Monday, 29 July 2013

Messing about on the river

On Thursday night our newest trainee, Sarah, and I headed off to South Wales to our second Nightjar study site -  Penycymoedd. Once again this is a consented wind farm and we are attempting to discover just how many Nightjars there are on site pre and post construction. Mostly this is to be achieved just by surveying churring males but when there are a few in a small area it is often useful to catch them just to be sure as they don't necessarily all churr at the same time and can move some distance between song-posts. Catching conditions were perfect, warm with no wind and three males were caught.

One of the three male Nightjars ringed that night 


The following morning, on the way home, we had a go at netting our regular Sand Martin site at Glasbury. Two years ago we ringed several hundred Sand Martins here but last year was a complete disaster as most of the nests were washed-out by the constant flooding and not a single Sand Martin was ringed. Numbers were much improved again this year and 69 birds were caught on this first netting session including the Spanish ringed bird pictured below. Interestingly not a single bird was re-rapped from previous years.

Sand Martin wearing an Icona Madrid ring

Whilst netting the Sand Martins I always put a net over the river in the hope of catching a passing Common Sandpiper or Kingfisher. The gods of ringing were  looking very favourably on us as we caught 7 Common Sandpipers, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, a Green Sandpiper and a Kingfisher!!


a young Green Sandpiper


Juvenile male Kingfisher

As if all that wasn't enough, whilst sat there ringing the Sand Martins it became obvious that there was a pair of Yellow Wagtails feeding young nearby and soon a nest with three perfect aged pulli was located.

This may not seem a big deal to those of you in England but we don't get to see breeding Yellow Wagtails in these parts very often and this is the first brood I've ever done in 34 years of ringing!!

Oh yeah, ringed mum too!

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