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.