Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Terned up, eventually!

The last 3 nights have seen some good tides for ringing waders and terns and thankfully the weather was kind too, with the wind finally easing to allow mist-netting at Ynyslas on two of the three night-time high tides. The numbers of birds present were not as high as a fortnight ago with many of the terns and waders having already moved through but with the improved weather, Paul, Silvia, Jane and I did manage to colour-ring 13 more Sandwich Terns bringing the total colour-ringed this year to 41 (39 new birds, 1 re-trap and 1 control).

Juvenile Sandwich Tern. Amazingly past ringing returns have shown that some of these birds have come to Ynyslas from the Farne Islands, crossing overland in doing so and whilst still being fed by the adults!

The handful of Sandwich Terns we have managed to colour-ring in the past two years have already provided a good number of resightings (in Devon, North Wales and Northumberland) so this should be a real boost to the project. Last night we caught our only Common Tern of the year too. This is far from a “common” species for us but this year has been a particularly poor one for “smaller “ terns hanging about in the estuary.

Juvenile Common Tern

The outstanding feature of these recent catches though were the 21 Knot ringed. The Dyfi is not a particularly important estuary for Knot and most that turn up are brief stayers enroute to elsewhere. All of the 31 Knot ringed so far this autumn have been juveniles and represent the largest number of Knot caught in a single year since I started ringing on the Dyfi back in 1982!

A juvenile Knot, clearly identifiable by the subterminal black bands on the wing coverts 

To put things into context, excluding this year, only 94 Knot have been ringed here previously. In contrast nearly 3,000 Dunlin have been ringed in the same time period so the 85 caught this set of tides is a fairly normal showing. 

A nice addition to last nights catch was a Liitle Stint, our first since 2012 and only our 20th ever. Last year, surprisingly, there we no Little Stints ringed anywhere in Britain!

Juvenile Little Stint

Other birds ringed in the past few nights included 7 Ringed Plover, 5 Turnstone, 2 Redshank, 1 Curlew and 10 Oystercatchers, one of which was a partial albino!

Thanks to Paul for the photos (well apart from the ones of the albino Oystercatcher,  I take full credit for them !!)


  1. Be interesting to see if the partial albino oy is the one regularly hanging out at Llanon; we'll be able to tell now.

    1. Hi Liz, yes it will be as that is where I caught it. Despite lamping there on a great many occasions over the past 5 or so years, amazingly, it is actually the first time I have ever seen it!

  2. Are these your birds?: EZV White on green left; CNT black on yellow right; EKT black on yellow left; light blue over red right. Seen at Sennen cove, Cornwall on 19 Sept

  3. Hi Gareth, no not birds marked by us I'm afraid all the ones we have done so far are White on Red K**. Best report them to Ewan Weston, if he didn't ring them he will certainly know who did, or alternatively report them direct to the BTO.


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