Saturday, 31 December 2011
Thursday, 29 December 2011
Exactly a year ago, bored with television and having eaten all the Christmas Quality Street I decided to take a night time walk to the top of our farm here in West Wales with a teenage relative to introduce him to woodcock ringing. Sadly earlier last year this young lad had lost his mother after a sudden illness and this was his first Christmas without her.
He was completely captivated when I managed to catch the only woodcock we saw that night and was thrilled to be able to ring it with me.
A short while after this he decided that he wanted to write an article for the junior section of the RSPB magazine about this experience, it was accepted and will be published in their January issue. He comes from a literary background and we all hope that he will be inspired by this early success to follow in his mother's footsteps and like her become a journalist.
How nice it was to be able to complete this story by calling him on Christmas day this year to tell him that I had received an email from Tony Cross informing me that this ring had been recovered from near to Saint Petersburg in Russia.
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
A bit of very rash and show-off, off-roading, in a toy 4x4 followed, which resulted in my car being buried right up to it's axels in the middle of a very wet grass field (well bog, actually) in the middle of absolutely nowhere!! No end of pushing and shoving was going to move it (some of us did try!) so an emergency call to Terence Lambert at 10.30pm saw Paul and Marc off home to their beds. I got to spend another 10 hours trying to keep warm before being dragged out backwards by Tom Jones (no, not that one!) in his brand new (but no-longer clean and shiny) tractor!
Many thanks indeed to both Terence and the Jones's for their immediate and good-natured assistance! Never has a hot cup of tea been so welcome!
Photos to follow no doubt!!!
Just received, Marc in mud! Not sure that was his original footwear though!!!
May be more yet?
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Tuesday, 20 December 2011
In all 52 species were recorded and 19 species were caught including Tristram's Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Serin, Firecrest and Rock Bunting.
If anyone sees a Ring Ouzel this coming year please check it for colour-rings. The odds aren't great but those 9 have got to go somewhere!
Sunday, 11 December 2011
White L, Yellow V, ringed on the same day however, was seen on 19th November 2011 by Dave Astins at Hook, Pembrokeshire 173 kms SSW.
Off to Morocco with Mick Green and Paddy Jenks for a week catching and colour-ringing Ring Ouzels (hopefully!) tomorrow. With any luck there will be some photos to post when we return!
Tuesday, 6 December 2011
Not sure what you call a five thing hat-trick but have finally managed to ring all five regular breeding owls in one year.
Monday, 5 December 2011
My London-based sisters-in-law, Jane and Ange enjoying a close encounter with some unfamiliar nightlife.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
With a fantastic number of birds dazzled in October, I wondered if I had peaked too soon! Fortunately it would appear that the good run of birds is going to continue thoughout the winter with another (very) respectable number of birds dazzled in November. As you can see from the table below, the catches in both months were very simular. The two totals that have stood out for me so far are:
1) 5 Jack Snipe - it may not seem that many, but my guess it that it will probably be somewhere between 5%-10% of the total caught in Britain & Ireland in 2011.
2) 8 Woodcock - I would have expected to be well in to double figures by now. It's not even because I'm missing them, there just aren't many around here at the moment! Where are they all?
I can't wait to see what December brings - BRING IT ON!!
Saturday, 3 December 2011
At my first site near Llanerfyl the birds were a bit jumpy, but I still managed to bag 1 Golden Plover, 1 Woodcock and another Jack Snipe (my 6th of the winter - where are they all coming from??)
Not satisfied with what I had caught I then headed up to the the Ceri ridge way where I knew of a reliable fields for Snipe. Within 5 mins or so I had caught one (JACKPOT - the elusive hat-trick achieved - Snipe, Jack Snipe and Woodcock), shortly followed by another 4 more! The night was rounded off with another 4 Golden Plovers.
A Good night all round!!
Thursday, 1 December 2011
The 18 birds caught included 1 last winter re-trap, 1 same night re-trap, 6 new adults and 10 new juveniles.
Monday, 28 November 2011
Not bad for a first catch!!
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Last night Terence Lambert took an hour to walk a local hillside neat Llanbrynmar to see if there were a few woodcock to ring. This is an unusual woodcock site being pretty steep faced rather than the normal hill top location. The first bird he caught was already ringed (EP94287) This woodcock was ringed by myself whilst being trained by Tony Cross on his Crychan site near Llanwrtyd Wells on 9/3/08. It was an adult bird when ringed making it at least 5 years old, our longest lived retrap so far!
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Andrew Hoodless and I spent a few hours woodcock ringing near to Lledrod on 18th Nov. the second of the 5 birds we caught that night was already ringed. It was with great excitement that I discovered that was not one of my rings. On making a few phone calls the next morning I discovered that it had been ringed by Arfon Williams near to Llanrhystud three nights earlier and that he retrapped it the following night on the same field. It seem that this juv having arrived on the coast took fright at the Irish Sea and decided to have a think about it on dry land. The route from Llanrhystud to Lledrod takes in the Wyre Valley, perfect habitat for daytime roosting and night time feeding.
Last Thursday Dr Andrew Hoodless, the UK woodcock expert came to Llanilar to train members of the Woodcock Network on how to fit geolocators. Paddy Jenks, Wendy James, Richard Dobbins and Mike Sherman, came up for the night to see how it was done. It was amazing how we all use different nets, I was amazed that Richard and Wendy have managed so well using just a 2 mtr pole....respect!!!!
The night was a great success with 11 woodcock caught and everyone had a good chance to try fitting a radio tag, a substitute for the geolocator as we are waiting for the geolocators to come from the manufacturers. The design of these, a leg loop harness, are the same as for the geolocators so it was good practice for removing then too.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
....and the first ever control by another ringer of one of our Nightjars. A juvenile ringed on 26th July 2010 near Resolven, Neath was controlled as an adult female by Alan Lowe on 29th June 2011 at Ynyshir, Rhondda Cynon Taff, 25 km from where it was reared. Not bad but one from sub-Saharan Africa would have been OK too!
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Frustrated by a full moon, I decided to get out early to catch before moonrise at 20.15. Counted 30 but only caught 5 as they were very jumpy. A lot of the birds I saw were in odd places in small groups near to hedges and sheltering out of the wind. It left me wondering if these were migrant flocks unfamiliar with the area. 4 of the 5 were juveniles.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Roll on the new moon.
Wednesday, 2 November 2011
After my last visit to my ringing site on Sunday when I saw only one woodcock I was sure of only one thing... that I would get wet. However my efforts were rewarded with 14 woodcock seen and 9 ringed..... 8 of these were juveniles.
With a moon and calmer weather forecast from the weekend onwards we should see a lot more woodcock arriving soon.
Catches were as follows:
Hopefully now with a good number of Golden Plovers ringed, as they start to head to the coast for winter, the odd bird will get recovered and help us understand more about who goes where, and maybe why??
Saturday, 29 October 2011
A Snipe was also caught.
The past week has seen a steady increase in migrant woodcock arriving in West Wales. Apart from the single bird reported previously on this blog and one that I ringed on my site near Aberystwyth on Oct 19th it has remained quiet until the night of the 26th when I saw 10 and ringed 6.
Of the 21 ringed by our Woodcock Network members so far this autumn the vast majority have been juvenile, this repeats a trend noticed over previous autumns.
It has often been stated that woodcock migrate on a full moon, the 31 that arrived on North Ronaldsay on the night of Oct 25th say not!
Thursday, 27 October 2011
Not satisfied with our efforts at Ynyslas we headed over to Llanon. After a quick look along the foreshore north of the church, where we ringed a Golden Plover and a Black-headed Gull, we headed to the fields south of the town where we caught another 10 Skylarks (including 1 re-trap). This took the number caught in Ceredigion so far this autumn to over 100. We also had a very special early Christmas bonus from Lapland!!