2018: a Great Year for Ringing & Nest Recording in Glamorgan

The BTO’s 2018 Online Ringing and Nest Recording Report has just been released – but it’s absolutely not just for ringers and nest recorders. It’ll be of great interest to most birders, crammed full of fascinating info gathered on bird movements and species longevity records from recoveries and re-traps of ringed birds. It also contains details of all the species whose nests have been monitored for the Nest Record Scheme. You’ll be surprised not only by how many, but also by how few nests of some species are monitored – gaps that you may be able to fill? You can look back at data from years prior to 2018 too and,  best of all, it can all be broken down to country and county level – so you can see what it all looks like on a Wales and Glamorgan level (Note: it’s not possible to break down the results between ‘east’ and west Glamorgan).

So what did 2018 look like in Glamorgan? Well, things look good here on both the ringing and nest recording front. A total of 6,852 birds were ringed in the county last year; there were 2,233 re-traps and 60 recoveries.  This compares with 6,548 birds ringed, 1,642 re-traps and 66 recoveries in 2017.   Recoveries are reports of birds found dead and those found alive away from the site of ringing. For most species, reports of live birds re-caught by ringers within 5 km of the ringing site are classified as retraps.

Greenfinch wing being measured (Photo: Dawn Balmer)

It’s well worth having a look at the 2018 Summary of Ringing Recoveries from Glamorgan. It’s full of interesting ‘stories’ of bird movements and longevity. For example, the Barn Owl ringed as a nestling in the Vale of Glamorgan on 19th June 2018 which was found freshly dead (sadly, hit by a car) four and a half months later in Northamptonshire on 31st October 2018. Also, a Redshank that was ringed as an adult in October 1999 on the Taff Estuary (just over a month before the sluice gates were shut and Cardiff Bay was created), which was found freshly dead as a result of the ‘Beast from the East’ at Cardiff Heliport in March 2018. This individual was within touching distance of breaking the longevity record for this species which stands at 20 years, 1 month and 15 days.

Dunnock nest and eggs
Dunnock nest – an under-recorded species in Glamorgan (Photo: DJJ)

It was a record breaking year for nest recorders in Glamorgan with 963 nests of 49 species monitored in 2018. That’s the highest ever total in the county since the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme began in 1943 and well up on the 708 nests of 43 species monitored in 2017. Here are the Top 10 Species monitored in Glamorgan last year:


Number of nests monitored

1. Blue Tit


2. Kittiwake


3. Great Tit


4. Blackbird


5. Swallow


6. Song Thrush


7. Coot


8. Pied Flycatcher


9. Nuthatch


10. Barn Owl


Amongst the scarcer species whose nests were monitored were Goshawk (2 records), Lesser-spotted Woodpecker (1 record) and Marsh Tit (1 record). On the flip side, nest records from some common species, or those whose nests are relatively easy to find, were surprisingly few in number e.g. Robin (13 records), Dunnock (12 records); Mute Swan (7 records) and Woodpigeon (6 records). Every nest record of every species counts. Perhaps you can help increase these numbers next year?

On behalf of the BTO, a huge ‘thank you’ to all the ringers and nest recorders who contributed records in Glamorgan in 2018. Your efforts and dedication are really appreciated.

So, to finish off as we began – whether you’re a ringer a nest recorder or not, if you have 10-15 minutes to spare, it’s definitely worth looking at the 2018 Online Ringing and Nest Recording Report – but, be warned: once you’re in it, you may well find you want to spend a lot longer than 15 minutes reading it.

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