Free Guide to Celebrate National Nest Box Week 2019

National Nest Box Week 2019 (NNBW) starts today, 14 February. Why not take part by erecting a nest box in your garden or (with the landowners permission) a local greenspace? Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. This is especially true in urban areas and it’s making it tough for species whose numbers are in decline like House Sparrow (-35%) , Starling (-74%) and Swift (-51%) .

If you’re not sure how to go about it, to help us all celebrate NNBW the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has produced a new ‘essential guide’, full of useful information on i) what to look for when buying a nest box, ii) box placement and iii) looking after a box longer term. The free guide is available from gbw@bto.org or by calling the BTO’s Garden Ecology Team on 01842-750050.

Nestbox Pic 1Nestbox pic 2

Here in East Glamorgan, to celebrate National Nest Box Week, the Glamorgan Bird Club is organising a nest box making event at Kenfig National Nature Reserve on Saturday, 16 February. If you’d like to join in, please meet the team at the Kenfig Visitor Centre workshop at 9 a.m.

The simple act of putting up a nest box can make a real difference for our birds, providing them with the space they need to raise a family. Taking part in NNBW gives you the chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your nest box. What’s not to like?

Advertisements

New opportunities to become a BTO Wetland Birds Survey volunteer

What do the Knap Boating Lake in Barry, Pitcot Pool in St Brides Major and Tirfounder Fields in the Cynon Valley have in common? Well, they’re all in need of new volunteers to count the waterbirds on them for the BTO’s Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS). Until very recently, waterbirds at all three sites have been counted regularly for many years providing valuable data for this important national survey, as well as for local publication in the annual Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report produced by the Glamorgan Bird Club. It would be fantastic if we could find new volunteers to take on these sites, to ensure that we can continue to add to the body of information we already have for these sites. Do you think you can help?

Pitcot pond, St. Brides (GRC Blogspot)
Pitcot pond, St. Brides (http://grcforum.blogspot.com/)

If you’ve never taken part in a bird survey before WeBS is a great place to start. You don’t need to be an ‘expert’ birder; anyone can take part, even beginners to birdwatching.  Unlike many bird surveys, to carry out WeBS Counts, you don’t have to know bird songs or calls, just the ability to identify common waterbirds. The survey is as easy as 1,2,3 . . .

  1. Turn up once a month on a specified date to your allotted wetland site
  2. Count the waterbirds you see there
  3. Submit your records to the BTO – either online or on paper forms 

For more information about the survey, as well as other WeBS sites also in need of volunteers in East Glamorgan, please have a look at our WeBS page.

Today (2nd February) is World Wetlands Day, established to celebrate our wonderful wetlands and to raise awareness about their value for humanity and the planet. What better way to join in the celebrations than becoming a WeBS volunteer? If you’ve always felt that you’d like to make a practical contribution to our knowledge of birds but didn’t know where to start, then taking part in this survey is an excellent place to begin.

If you’re interested in taking part in WeBS and taking on one of these three or other vacant local sites, please get in touch.

Daniel Jenkins-Jones
WeBS Local Organiser for East Glamorgan
18 St Margaret’s Road; Whitchurch, Cardiff, CF14 7AA
h: 02920 621394; m: 07428 167 576
e: eastglamwebs@gmail.com

Do you fancy sexing some ducks this winter?

Will you be out birding in wetland areas in East Glamorgan or elsewhere this month (January 2019)? If so, you may want to help out with this easy, yet important, survey.

This month, waterbird counters and bird watchers across Europe, North Africa and Southwest Asia are being asked to collect the male/female sex ratio data of the counts of wildfowl they make. You may have taken part in something similar back in January 2016, when birdwatchers were asked to note the sex ratio of the Common Pochard they recorded while out birding or conducting a Wetland Bird Survey count. The results of that study can be found here.

Counting the number of females and males in flocks of wildfowl is an easy way to help gather information on population structures and can even provide a crude assessment of changes in survival rates between the sexes.

pintail - jill pakenham
Male Pintail (Photo: Jill Pakenham)

Please do consider helping. It’s quick, easy and fun! Counters are being asked to simply record the number of males and females in flocks that they observe. Sex ratio counts are welcomed at other times of the winter too.

Your sex ratio counts can be submitted via BirdTrack or via this website http://www.ducksg.org/projects/sexratios/ , where you’ll also find more information about this study and how to take part.

Get 2019 off to a flying start by taking part in the BTO BirdTrack #100CompleteLists challenge

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year to you all!

If you are looking for a birding challenge for 2019, why not try the BTO BirdTrack #100CompleteLists Challenge? The maths is easy – the challenge is to log an average of just two complete lists every week at your local patch or further afield.

BTO Birdwatcher 3

BirdTrack is a project that looks at migration movements and distributions of birds throughout Britain and Ireland. It also provides facilities for observers to store and manage their own personal records as well as using these to support species conservation at local, regional, national and international scales.

The idea behind BirdTrack is that, if you have been out birdwatching or simply watching the birds in your garden, records of the birds you have seen can be useful data. The scheme is year-round, and ongoing, and anyone with an interest in birds can contribute.

BTO Birdwatcher

The success of BirdTrack relies on your birdwatching lists. Simply make a note of the birds you see, either out birdwatching or from the office or garden for example, and enter your daily observations on a simple-to-use web page or via the free App for iPhone and Android devices. You can really help the BTO to gather the large number of lists it needs at all times of the year from throughout Britain and Ireland.

Complete lists are the most useful BirdTrack data the BTO receives and all that is required to submit a complete list is to enter all bird species you positively identified in your visit. There should also be a reasonable attempt made to cover most of the site you are visiting. Incomplete lists and casual records can also be entered because they too build our understanding of populations, distributions and movements.

If you are taking part, why not let us know how you’re getting on through social media using the #100CompleteLists hashtag.

Your Curlew Sightings are Important

The critical decline of Curlew is well documented and your help is required in reporting all sightings of recently colour-ringed birds.

Some Curlew wintering on the Usk and Severn have been ringed, using six rings on the legs. These birds may of course travel west and be seen here in East Glamorgan. Information on their whereabouts will help conservation efforts.

The key colour rings to identify individuals are the single ring on the left tibia (upper leg – orange in photo), and the two rings on the right tibia (blue and lime green in photo).  There is a metal ring on the right tarsus, and two colours on the left tarsus to denote the project (yellow and white in photo).

Colour-ringed Curlew

Andrew Strong is collating information on re-sightings of any of these birds on behalf of the BTO. Please email Andrew details of any colour-ringed Curlew that you see, to aj.strong@icloud.com, and he’ll get back in touch with you to let you know the birds’ history.

Usk marked wintering birds have been reported on their breeding grounds in both Poland and Finland. Any further sightings of your birds will be published in the Gwent Ornithological Society Newsletter, or see http://www.curlewcall.org

Nest Record Scheme Taster Day, Rudry Common, 13 May, 2018

Have you ever considered becoming a BTO nest recorder but felt unsure about how to get started?

BTO’s Nest Record Scheme (NRS) gathers vital information on the breeding success of Britain’s birds by asking volunteers to find and follow the progress of individual birds’ nests. This important data can form a key part of the information required to help the conservation of birds now, and in the future.

Anyone can be a nest recorder, no matter how experienced you are as a birder. It is a highly rewarding Scheme to be involved with, improving your general birdwatching and observation skills and therefore your enjoyment of birding.

Until very recently, there were very few people nest recording regularly in Glamorgan. We’re glad to say that numbers have started to grow slowly over the last few years and there are the beginnings of a network of nest recorders in the county.

Meadow Pipit Nest 2015 b
Meadow Pipit nest (Photo: Dan Jenkins-Jones)

However, to put nest recording on a more sustainable footing locally, and across Wales, we’re looking to recruit more volunteers to contribute to this important scheme.

With this in mind, a Nest Record Scheme Taster Day for new volunteers will be held at Rudry Common, near Caerphilly,  between 8:00am – 4:00pm, 13 May 2018.

The day will be run by members of the Fledgemore Nest Recording Group, and provides an introduction to monitoring nests, how to follow the all-important Code of Conduct to ensure monitoring does not influence the outcome of nests, as well as a few hours in the field for some supported practice searching for a variety of different species’ nests. There will be a charge of £10 per person to cover costs. If there is any money left over will be donated to the BTO.

Taster Day 2018 Participants
2017 Nest Recording Taster Day participants (Photo: Dan Jenkins-Jones)

Spaces on this event are limited. If you’re interested in attending or would like more information, please contact:

Dan Jenkins-Jones
e: eastglamwebs@gmail.com
h: 029 20 621394
m: 07703 607601

More information about the Nest Records Scheme is available online. We’ve also written short articles about nest recording on this site over the last few years – articles which will hopefully give you some further personal insight about the experiences of taking part in the Scheme:

The Wetland Bird Survey: as easy as 1, 2, 3

  1. Can you identify the UK’s commonest waterbirds?
  2. Do you have half a Sunday free, once a month, between September and March?
  3. Do you want to add value to your birding?

If you can answer ‘Yes’ to all three of those questions, then the BTO’s Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) could be just the thing you’re looking for. WeBS is the survey which monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK, aiming to identify population sizes and determine trends in numbers and distribution of waterbirds.

We need more volunteers to join our local WeBS team to help count wetland birds in East Glamorgan. If you’re interested but not lucky enough to live in East Glamorgan (!), please visit https://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/webs/taking-part

Wherever you live, the good news is that the survey is as easy as 1,2,3 . . .

  1. Turn up once a month on a specified date to your allotted wetland site
  2. Count the waterbirds you see there
  3. Submit your records to the BTO – either online or on paper forms 

You can find out more about the survey by visiting the East Glamorgan WeBS page which includes more information about our local wetland sites which currently need a volunteer counter.  If you find one that you’re interested in, or you know of a wetland site you’d like to cover which isn’t on the list, please get in touch.

The northern half of Talygarn Fish Pond
The northern half of Talygarn Lake

We’re looking in particular for somebody to count Talygarn Lake. At the risk of sounding like an estate agent, it is a very desirable WeBS site which has recently become available and which I’d recommend as an attractive proposition for any ‘first-time surveyor’. It is conveniently situated south of the M4 near Brynsadler. It is a large, shallow, man-made fish pond constructed I’d say around the late 19th/early 20th century. It’s an attractive location, surrounded by some lovely woodland, it also fringed with some reed.

Talygarn Lake attracts a nice variety of waterbirds such as Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck and Mallard as well as Little Grebe, Water Rail and Kingfisher. To add value to your visit the surrounding woodland is home to a nice variety of species, including Marsh Tit.

If you’re interested in taking on Talygarn (or any other site) for WeBS or , to continue the estate agent analogy,  you’d like me to accompany you for a ‘viewing’ first, please contact me for a no-obligation chat.

Dan Jenkins-Jones

East Glamorgan WeBS Local Organiser

Contact