Saturday, 20 September 2014

New Site Going Well (Caerlan - Penrhiwfer)

Although this site is well known locally to the bird watchers in the area, it was identified the potential of the location from a ringing perspective, various studies are conducted over the year from NRS, BBS to general year listing.

Having reached the dizzy heights of being awarded a C permit (Conventional Trapping Techniques)  from the BTO, it was time all the visits to the location were split up to target specific areas were particular species were active.

A visit in early July produced a male / female Stonechat visiting a identified area frequently, spring trap set with mealworm BINGO

My First Officially Rung Bird For The Site
Various other visits to the site produced the odd Meadow Pipit 

A concentrated effort was then carried out at my back garden with using small spring trap 25cm x 25cm & potter traps various sizes received from John Mawer (by the way a very nice chap indeed).

The potter traps proved to be pretty productive with Woodpigeon, Starling, House Sparrow, Magpie, Dunnock & Chaffinch current species caught

After the family holiday it was time to get back to business, with a visit to Cearlan to target Meadow Pipits the first visit was conducted over the weekend of 13/14th September and what a few days to remember a total of 35 Meadow Pipits were processed. Further visits up to this morning has produced a total of 59 processed Meadow Pipits the majority this year birds, many of the birds showing the post juvenile moult stage. 

It is hoped a few more visits will be conducted over the next few weeks, also identified was a flock of approx 60 -70 linnets, good numbers of Skylark 20+

The site has some real potential from a ringing perspective particularly over the winter periods as Fieldfare, Redwing, & Blackbird are plentiful in various areas

A selection of spring traps used at the Cearlan Site
And finally a Welsh Meadow Pipit wearing its official BTO jewellery


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Island Bonanza!

Last weekend we sent Facey and a few banner men as emissary to Flat Holm; if for nothing else other than to see how many empty net rounds he'd managed before being found in a heap in the Gull and Leek, surrounded by empty beer bottles and covered in crisps.
But Flat Holm is an unpredictable mistress and this time the alder bushes were hopping with birds. Nets were put up and believe it or not, birds were caught. Real birds too. Chiffchaffs, willow warblers and blackcaps graced the net on Friday before a cold beer (just the err one).

Trainee (soon to be C) Erin explaining to members of the Flat Holm Society
all about Willwas. For those familiar with the Welsh Political scene, yes that
Ray in the background.

Then came Saturday - grey skies, low cloud and an invisible mainland meant the migrants stayed on the island. Nets put up the previous evening were unfurled and then more put up. The first two net rounds contained more non-gulls than were caught on Flat Holm in all of 2013. Then came the House martins, clinging to the light house; 32 were tempted by a tape lure, as was a sedge warbler. By the afternoon the sun was shining and the cloud burnt through so things slowed down.  But when the G&L opened its doors, 119 birds had been ringed.

Extracting house martins. We apologise for the smiles and  scene of enjoyment
 Sunday saw much slower progress and fewer birds were caught - rock pipit and meadow pipit gracing the nets. Wheatear refused to play ball, repeatedly ignoring our offerings of mealworm. Eventually we packed up, slightly sun kissed, finishing on 180 birds of the weekend. Hells Yeah!

So what was bird of the trip? The house martins were pretty good. But, as no megas were caught, bird of the trip went too...

As rarity is a matter of context and this is a rare bird for Flat Holm; this
individual being only the fourth to end up in a net on the island. The last
one was caught in 1998. Still, with wryneck seemingly everywhere that
weekend it would have been nice if the Gods had graced us with one.

Tad-da! Our totals for the trip, presented old school in a notebook.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

As (hopefully) seen on TV

The question might have been asked thus “Can you help me out with catching dippers for a filming session for Ray Mears’ new series?”

What was heard was “Whotcha! Want to meet Ray Mears?!”

Vaf practising his on screen his pole
handling technique
And so that is how it transpired that Vaf and Facey found themselves, chanting “Ray! Ray! Ray! Ray! Ray!” on their way to meet Prof Steve O(merod)  and get some BTO bling on some dippehs in front of Ray Mears (while not pointing and not drivelling “You’re Ray Mears, you are!”).
Mr Mears is a genuinely, genuinely, nice guy – friendly, chatty, and down to earth. He took the time to talk to us both and even listened to what we had to say (more than just “You’re Ray Mears, you are!”). He clearly cares about the world around him and the fact our species is royally screwing it up.

Steve wanted the big riparian three; dipper, kingfisher and grey wag. Water birds are like water buses, after a long wait for nothing four come along at once; in quick succession we missed two kingfisher, a dipper and a grey wag.
But the Gods of Ringing did smile on their loyal disciples and we soon caught a kingfisher. No sooner as the bird was on dry land it was a case of “ere, Ray! Hold this!” and off our merry pair went to extract two dippers, quickly followed by a grey wag.

Facey, Ray and Vaf. Mr Mears is clearly pleased to be in the
presence of the (in)famous Cardiff Ringers.  
The camera was pointed at us a good few times, thankfully as we took ages on our hair and makeup. So you might, just might, glimpse our overly excited grins on Ray’s (yeah first name terms) new programme to be aired in Feb 2015. But if we end up on the cutting room floor, we’ll be pleased with the fact that the dippers we caught made it on screen with Steve Ormerod and Ray Mears.

If you have a film sequence involving of ringing... if no one else can help... and if you can find them... maybe you can hire... The Cardiff Ringers*

(Cue Facey’s car rolling over and Vaf throwing an eco-tone pole at some trainees)

 *If locked in a warehouse we’d probably fashion a larger potter trap.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Gull Ringing It Is Then

Having missed the annual gull ringing last year in Cardiff City Centre & Surrounding Area, I was eager to receive the date from Rich, this was received, annual leave request put into employer for July 1st , leave granted, "Happy Days"

The activity was run like a military operation with Peter Rock, being the OC, RV Southgate House 09:00hrs, where we (Wayne Morris & myself) were greeted by Peter, bringing up the rear was Rich Facey & Ian Vaughan (That sound rude) should I say arriving a few minutes later was Rich & Ian

To the roof we went, where 3 Lesser Black Back Juvenile Gulls were rung, at this location a few nests had failed.

Further visited to the roof of WH Smith produced 3 LBBGU & 3 HERGU contributing to science and wearing new jewellery and a fancy plastic accessory (Darvic)

Visits  to Vitality/Henrys - Sainsburys - Boots produced a further 8 Juveniles

By far the largest breeding area was the roof of Wilkinsons (17) & Sainsbury (2) roof just off Newport Road, with another 19 Juveniles being added

Eagle eye Morris had viewed Juveniles on the roof of carpet right, the smooth talking Peter Rock secured permission from the store to grant us authorisation to go on the roof 3 LBBGU were ringed, however a visit a week earlier could of secured us a few more.

In total 39 Juveniles were rung 27 LBBGU  & 12 HERGU

A thoroughly enjoyable day with great company, huge thanks to Peter, Rich, Ian & Wayne, and the beer was pretty good at the end of the ringing activities

Myself arranging birds for further processing

Darvic Being Added To This Herring Gull

Monday, 21 April 2014

Communique from some bloke in Northern Ireland

Contrary to rumour, our Irish contingent, TT, has not in fact been held hostage pending a ransom. Were that the case, it is hoped that someone, somewhere, would come up with the 25p and a chewing gum needed to release him.

No, TT is still active on the Emerald Isle. Unfortunately his gloriously be-canopied site proved to be less productive than a very unproductive thing, with zero birds caught from his last 5 outings. Evidently the Ringing God, Sagi (it's Latin; Google it. See what I did there, huh? Yeah...), had decided that this was not the right site to conduct ringing operations so TT is currently searching for pastures new. Except that he won't be using pastures as that would be foolish. Phone numbers have been collected and ringing threatens to break-out any day now.

Fortunately for TT, who, for some obscure reason, continues to write in the third person, there has been the occasional outing to tide him over. A couple of birds were caught in the garden of a colleague, hereafter known as Hesford, for 'tis his name. With Hesford gaining his restricted C permit for his PhD study of mumblemumble willow farms, they have taken to ringing at one of his study sites where the catch is, while not huge, appreciable.

On our first outing, they... oh screw this, I'm confusing myself. On our first outing we caught several bullfinch and this glorious jay which, due to a lack of appropriate rings in Hesford's kit, is now swanning - or should that be jaying? - around sporting that most sought-after piece of avian bling, a Cardiff Ringing Group ring sequence. It's only a matter of time before the other jays see it and start throwing themselves into our nets in order to get their own.

We've been out again since and should be going out this week, if the weather holds up. It's a big site to there's plenty of scope for experimentation. Then, hopefully, I'll be closer to having a new permanent site or two and I can introduce more birds to the splendour of CRG rings.

'Til next time, toodle pip.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

New Nest Recording Site Now Ready For The 2014 Breeding Season And Beyond

The new site at the works location of Martin Thomas (Billy Wizz), has now been completed with the sighting of 15 various type nesting boxes, made by Martin & Teifion over the previous year, as well as this site various other sites will be monitored, the nest box outcome results will be forwarded to the BTO as part of the Nest Recording Scheme

We look forward to some new tenants for the forthcoming breeding season and beyond