Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Swallows passing through

In the last four weeks we have been catching swallows in a local reedbed on one evening per week and have now processed 330 birds.  The first three catches, each around 100 birds, were comprised almost totally of juveniles with the initial catch mainly recently fledged birds.  Each week has seen the plumage of the juveniles advance and last week more birds near to completing their post juvenile moult were caught. 
In the first three weeks we caught very few adults (one or two each week) but yesterday with only 22 swallows caught there were 4 adults, all females, perhaps indicating that the breeding season for the adults is just about completed. 
Perhaps more surprisingly, even though the reedbed has been an attractive roost for swallows every evening, none of the birds has been retrapped - they have all moved on quite quickly. 
The islands have recorded a light swallow passage to date and my notes suggest that the first third of September is peak swallow migration time but these ringing notes suggest that the passage has been going on for the last month although perhaps in smaller stages and in smaller groups which we hardly recognise as migratory movement.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

A few interesting recoveries

The BTO have just sent through a few recoveries with an interesting mix :-

A young female Blackcap ringed in Milford Haven on 25th November 2014 and presumably wintering there was killed by a cat on 23rd December 2015 in Les Nouettes, Forest, Guersney in the Channel Islands and was presumably wintering there having been back to Denmark or Germany or somewhere east for the breeding season.

A Woodcock ringed by Paddy at Llanmill on 5th February 2013 was shot 373 Km north and west at Cloongoonagh, in Co Sligo, Ireland on 22nd December 2015.  As many Woodcock seem to be quite site faithful in subsequent winters this is one that definitely overshot.

A Goldcrest ringed at Grimston, on the cost in the  East Riding of Yorkshire on 12th October and possibly having just arrived there after crossing the North sea was retrapped at Pwllchrochan just 5 days later early on the 17th October having travelled over 400Km.

Other interesting recoveries are a second year Herring Gull from Caldey seen at Radipole on the south coast - very few are found outside Wales and a Manx Shearwater chick from Skokholm eaten by the Valero Refinery Peregrines

Monday, 4 January 2016

2015 round up

All of a sudden it is a new year and three months have gone by since the last post - I think this is mainly down to the wet weather which has put a damper on any netting activities. It has been particularly frustrating that our new wader colour ringing programme has got off to such a slow start. 

We now have three new colour ringing schemes approved for curlew, redshank and oystercatcher but since two successful netting sessions in October when 18 waders were fitted with colour rings it has not been possible to put a net up.

The colour ringing is part of a long term study aiming at getting a better understanding of how these species use the estuarine habitat, their survival and site fidelity etc. All three species have declining populations with curlew recently added to the red list of Birds of Conservation Concern. The cost of the rings and some of the equipment has been funded by the Crown Estate.

All the Pembs schemes use a plain orange ring and a numbered ring that reads upwards

Late October and early November saw some busy netting sessions with good numbers of thrushes and goldcrests caught at the Preseli woodlands. In total 125 blackbirds, 63 redwings, 76 goldcrests were caught including a control that had been ringed in Cornwall two weeks earlier. In addition, a sparrowhawk, a second yellow-browed warbler, 4 bramblings and black redstart added variety.

Adult male brambling

1st winter black redstart

2nd year male sparrowhawk

Further south at Mullock, 4 firecrests were ringed during a single net round during October but this species did not feature at the two Preseli sites.