Whilst Paul shot off to ring 20 more Dipper pulli on a tributary of the River Wye, I headed over to Pontrhydfendigaid where I met up with Andre Marsh to ring a brood of Mistle Thrush at the back of his house and then to clean out 60-odd nest boxes in a wood near Tregaron ready for the imminent return of the Pied Flycatchers.
A quick spot of lamping at Ynyslas with Jane in the evening produced a single Ringed Plover out of about half a dozen present. A singing Sedge Warbler on Borth Bog was nice though and a reminder of things to come.
Bright and early Saturday I met fellow ringers Lee and Rachael Barber and Brenda Cook, all visiting Wales over the holidays, in Talybont to go and ring Hawfinches (via another brood of 4 Dippers). Catching was much better than of late, perhaps due to a shift in net location, and 21 Hawfinches were caught including 14 new birds, five 2012 retraps and one 2011 retrap. A late female Brambling, 15 new Chaffinch and 14 new Siskins were also ringed.
Rachael getting to grips with a Hawfinch - or is that the other way round?!
Early evening was spent investigating a report of a Barn Owl nest with large young. I was a bit sceptical as this would have been incredibly early. It actually turned out to be a female on 5 eggs but given the amount of droppings, fluff and feathers under the box I can quite see why the owner thought there were chicks in there! Both birds were caught and the female turned out to be a control. After making a careful note of her number she was gently returned to her clutch in the box. An unsuccessful attempt to catch Little Owls near Newtown followed before I finally headed home at around 1 am for some much needed sleep.
At 7.30 Sunday morning Jane arrived and we headed over to Shropshire to ring more Dippers. We met Jonathan and Dawn Pickett near Ludlow to do a couple of nests they have been monitoring. The first was a cracking natural site with five perfect-age chicks.
Afterwards we headed into the main RAS study area to check nests and try to read colour-rings. During the day 22 more Dippers were ringed including 19 pulli and three new adults. Three colour-ringed adults were also read and one holidaying couple were made virtually ecstatic when given a telescopic view of a 'grumpy, labelled, Dipper' sat on a rock!
Bank Holiday Monday spent working, still it was raining heavily so wouldn't have been able to do much anyway!