Monday, 31 October 2011

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.

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