Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A Great Start

The third CES visit saw a total of 39 ringed, which is very close to to the May average of 35 birds per session. Although numbers of the main species such as willow warbler, chiffchaff and blackcap are as predicted, this year virtually all are new individuals with only three retraps from previous seasons. Usually approx 40% of the catch in May is made up of returning site-faithful individuals. Why the changeover of birds has taken place this year is a puzzle.

The best bird was this male redstart.

After getting fed up with only ever finding blue tits or great tits in nearly all nest boxes we put up, we tried to design one that redstarts might find attractive, and members of the genus paridae don't. This might be the answer -

Out of five put up in early May, two have redstart nests in them. They are set within continuous cover mature sitka, a habitat which is widespread, so we will definitely try some more next year.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Not all chicks are cute

For many years Steve and Anna have organised an annual visit to St Margaret’s Island to census the seabirds and ring nestling cormorant and great black backed gulls. A few years ago it was possible to ring both species on the same trip but cormorants now nest much earlier, with the first young fledging by the end of May. On the other hand great black backed gulls are still mainly on eggs at this time.

Yesterday's trip produced a total of 130 cormorant chicks ringed. Timing was perfect with the largest ones not quite ready to fledge and the bulk at perfect age. There were still a few sitting on eggs and a few small chicks. Brood size was healthy with at least 2 to 3 in most nests and a few with four chicks.
The earliness and high productivity is surprising considering the cold, wet and windy April and early May.

A face that only a mother could love!

It's best to keep your nose well back whilst ringing cormies

Luckily, we can’t blog the smell!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Back in Action!

The group's constant effort site at Ty Rhyg received its second visit of the year yesterday. During perfect weather for netting a total of 33 birds were caught, following on from 44 during the early May visit. The catches are always fairly low during May with most of the males staying within their territories, and many females spending most of the time sat on nests. Despite the cool and wet Spring with late arrivals of Summer migrants, overall numbers of adults seems to compare favourably with last season, though its early days to draw any conclusions. Nothing unusual was caught, but the range of species at this site always makes an interesting morning's ringing.

Paddy, Mike, Den and Tansy

Adult male Bullfinch

Garden Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler