Sunday, 22 April 2012

Rain Stops Play

'Twas a surprisingly clear morning when CJ, TT and Billy Whizz made their way down to the Bay hoping against hope that the forecast showers would hold off for a while. It was pretty slow going for the most part, with blackcaps and Cetti's making up the majority of an enormous 14-bird haul. There were also some lovely views of well-put-up nets shining in the sun.

Things were livened up a little by the arrival of a sparrowhawk which luckily hit the net while we were extracting. Despite the best efforts of Billy Whizz (boy was that name inappropriate in the circumstances), the sprawk was caught and Billy got a tick and some punctured digits (much to CJ and TT's amusement).

At 10:30, a handful of swallows cut over the bay in advance of a heavy shower which arrived moments later, cutting proceedings short.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Cardiff Ringers; studying urban bird ecology a blackbird at a time...

This morning we doubled the participants of our new Blackbird Project, and even added a female.

Look out for blackbirds wearing rings AA, AB, F7 and F9.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Big Brother is Watching

If you pop down to Cosmeston Lakes Visitor Centre you will see a large screen showing the beginnings of new life in a nearby nestbox. A female blue tit busies herself with the task of lining the nest.

'This is great' I hear you say, 'but what has this got to do with the exploits of the Cardiff Ringers?'..

Well..she's got a ring on her leg, and it was me who put it there. Is that enough?

(The truth is that I dont get out much these days)

Blackbirds; The Beginning

Homer J Simpson once exclaimed “To Beer! The Cause of, and Solution to, All Life's Problems!”. We’d like to modify that to “To Beer! The reason behind, and Solution to, all of our hair brained schemes!”

With that in mind its pleasing to tell you about our latest venture; a blackbird colour ringing project with Ian Vaughan. The origin of this project is lost in time but evolved from several chats in the pub. Ian will tell you it was my (Facey's) fault but as Ian doesn’t have any editorial access to this blog I can categorically tell you it was all his doing.*

We’re trialling the project in Pontcanna fields with the intention of rolling it out to a greater distribution. It should make for an interesting RAS and the basis for a head long dive in to the study of the ecology of urban birds. If not… well mine's a pint of Cwrw Haf with a Penderyn chaser.

Sunday morning saw the project's inaugural outing. Normally a 10 bird catch would normally be bemoaned but on this occasion wasn't as it contained two of our target species; well it's a start.

Success by tiny tiny increments...
Dr V checking out the nifty colour ring of
the project's first BLABI.

If you do see any colour ringed blackbirds then drop us a line at; even if it is in the park!

*ignore all comments to that state otherwise

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Raven Mad...

With crap weather for mist netting we opted for more raven ringing today. In the absence of Monkey Man Griffiths, ASBO had to do the climbing. The tree would have offered no challenge to him on a good day but sods law is sods law and as we arrived at the nest, so did the sleet. CJ, Twinkle Toes Hallam, Facey and Lozzer offered "encouragement" as they watched ASBO Howells (or Little Rich as he is more politely known) do a blinding job of scrabbling up the slippery tree. Four more raven chicks were literally but briefly in the bag before being returned to the nest wearing rings.


Two newly fledged raven ringers

Corvus quarto; they smell like off lamb

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Where's BCA?

You may have noticed a couple of Coot wearing rather fetching white leg rings around the Cosmeston Bread Bin, well we have had our first non-local sighting back (Not including the Worthington Lake Coot- from the previous post).


We think it may have flown there but who knows..

Keep your eyes peeled for 'BCA'- He may come to his senses and come back home one day!

Poultry in Motion

Was it because of the relentless bullying of the other Cosmeston Coots or the Whooper Swan hoovering up all the bread, or was it because he heard a rumour about a lake filled with second-rate beer?

Who knows why, but it was with great surprise and glee that we learned that a Coot ringed at Cosmeston Lakes in 2010 as a juvenile, was sighted 244 km away at Worthington Lakes in Greater Manchester.

I had a feeling there was one Coot missing...

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Great Odin's ravens!

What better way to spend a bank holiday Friday than by nest finding/monitoring and pulli ringing with ASBO Howells (voted Ebbw Vale's top nest finder three years in a row, apparently), Poppa Howells and Monkey Man Griffiths? Especially when it involves these blighters:

Five Raven chicks (or as Monkey Man described them "little big f***ers") ringed,
bring the Partnerships Raven total to... well, five... (their feet are huge!)

Monkey Man Griffiths can just be seen behind the
tree that supports the nest, while ASBO and Facey
get ready to bling some ravens, Ebbw Style. 

A reasonably intelligent look; from the Raven!

ASBO's face says it all; excellent day's ringing with a
top bird. Ravens chicks are pudgy little buggers!

Photos courtesy of Gary Howells

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Recoveries Round up: Small birdies

Recoveries are somewhat like buses; no they don’t have passengers but do seem to come in a glut. Our latest batch comprised movement of the flappy ones both great and small. Here is a round up for the smaller variety:

X612771, a first year SEDWA, was ringed down the Bay at the 30 July last year. 4 days and 276km later it was re-caught at Ickelsham, having lost about a gram in the meantime.

X962333, a first year REEWA, was ringed at the Bay on August 25 last year. Within 3 days, and a mere 41km, X962333 was caught at Chew Valley Lake; in that time it had gained 1.1g which is nice.

X962584 was an adult Goldfinch ringed at Cardiff Bay (see the pattern here?) on 5 November 2011. Fast forwarding 129days year, she was next recorded on March 13 of this year at Market Lavington, Wiltshire (86km away). Wiltshire turned out to be a bit of a pane for our girl; having hit a window she was found with a terminal case of the deads.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Runner up for the Pulizer Prize...

For the last three weeks I've been following the fortunes of a blackbird nest in one of the many cherry laurel that surround the new office site. This week's check revealed two fat BLABI pulli which are now wearing particularly fetching bling bling.
Meanwhile a check of the nest boxes at the stables revealed 13 nests (at various stages) from 20 boxes; 6 of these in boxes we only put up two weeks ago!
A reminder from last year; plenty of these will get get blinged
over the coming months!