Monday 13 November 2017

A very well-travelled Sandwich

Above is a photo taken by Theuns Kruger of a flock of mixed terns and gulls in South Africa with Table Mountain pictured in the background.

Here is a photo he took at the same site on 8th November 2017 of one of our Sandwich Terns, Red KAL, ringed at Ynyslas as a juvenile on 25th August 2013. This individual has been identified on passage at Dawlish Warren by Lee Collins in four of the five years since it was ringed!

At a little over 9,900km I think this is the furthest flung recovery of a ringed bird I have ever had out of well over 150,000 birds ringed -  many thanks indeed Theuns!

Thursday 9 November 2017

Final pulli of 2017?

On Tuesday afternoon I had a phone call from one of our Barn Owl landowner's near Aberystwyth to say that althought she new it was a bit unlikely she thought she might have young owls in the nest box again (I had already ringed a brood of 5 large chicks there in July). I knew that Chris Griffiths had ringed his final two broods of the year just a few weeks earlier so informed her that it was not that unlikely and that I would try and get over to check as soon as I could. Yesterday afternoon I checked the box and there was indeed a 2nd brood of 3 chicks which were duly ringed, weighed and measured and all appeared to be a good weight and in good health. 

The smallest chick had primaries less than half emerged and it is quite likely that, barring bad weather, it might still be in the nest in December!

Whilst this might not be that unusual in the milder climate of southern England it is pretty unusual for the hill-farms of Mid Wales. I have only ever ringed a brood of Barn Owls in November once before and they were at a more advanced stage so this is the latest brood I have yet encountered.  2017 has been a quite remarkable breeding season for Barn Owl in Mid Wales though with Chris having ringed over 200 chicks himself and the group having ringing well over 300 between us.

Another one for the 'dazzling list'...

Although my main target species when dazzling are Jack Snipe, Golden Plover and now Lapwing, I still try to catch whatever else I see while I'm out walking around my dazzling sites. Sometimes even the commoner species are a nice surprise, as was the case last night. While searching around one of my sites last night I noticed a very dark bird sat on the ground. I could see straight away that it was a Blackbird, but this one was from the 'continent'. I've only seen one or two of these larger Blackbirds (this one had a wing of 137mm) in the hand, so it was nice to get another good look at one.

Despite tucking him away 'safely' behind some vegetation, he preferred to be out in the open.

This Blackbird became the latest edition to my ever growing dazzling list from the hills in Mid Wales:
Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Great Snipe, Woodcock, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Ruff, Curlew, Purple Sandpiper, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared owl, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, Kestrel, Grey Heron, Mallard, Teal, Stock Dove, Grey Partridge, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush and Reed Bunting. A few that have unfortunately got away are: Snow Bunting, Wigeon and Pintail. 

Just goes to show that there's plenty out there, it's just a matter of finding it!