Sunday, 26 August 2012

Success at first light and a Borth Bog tick!

This morning's ringing trip to the Dyfi with Jane and Amy started well, at first light, in the form of a stunning juvenile Greenshank  - they are a real favourite of mine so always a red letter day when we catch one.

Amy releasing a semi-transparent Greenshank!

This was followed by our first netting visit to the Dyfi/Aber Leri NNR reed beds. High water levels and bad weather have put a spoiler on all previous planned trips. I have to say, given all the reports I've heard from others about the dismal catches of young warblers,  I wasn't expecting much this morning either. Just a couple of nets were put up in the shallower parts for a couple of hours but resulted in 7 Sedge Warblers, 5 Reed Warblers 4 Reed Buntings and the first ever Cetti's Warbler caught at the site. The bird, a juvenile female, was yet to start its post-juvenile moult so almost certainly indicates the first confirmed breeding record for the reserve?

A Borth Bog tick! But only the once!

Spurred on by this promising result (given the netting effort) I might just get myself some new chest-waders and have another go later this week when the wind abates!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Smart Asio

Last night was the last of the current set of tides high enough to be worth trying to net so Jane and I headed down to Ynyslas again to see what was doing. The wind had been too strong all day but was forecast to drop just before high tide - it didn't!! With netting out of the question we hung around to see what we could catch with the lamp. We weren't the only ones down there intent on catching waders though! Just about the first bird caught was this smart adult male Short-eared Owl that was seen trying to snatch Dunlin off the tide-line. Guess this is one of the two that has been around all year and possibly the same one gracing the front of the new Ceredigion Bird Report 2011

Wader numbers have dropped but we managed to ring another 36 Dunlin, 1 Sanderling and a single adult female Ringed Plover.

Puzzled as to where all the other 500-odd Ringed Plovers roosted as there wasn't much evidence of them!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Last night terned out a bit Rosy!

Well, what an amazing catch at Ynyslas last night! Jane, Andre and Tracy Marsh, my two daughters Amy and Hannah and I had another go at netting the tern roost. The weather and tides were perfect and 31 terns were caught along with a few waders - 6 Dunlin, 3 Knot, 2 Redshank, 1 Curlew and a Sanderling. The bulk of the catch though was 26 Sandwich Terns including 4 controls - 3 British and 1 Dutch. We also caught 4 Common Terns, including a Polish ringed juvenile (according to the BTOs online reports this is only the second ever Polish-ringed Common Tern recorded in Britain). Star of the show though, without doubt, was a very smart control adult Roseate Tern. Details of the origins of all 6 controls will be posted when available.

No apologies for the following glut of photos - could easily have posted a whole load more!

Reading a Dutch ring on a Sandwich Tern

Partly makes up for the Dutch-ringed one I read all but one of the numbers on with a telescope last year!!

Polish ring on a juv Common Tern (yes it's legs do look short!!)

It also sported a black engraved Darvic ring so worth checking any you may see!

Star of the show, a control adult Roseate Tern

Amy transporting the Roseate Tern to the chill-out area!

Chilling out!!

Preparing for take-off  Adult roseate (back left) with adult and juvenile 
Common Terns for size comparison.

Juvenile Sanderling - gorgeous!

Finally, the biggest bird of the night - an adult female Curlew

Monday, 20 August 2012

Tern, tern and tern again!

 Last night Paul, Jane, Dave Reed and I were joined by Marc Hughes and his son Aled to have a go at netting the high tide roost at Ynyslas. This year there are loads more terns than normal with unusual numbers of comic terns (170+) joining the 500+ Sandwich Terns present. There have even been a few Little and Black Terns and a lone Gull-billed Tern thrown in. Last nights high tide was a bit early in the evening so it wasn't quite dark enough to catch on the rising tide, even so, a total of 46 birds were caught comprising 25 Dunlin, 3 Knot, 3 Turnstone, 3 Oystercatcher, 1 Redshank, 1 Whimbrel, 8 Sandwich Terns (including 1 control), 1 Arctic Tern and (most of) 1 Common Tern! (-it didn't have an upper mandible!!)

Given the weather this year it is a long time since so many bird bags 
were called into use at the same time!

Juv Arctic Tern

A rare autumn Whimbrel. This juvenile was the 53rd we've caught so far this year but the only one since May!

Aled enjoying a late night Sandwich

A noteworthy observation was that the majority of the Dunlin were adults - this is very unusual in autumn catches at Ynyslas where the vast majority of Dunlin caught on Autumn passage are normally juveniles!

Off to have another go tonight before the windy weather returns and scuppers things for a while!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Glasbury - King of Sands

No wind, no rain, no work!! Yesterday afternoon myself and Tony had a trip down to Glasbury to try and catch a few sandpipers on the River Wye before they all depart. Not only were we successful in catching 3 Common and 1 Green Sandpiper, we also managed to catch a good selection of other birds including: 17 Linnet, 9 Chiffchaff, 6 (+1) Reed Bunting, 1 Jay, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Blue Tit, 1 Willow Warbler and the cherry on the cake - 4 Kingfishers.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Just another Hobby?

Pity, there was plenty of room in that nest for at least two more!!

Definitely not, this is one of the rare 2012 vintage Hobbies, of which there appear to be very few. We had 10 sites on the go last year and nearly all of them produced young. This year the weather has played havoc with both the nesting attempts and our efforts to locate them and we are down to just four apparently occupied sites with just 2 nests found so far. This one was in South Shropshire and was ringed yesterday in company with Leo Smith, Josie and Michelle Frater. Later in the day we checked out another site near to a successful 2010 nest where Michelle had seen recent activity but had no joy locating a nest. The day before I had been with Chris Wells to ring the first brood of the year (3 chicks) in a new site he'd just located near Hereford. Unless something else crops up fairly soon that's probably it now. Last year we ringed 19 chicks and 4 adults!

Not often you see the Indian rope trick utilised for ringing activities! The great beauty of this site was that it was within a tolerable walking distance!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Belgian Gold!

Yesterday I finally received notification of the ringing details of the Belgian Golden Plover I controlled back on 23rd October 2011 (blue marker). It was ringed at Veurne, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium on 22nd March 2011, 442 km WNW of where it was controlled. Also shown (red marker) is the location of the other foreign-ringed Golden Plover, a Dutch bird, caught at the same location (green marker) in December 2009 which had travelled 596 km.

We are still awaiting our first long-distance record of a colour-ring sighting but amazingly one of the 150+ birds we colour-marked this last winter was found breeding on a moor in Denbighshire proving that at least part of our winter population comprises birds from the small and declining Welsh breeding population. Unfortunately the ring inscription wasn't  read so we don't know exactly which bird it was! Let's hope it returns to the same spot next year and allows closer inspection.

Also included in the last batch of recoveries was a Woodcock ringed near Clun in Shropshire which was killed by a bird of prey at Steinsholt, Vestfold, Norway on 16th June 2012 (1,108 km, 474 days).