Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ty'n-y-Caeau 26.09.2015

     On what was forecast to be a 'relatively' windless morning for the area, Heather Coats and I set out the usual line of nets along the hedgerow. We then added an additional line of three - metre high, two shelf nets - at the edge of the crop margin where I had noticed on a previous visit, that many birds were foraging in the stubble that had remained following the harvest.
     Soon after dawn large flocks of finches began milling over the field in addition to a peregrine falcon and a kestrel that cruised just above the hedgerow scattering the finches in all directions including the nets. 
     The two-shelf nets proved their worth producing a large proportion of the overall total for the morning.  
Willow Warbler


By 11:15 the wind began to rise bringing the session to an early end but not before we had captured seventy-two birds with only two re-traps which by chance were the final two birds ringed at the previous visit ten days earlier.

     Ty’n-y-Caeau                                26.09.2015

Willow Warbler

Blue Tit

Great Tit




                    8                                                                            72

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Ty'n y Caeau 17/9/2015

After preparing the ride and setting up the net poles last week in rather windy conditions, it was excellent for Cedwyn and Chris to have an early chance at ringing in almost perfect conditions at TyC.  Absolutely no wind and slightly overcast with birds in evidence on arrival we had great hopes and have to say we weren't disappointed.
A slight problem at the start was that the final bamboo pole to be set up broke which meant we only had 1 less 40' net than intended. Total span today was 5x60' & 1x40'. We may have to look into obtaining more poles as the remaining bamboos feel distinctly fragile.
The first two rounds were calm but productive and as said earlier there were plenty of birds, a mixed flock of probably 200 - though my counting of swirling groups of them is not good - see if you can estimate how many from the white dots in the photo below of about half of them that landed in a tree at the bottom corner of the field. Unfortunately only had my iPhone to get a picture.
I'll take a proper camera next time
Anyway the morning picked up quickly and we finally had a total of 89 birds which after recent CES sessions was a real shock to the system. If we'd had the extra net up, we may have had to make excuses to our respective wives for a much later return home than planned.

The catch included this Stonechat which was the first we had actually seen at Ty'n y Caeau.
OK - I was concentrating on the bird not the horizon!

So here's hoping the autumn sessions can keep up this level of entertainmant.

Totals for the day:

Friday, 4 September 2015

CES 12 - Kenfig 4/9/2015 - The end of a very poor CES year

Perfect conditions to start but the results just didn't do it justice. Suffice to say that the totals for the day matched those for the year and a quick look at the comparison shows it all in grim relief.

This years session totals compared with the average 1997-2014, which contained a number of poor years. ( see all the CES results on link at right)
 The only cheer was that it did contain a large proportion of juveniles which hints at continued breeding success, but where have all the birds gone?

Totals for the day:

So that's it for CES for another year, so lets get off to Ty'n-y- Caeau, and hope for better results.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

CES 11 - Kenfig 18/8/2015 - Another Disappointing Day

Bird of the Day:
Lesser Whitethroat
Even though the final outcome was poor we started in a positive mood having picked up a Grasshopper Warbler and the Lesser Whitethroat in the early net rounds. With conditions looking favourable as can be seen

(and no wind but that's less obvious in the picture)

All nets set by 06:05, who was to know that the paltry total of 15 birds for the morning was all we were to have.
In the catch, as said, was this rather scruffy Grasshopper Warbler.

Plus a Cetti's Warbler

The wind did become a fairly stiff breeze by mid morning but I have my doubts that that was the reason for such low numbers.
This year's CES is looking to be a record breaker, with the lowest ever numbers, but at least there were some good birds. Lets just see what the final session can bring.

Totals for the day:

Saturday, 8 August 2015

CES 10 - Kenfig 7/8/15 - Good Numbers Good Birds

3 Grasshopper Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, and 
           1 Marsh Tit.

They may not be a particularly exotic set, but for Kenfig they are pretty unusual to catch. The Marsh Tit also being a first for some ringers here.
Cedwyn and Chris had the nets up by 06:10 to be joined a little later by Dave. The early round picked up the  Grasshopper warblers and one liked it so much it decided to visit again later in the morning.
The weather was pretty much ideal for a mornings ringing and the total of 47 was a respectable haul given recent catches.
Two Goldfinch also added to the list if unusual suspects, as whilst they can be caught at the reserve, they are not frequent visitors to the reedbed. The one rarity that we were relieved not to have in the nets was the Great White Egret, which did pass uncomfortably close toward, the end of the session.

Totals for the day:

Saturday, 1 August 2015

CES 9 - Kenfig 30/7/2015 - What No Wind & Birds to ring!

After having to abandon the idea of any ringing for CES 8 it was a relief to be able to put up all the nets for CES 9 with absolutely no wind. It may be a bit picky after the weather we have had to complain that a little less sun would have made the conditions perfect.
Cedwyn and Chris, along with Suze, a welcome visitor, had all the CES nets up by 06:10 and then set about putting the extra 2x18m nets at the west pool slack.
The early net rounds rewarded us with a good catch and each subsequent round brought in a few each time. The CES total of 31 was the best session of the year by far, with 57 birds caught in total, more than 90% being juveniles.
Star bird was the Garden Warbler even if they are a little lacking in exotic plumage.
Garden Warbler
That plumage deficiency was made up for by the the juvenile Willow Warbler that was stunningly yellow in the early morning sun.
Willow Warbler
Totals for the day:

Thursday, 16 July 2015

CES 7 - Kenfig 16/7/2015 - Well Almost

Cedwyn and Chris decided to risk doing session 7 even though the weather forecast was for a little more wind than we would wish. When we set the nets it was windy but didn't seem too bad and the first round caught 6 birds. By 07:30 we decided that after taking a dozen birds out of the extra nets it was getting too windy.
By way of some small recompense the 18 birds in total were made up of 11 different species and included this Treecreeper.

It might be me but it has the countenance of a headmaster giving us the stare that says "you should know better than to be ringing in this wind" so we packed up and went home.

Totals for the day:

Monday, 29 June 2015

CES 6 - Kenfig 29/6/2015 - A Distinct Improvement

Before you get carried away by the positive title, the distinct improvement is pretty modest. A total of 18 birds in the CES nets this morning was welcome after the paltry total last session (7). A quick look at the results will show that overall for the year to date the number of birds ringed is 2 fewer than the previous lowest at the half way stage (77 versus 79 in 2013, when in fact there were 2 sessions missed).

Enough of the gloom. Cedwyn, Phil and Chris met at 05:30, greeted by favourable conditions if slightly breezy. The nets were all set by 06:10 and a juvenile WILWA was in before we had left the ride.

A steady trickle of birds throughout the morning kept us interested and of note were the:

Long-tailed Tit
Another juvenile Willow Warbler seemed reluctant to leave the scene and sat watching us from the tree behind the ringing table so I took the opportunity to take quick piccie:
An interested onlooker
I should add that Cedwyn should be credited for a large number the pictures used in the blog (usually the better ones).
Totals for the day:

Friday, 19 June 2015

CES 5 - Kenfig 19/6/2015 - A Very Poor Result

Well let's start with the good news;
We caught a few juveniles

and we caught a few adults

We also had a new addition to the team, to improve the organisation and stop me having to fish my mobile out of my waders at regular intervals.
Possibly a Firecrest subspecies - Tempus metiri
Other notable sitings were;
Dark Green Fritillary - Argynnis aglaja
Black-tailed Skimmer - Orthetrum cancellatum

Lets end with the bad news;
Not much to say about the birds today - The total catch was small with only 11 birds caught all morning. The equivalent session last year caught 60. It could have been the weather, which after being completely windless at 06:00 was very blustery by 09:00. It would be good to think that the wind was the reason for the low numbers but we do have our doubts.

Total for the day:

Sunday, 14 June 2015

CES 4 - Kenfig 14/6/2015

Both putting the nets up and taking them down today presented different difficulties, but all add to the "joys" of getting up by 5am and spending the morning at Kenfig. Wayne and Chris arrived at 05:30 on what were perfect conditions (at last) and set about setting the nets. The replacement net that last session had worked perfectly was for some inexplicable reason 6' longer than it had been. This meant we had to reset all the permanent lower poles (using permanent in its loosest sense). That was OK but by the time we arrived at the end it meant the installed guy ropes didn't fit. All this reshuffling meant the the nets were finally up at 06:30. You'd think taking the nets down would have been easy, but no, it was all complicated by the fact that dragonflies had decided to take up residence. They are not easy to remove (not in one piece anyway) and it took quite a while to achieve.  Wayne is expecting to receive a Gold Award from the RSPCD (if such an organisation exists) for the expert removal.
Four-spotted Chaser Libellula quadrimaculata - about to be released.

Tragopogon pratensis

Some interesting plants were spotted along with a number of butterflies including Dark Green Fritillary, but they are far too difficult to photograph with a phone and when you are supposed to be ringing.

Euphrasia sp.
Oh! what about the ringing?
Things were an improvement over the last few sessions although the number of migrants was rather poor. The morning's catch was bolstered by a family of Great Tits in the additional nets (WPS) and a family of Long Tail Tits in the CES ride.
The day ended with us listening to a Cuckoo in the vicinity of the CES ride.

Totals for the Day:

Saturday, 30 May 2015

CES 3 - Kenfig 30/5/15

Taking advantage of the single day, this CES session, predicted to have reasonable weather Dave and Chris were greeted by the call of a Cuckoo as the usual CES nets were set up.
Additional pair of 18m nets were also set out but the lack of birds seems to be a continuing theme this year. Over the three sessions so far less than half the number of birds have been caught compared to last year (33 vs 68).
A Whitethroat was the first for the season so was obviously deserving of a picture.

After a disappointing morning (for both us and the Cuckoo) it was still checking all corners of the site for a possible mate, and we left for the day.

Totals for the day:

Saturday, 23 May 2015

CES 2 - Kenfig 23/5/15

Not a lot can be said for the results of CES 2 today! The second lowest total of birds since the CES was started in 1997.
Cedwyn, Wayne and Chris had the nets up by 06:05am with what on arrival seemed like the most perfect conditions that could be asked for. Absolutely no wind and very misty. By the time the nets were up though the sun had burnt it all off and we had clear blue sky.
Six hours later it was a fairly weary trudge back to the car park after catching a total of 14 birds and only 6 of those were caught in the CES ride. We do have to thank Dave for making that trek a lot easier by giving us a lift half way in the new and very comfortable Toyota.

Totals for the day:

Sunday, 10 May 2015

CES 1 - Kenfig 10/5/2015

The weather at last allowed us to get in the first session of the year, though it did at one point seem as though we might fail, with the weather for the coming week looking decidedly dodgey.
Cedwyn, Phil and Chris met at 05:30 and the day looked perfect, overcast and completely calm.
We had the CES nets up by just after 06:00 and had 4 birds in before we had actually cleared the site.
After processing the first birds we set up a further 2 x 60' nets in the West Pool Slack.
The first rounds up until 09:30 yielded a good selection though small numbers , but thereafter we only had 2 new birds, though we had to extract a number of same day retraps.
The extractions though small in number were made a little  more entertaining as we had to constantly convince a family of swans that we meant them no harm, but did need to

Swans in residence at the CES ride
 get past them each net round. A little hissing accompanied each retreat they made, but were very quick to return once we left the ride..
As always it's a pleasure to be at Kenfig as there were large numbers of orchids around the ringing table.
Is this an Early Purple Orchid without leaf spots?
Totals for the day:

Monday, 4 May 2015

Big Birding Day - Ringing Demo 26/4/2015

As part of the Big Birding Day, Dave and Heather held a ringing demonstration which as you can see from the results table was a pretty successful morning, with a good spread of species and total number of birds.

Total for the Day:

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Final Session of the Spring for Ty'n y Caeau - 8/4/2015

Cedwyn and Chris made it to Ty'n y Caeau for the last session and that's just as well since another of the bamboo poles snapped. Fortunately there was enough left to set the nets at a reasonable height. The rest are all showing their age now so the autumn sessions will probably require a whole new set of poles.
With the feeder down to about 2/3rds full we were hoping for a reasonable catch, as obviously there had been birds around since it was last filled on Sunday. 
There was plenty of birds about - Greenfinch and Yellowhammer in the hedgerow and Skylark, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Swallows overhead.
This proved to be unfounded optimism as the morning yielded only 10 birds, even though there was plenty of activity in the crop adjacent to the nets. So much so that we put up another pair of double shelf nets in the hope of getting a better catch.

Totals for the day:

Monday, 6 April 2015

Signs of Spring - Kenfig 4/4/15

An early start, for Cedwyn and Chris, on an overcast and still rather cold morning rewarded us with Kenfig's first Chiffchaff of the year and sighting of the first Swallow over the reserve. The targeted Reed Bunting were fairly elusive though plenty were seen feeding on the millet being provided for them. Though the catching was slow the morning was still very productive as we manged to repair one of the Ty'n y Caeau nets which had a large number of holes in the top shelf (I know nets by definition have lots of holes, but I'm sure you get the picture).

Totals for the day:

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Ty'n y Caeau - 27/3/2015

A long way to go and not even a bird each!
Heather,Phil,Charlie and Chris turned up at 06:30 and had to wait until after 08:30 for the first bird although we did see two get out of the net before we could make it to the nets to extract them. 
Then they came with a rush at 09:10 and 09:30. Three birds for the morning

Totals for the day:

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Kenfig NNR - 10/3/15

Some fine weather at last proved it to be a good day for the Kenfig Ringing group.
Whilst some went to Ty'n y Caeau, Dave was busy around the reserve centre at Kenfig.
A good selection of birds.

Totals for the day:

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Ty'n y Caeau 10/3/2015 - A good session at last.

After a number of visits this year to Ty'n y Caeau with a pretty meagre total each time, we had a very good session this morning.
Heather and Chris arranged to have the nets up at first light. The reward was a good early round with almost 20 birds in the nets.

The target species (Yellowhammer) was present in good numbers, justifying the work being done by the volunteers filling the seed feeders regularly.

With the sun coming up we were still catching birds, unlike previous sessions, making it a very pleasant morning.

Totals for the day:

Friday, 20 February 2015

Ty'n y Caeau - 20/2/2015

Another disappointing session at TyC today though the weather looked like it would be favourable.
We met at 07:00 and set up the usual run of nets adjacent to the feeder.
Not much to say but that it was short on birds, though 4 species and a re-trap YELHA that was first caught here as a 5M on 27/3/2010.

Total for the day:

Monday, 9 February 2015

Ty'n y Caeau - 9/2/2015

On what, at first impression, seemed to be a perfect morning for ringing in the end turned out to be a very disappointing event.
Heather, Cedwyn, Charlie, Phil and Chris met at first light to set up the nets at Ty'n y Caeau with a good deal of optimism. The feeder had been filled and about a quarter of the contents had already been taken. There were also plenty of birds seen and heard in the hedge alongside the net run.
However the forecast overcast weather turned into a gloriously sunny morning. The birds were content to simply sit in the hedge apparently sunbathing and by 10:30 we had amassed a grand total of 6.
We took the nets down and looking back to the net run as we cleared away, the birds started darting back and forth from hedge to feeder. They could see  the nets in the sun.

Totals for the day: