidney was thrilled with his new Ga-ga inspired sausage jacket

Run of Redpolls

Saturday's visit to the bay resulted in a decent catch ; especially when compared to JOV's and Facey's effort the day before which only resulted in a tiddly catch of about 10 birds.

However, the Gods of Ringing must have been smiling for us on Saturday as the pages in CJ's notebook steadily filled to a grand total of 67 birds. Lesser Redpoll domintated the catch, as ya can see below, with Goldfinch and Blackbird taking second and third place respectively.

Blue Tit145
Cetti's Warbler011
Lesser Redpoll18119
Long-tailed Tit426
Reed Bunting101
Song Thrush022

The retrap Cetti's warbler left with a nice set of colour rings, ready to do its bit in unravelling the mysteries of its species over-wintering strategy.

CJ and JOV made a sterling effort of cutting two new rides; names have yet to be decided but Stanley and Livingstone were suggested.

Ti did blindingly well in not only ringing a robin but also correctly aging it too! While his dad, Billy Whizz, as normal scored top marks for his contribution to the session's shared snack rations; hopefully others will follow from Billy's example... hint, hint, hint.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Hat Trick!

The God’s of ringing clearly got up on the right side of bed this morning, delivering three new species to “the office site”. First up, Song Thrush; regularly seen around the industrial estate that hosts the site, but today was the first time one has ventured in to the nets.

The second newbie was somewhat larger; Magpies aren’t often caught by us so it was nice to get one today. Magpies are beautiful birds, especially up close – just look at their iridescent green tails or blue wings.

That beak is as strong as it looks.

Granted, much more amazing in real life.
There was an intention of showing the aging criteria for the species, but the camera was in a fickle, fickle mood. So this is the next best thing:

From Svensson (1992) - today's bird had a first primary
like the on on the left making it and adult. The second
primary also aids with aging; the black tip to the feather
is only 3-15mm in adults, but 16-47mm in juvs and the
border between the white and black is not as distinct.

The outing to the office site was actually aimed at Mistle Thrush. There have been plenty about the place recently, but as the morning wore on with no Mistles in sight it began to look less and less likely. However, in true Hollywood style, just as the rain came in and the nets were about to be taken down, one bird found its way in to one! Only the 10th we've ringed.

The only other bird caught was a retrap Great Tit, with a Lotti flock and a Bite* of Blue Tits skilfully evading the nets.

*term for more than one blue tit.

Monday, 31 October 2011


Spot the odd-one out:

The weekend for the Cardiff Ringers

Saturday saw JOV at the Bay successfully kicking off one of the projects for his PhD by colour-ringing a Cetti’s Warbler. This particular project aims to look at the role of diet on body mass regulation in wintering insectivores, using CETWA as a model. Although the actual study doesn’t rely on “traditional” sightings of colour ringed birds, should you see any of these birds then do let us know at

Meanwhile Facey and Dr O were at “The Woods” dealing with a catch dominated by Great Tits; although two new Goldcrest and a new Coal Tit brightened things up. A The Re-trap Treecreeper also made an appearance. It’s been caught four times in two years, all at different net locations. Although several Treecreepers (minus rings) are regularly seen at the Woods, only one has been ringed at this site, which does beg the question; why only the one?

Sunday morning saw CJ, JOV and Facey heading to the Bay with the intention of adding more Cetti’s to JOV’s study. Success came in the form of two more birds.

Among the 44 bird catch were 10 Lesser Redpolls, providing a great opportunity for a bit of “compare and contrast” of age and sexing criteria on a species we don’t catch all that often in numbers. Bird of the day, however, went to a Water Rail – a superb bird in the hand or field, and whose piggy calls are regularly heard at the Bay at this time of year.

Clown to the left of me, joker to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you...
Sunday evening saw a second outing to have a bash at waders by CJ, Facey and Dr O (minus baked bean sausage rolls). Arriving rather early, there was a three hour wait before high tide during which time little happened. A Dunlin was caught (partnership first), it rained, and a steady stream of Redwing called overhead.

As the tide rose, four Redshank arrived. Three left. One was ringed. Approaching high tide, a flock of Redshank came down to the pool, of which seven were caught, while others bounced or flew over. While this catch was being extracted another party arrived, for a moment being silhouetted against the light spill from Cardiff. Although it was a brief sight, it was exhilarating; a definite Kodak moment! The birds were not prepared to land while three primates gathered their kin out of the nets, of course, and so departed.

Once these seven birds were safely at the ringing area, Facey was dispatched back to the nets in case any more had arrived. Arrived they had. In the two minutes it had taken to walk from the nets to the ringing site, approximately 15 more birds had landed in the nets; with more arriving! Facey is known for his ability to bellow, which he did, bringing immediate assistance. While these birds were being extracted, more were coming in.

The night ended on 29 Redshank and 1 Dunlin – although we could have stayed and caught more, a persistent drizzle, empty stomachs and thoughts of a takeaway had us heading back to the car.

Monday Morning proved successful in adding two Greylag Geese (also new to the partnership) to our waterfowl study.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Redshank at Night, Ringers Delight

Last night, with the faint but distinct odour of landfill in the air and up the nostrils, two of us headed out into the wilds of the Severn Estuary to ring waders. Conditions were perfect; a high tide, cloud, and no wind. And we were armed with an ample supply of coffee and snacks* for a night full of waders.

The night was deemed a success even before we’d finished putting the nets up. A little premature you might say? You may even be concerned that we have come up with an even more dubious definition of success? But fear not; unless you don’t class a Redshank landing in a net while it’s still being put up as success? In which case, yes our definition has become more dubious.

Success in wader form.

It didn’t stop at one Redshank though. Oh no. We even bagged two birds at once. It looked like it was going to be a mega evening. Yeah, crazy talk, but you should have been there.

However, it was not to be. Not knowing our site particularly well, we weren’t entirely aware how much a 13.2m tide would affect our endeavour. As we extracted our fourth, and ultimately final, Redshank of the evening we became increasingly aware of how large some of the pools were becoming. By the time Facey had finished processing the final redshank, CJ was taking down nets in what had been one smallish pool, but now appeared to encompass most of the foreshore.

It would be over egging the soggy pudding to paint a picture of CJ and Facey struggling to take down nets, waist deep in what passes as water in the Severn. Cut to a low angle view of something swimming toward one of the intrepid ringers. A fin disappears under the water before the aforementioned ringer is dragged under to cries of "Hold the net up you [expletive deleted]! They cost money!" Fortunately the water barely got half way up our wellies, and the only danger that either faced was Facey tripping over his own feet.

Having to pack up early was slightly frustrating but we had caught four birds! That’s four more than Facey expected and four more than previously ringed on the group’s rings!

*A quick note on wader catching snacks – ASDA’s baked bean sausage roll may sound appealing. It may look appealing. But that's as far as it goes. Even a normally unfussy Andrew McSkimming had nothing but derisive comments** to make about the left-over brought home for him. Yeah, they are That Bad.

** Judging by his pained tortured expression we believe they were derisive; it's difficult to tell what someone is saying with a mouth full of ASDA’s let-down sausage roll in his gob- but he didn’t look happy.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Sad News

Here's an Osprey chick with CJ back in July 2006 (not very near to Cardiff, we hasten to add).

And here's a recovery report from the BTO for the same bird, 1397939 LBGW(CD):

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Cango Control

We've found out that the Cango we picked up earlier in the week is from Llangorse Lake, being ringed in the 2007 roundup. For those not familiar with the geography of Wales; Llangorse is about 50km almost due north of Cardiff.

Apparently very few of the Llangorse Lake Cangos move South or South East, with only a couple having been seen in the Metropolis of  Cardiff.

Thanks to Jerry Lewis for the information.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

You Know It's Autumn...

...when one of these smart chaps comes to pay you a visit:

No coots

Despite copious amounts of bait being doled out for the lucky inhabitants of Roath Park Lake yesterday, we failed to induct any more coots into the colour ringing project.

Our lack of success was mainly down to a distinct lack of anything that wasn't goose or swan shaped taking interest in our offerings. There were double figures of coots loafing about on the lake's waters but not a single one could be bothered to come and investigate what their web-footed fellows were eating.

All was not lost; we saw some of the Llanwern Greglags and litterally picked up a control for the site in the form of a Canada Goose.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Investment Opportunity

A fine example from the Roath School, exquisitely wrought in Japanese polyester on 200 tpi Egyptian cotton, with bead-pin detail, 30 x 20 cm. Signed "A. Ringer" on the rear, and enigmatically titled "That's Right, Just Yank It Out Of The Brambles, After All It Isn't Yours, Is It?".

Rarely offered and much sought after. Estimate £75.25 (which by a remarkable coincidence is the price of a new 18m NRSF).

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Well, its a start.

The coots at Cosmeston must have worked out who we are, as we were only able to get close enough to one. Either that or they have lost the taste for corn - they normally flock to it but today seemed to prefer a loaf of hovis. A few more mute swans were also added to the database.

1 coot Darvic ringed; 99 more to go.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Coming to Coots Near You!

As it fits in nicely with one of our on going projects in South Wales, we couldn't resist the opportunity to become involved in a nation-wide project (set up and co-ordinated by Kane Brides) looking at the movements of coots across the UK.

As the project involves field sightings of coots, it was with great glee that we took delivery of 100 of these this morning!

As these will soon be adorning coots in South Wales we're starting our plea for sightings early. If you do see a davric (he means Darvic - Ed.) wearing coot, please let us know at

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Cwm Taf Fechan Dipper Extravaganza!

This morning at Cwm Taf Fechan, a small band of dipper catchers in the form of the Wildlife Trust’s Rob Parry, two students, and our very own RJF in the driver’s seat, found themselves striking feathered gold with 3 new dippers. This brings the site’s total to 15 dippers – with no retraps…

In the interest of the environment we are recycling
this picture of a dipper from a previous post.
All three of today’s birds were adults caught within the known range of a formerly ringed pair; these birds must surely be passing through? Can anyone inform us of Dipper population dynamics and territorial relationships at this time of year? Are we likely to be getting more new dippers or will this rich seam run dry?

We’ve now done 17 dippers so far this year. OK that might not seem a lot, especially when compared to the efforts of Dipper Don Tony Cross but for us we are on a little thing we like to call a Cinclus Roll; up until 2010 the Partnership only had three dippers on its database.

Although we oh so nearly chalked up a kingfisher for the site, we did manage to bag another grey wagtail, bring the site total to 4 and the year total to 5!

However, we didn’t see an otter…

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Recovery News; Going for Gold

We recently found out about the fate of a Goldfinch, who for simplicity we’ll call V845674, which was ringed at Cardiff Bay.

Ringed as a first year on 14 August 2009, V845674 managed get in a few years of hopefully meaningful existence before being found dead 735 days later (19th August 2011) and 3km from the bay in Michaelston-le-Pit, Vale of Glamorgan.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

All shiny and new…

The Cardiff Ringers are known to allow themselves a treat every now and again (No, bacon sandwiches are a necessity). A shiny new ringing box however, is just an extravagant and self-indulgent expense.

It had better be worth the £4.99.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Capture - Recapture

According to my calculations after the second session at Forest Farm this Autumn, the Bluetit population at the site works out at about 1.5 million individuals. Maybe I need a little help with my sums?

All I can say is thank goodness for the woodpecker that relieved the morning slog a little. Incidentally, and in case there was ever any doubt, I can confirm that holding a Great-spot in the 'photographic grip' in one hand and trying to photograph it with a camera held in the other is not a sustainable option.

Exhibit one
Exhibit two, oh, bother!

Monday, 3 October 2011

The Weekend

While Dr O slept off the excess of the previous night's celebrations after handing in his PhD Thesis, Billy Whizz, Lady Morgan, Thon and Facey headed to the bay on Saturday for what would be a very quiet morning. It was slower than the 15 black slugs counted on the track. Combined. Slower than Facey's congnitive abilities without coffee.

We ended with the details of a mere 13 birds gracing the notebook. Only two proper migrants, chiffs of course, were in the mix. Lots of blue and great tits... We did catch three blabi at once (This was highlight...) which were likely to be birds moving through. Bird of the day was awarded to a Cetti's, although it would have gone to the male sparrowhawk that graced our net but decided that it would save collecting its unquiely numbered braclet for another day... perhaps he will bring his girlfriend with him next time? "Blackcap my dear and oh look, this bearded gentlemen has brought the ring I ordered for you..." A fly over house martin was unexpected.

Sunday saw CJ at Forest Farm where he had more success Amoung the 23 bird he caught a nice little treecreeper. Bird of the day definitely went to the sole Nuthatch of the session - CJ's first!

A spot of spring trapping around the county, particularly on Sully Island, resulted in one frustrated ringer.

Friday, 30 September 2011

That Groppa

It almost goes without saying that The Cardiff Ringers are basically The A-team of the ringing world.
Let me explain...

Both consist of highly decorated renegades that appear to be wild and out of control but in fact have a deeply ingrained inner discipline and respect a military-like command structure.

Both always act on the side of the good and help the oppressed.

They both have Leuitenants with the callname 'Face'.

need I say more?

But the main way that they are akin to the A team is that they are available for hire as soldiers of fortune.

It was on one of these commissions that 'B.A. (Bearded Acrocephalus) Baracus Vafidis was out helping the good of Cardiff University and the oppressed of the Wildlife Trust, that he liberated this little traveller caught in a commie net- in desperate need of a ring on its leg and immediate enlistment into the BTO database. He took pity on the bird and obliged him his requests.

I love it when a plan comes together etc.
Mission Succesfull (obviously).

Thursday, 29 September 2011

All quiet on the netting front

The session at the Bay was quiet and slow this morning, with the combined totals for bluti's and greti's out numbering chiffs. In fact residents out numbered migrant species in our 16 bird catch; a sure sign that the summer migrant tap is soon to drip dry.

An atmospheric picture of a mist net to emphasis mood. We were going to say it
represented the sun setting on migration but that would be a load of existentialist crap*.
Besides, the picture was taken at dawn....

Here are some views from the end of one of the rides. As we said, it was a quiet morning. Lots of tits.

* (The early 19th century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, posthumously regarded as the father of existentialism, maintained that the individual has the sole responsibility for giving one's own life meaning and with living life passionately and sincerely, in spite of many obstacles and distractions including despair, angst, absurdity, choice, boredom, trainees, and blue tits. (CJ -Ed.))