Monday, 27 March 2017

Tree-mendous

Silvia and I headed out this afternoon, to a site where a flock of Yellowhammers, Chaffinches and Tree Sparrow were feeding on split sheep feed. We only had a couple of hours spare to try and catch them today, but it was heading down to see where best to set the nets, and if they would play ball.
When we got there, we were a bit baffled as the field we had planned to go in had no sheep in it any more, and more importantly no birds. Luckily the sheep had only been moved a few fields down the road, and sure enough the birds were there too. We set up a line of three nets between the hedge, and the sheep feeders. Within minutes of getting back in the car we had already caught our first birds, things were looking promising. After only an hour and half we had to pack up because of other commitments, but in that time we managed to catch a respectful - 4 Tree Sparrows, 18 Yellowhammers, 13 Chaffinches, 3 Meadow Pipits and a House Sparrow!

Sadly a rare sight in Wales now!!

Always nice to see these birds, whether in the hand or in the field.


It's a bit of a long shot, but I'm hoping that one of the Tree Sparrow chicks that we've ringed in previous years about 2 km away might be in the flock! But as we haven't managed to ring many in recent years I won't hold my breath!!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Going Hungary isn't good for you...!


Well not if you're a Woodcock anyway. Relative newbie, Chris Griffiths, has just had his first Woodcock recovery and it's a really interesting one. The bird, ringed near Carno in Mid-Wales on the night of the 3rd February 2017 was shot in Nagygyanté, MezőgyánBékés, Hungary (1,886 km ESE) just 44 days later on 19th March 2017. 




This bird is the first Hungarian recovery of a British-ringed Woodcock and was presumably en-route to its breeding site. This recovery highlights the sad fact that many of our Woodcock, having survived the rigours of winter in Wales (not that they had many of those this year!), are killed on their way back east to breed.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

I don't want your help thanks!

As part of our ongoing Curlew research I paid a visit to Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust's Dolydd Hafren reserve last night in an attempt to catch and colour-ring more of the local breeding population. The high water levels and strong winds of late have seriously curtailed any attempts previously but last night shaped up pretty well. Four nets were set over small floodwater pools on the main river island and 19 Curlews out of the 50-odd present were caught. All proved to be new birds which is interesting as 9 out of 30 odd present there a few weeks ago were birds colour-ringed in previous years. I guess these birds have already dispersed to their breeding territories and the ones we caught last night were either newly returned from their winter haunts or were passage migrants. Many thanks to Michelle Frater for much needed assistance.


One of last night's Curlews expressing exactly what it thinks of us disturbing it's nightly rest!