Friday, 25 January 2013

The Winter so far

Despite the very infrequent blog posts, the winter’s ringing activities have been going well and In particular, the long-term study of the nocturnal use of farmland by waders has picked up speed with the addition of a new and highly accomplished recruit - Paul – who has joined the steadily increasing number of individuals in Wales who no longer think the telly is adequate entertainment on a cold and wet winters evening, and instead take to the fields to record and ring birds.

Paul ringing a woodcock  (photo - Myles Jenks)

So far this winter woodcock have been the most frequently encountered species and over 130 have been ringed in the county. Snipe are encountered almost as frequently but only 3 have been ringed and this is entirely due to their wary nature and habit of grouping together in squelchy wet parts of the fields, making close approach nigh on impossible. Golden plover are more approachable and 20 have ringed, but jack snipe have been very thin on the ground with only 2 seen, both of which were associated with a load of jumpy snipe.

Woodcock roosting in improved  pasture (photo - Myles Jenks)

Ground roosting passerines have included 18 redwings but only 2 fieldfare and a song thrush, a dozen or so meadow pipits and skylarks.

Only two fieldfares have been ringed this winter (Photo - Jennie Caldwell)

The recent snow will undoubtedly cause a lot of redistribution of birds and it will be interesting to see how the birds react. Some of the county has been knee deep in snow while much of the coastal strip has still been completely green, so as soon as the full moon passes we will be out there again to see.

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