Last night I headed on to Anglesey with Adrienne Stratford for one of our occasional (but regular) attempts to catch and colour-ring adult Choughs at their roost sites, joined on this occasion by a newly qualified, local, "C" ringer, Chris Bridge. Needless to say this is no easy operation and we often return empty-handed. Not so last night. with 3 first-year birds caught (1 ringed, 2 un-ringed). Amazingly, the ringed bird was one of very few Choughs that Chris had ringed with us, as a chick, on an earlier trip in May 2011!
Safely re-instated at the roost after ringing.
We know from all the years of data collected by the Cross & Stratford Welsh Chough Project that, whilst few Choughs ringed as nestling will survive to breed (because of high natural mortality immediately post fledging), those birds ringed at the end of their first winter have a much greater chance of going on to be subsequently identified as breeding adults. These three born in 2011 should have their first crack at breeding in either 2013 or 2014 - fingers crossed!!
I'd earlier offered to give Chris a quick demonstration of how we catch birds by dazzling, so, after dropping Adrienne off, we quickly nipped down to a small tidal creek hoping for the odd wader or two. Alas not many waders present but we did catch 3 Little Grebes!! Another convert to the power of the lamp I think!
More photos on Chris's blog http://traineebirdringing.blogspot.com/