Posts tagged ‘webs’

Wetland Bird Survey 2016 – East Glamorgan Review

We have a fantastic team of volunteers here in our BTO region who go out once a month to do counts for the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS), the monitoring scheme for non-breeding waterbirds in the UK. This survey aims to provide data for the conservation of these birds’ populations and wetland habitats. Its core period runs between September to March but I’m delighted to say that most of our volunteers in our region enjoy the survey so much that they continue doing their counts between March and August too.

So how did the team get on in 2016? Here are the headlines (2015 figures in brackets):

  • In 2016, the team of East Glamorgan WeBS volunteers consisted of 39 (37) individuals
  • In addition, Cardiff University’s Ornithological Society was allocated Roath Park Lake as its WeBS site last year and at least 7 of its members are now involved in conducting the counts there
  • Counts were submitted from 40 (39) sites across the region
  • 78 (69) species were recorded during the year on the WeBS database from our region
  • The combined total of monthly records of all species from all sites across the year was 2,916 (2,657)
  • All of which gave us a combined grand total count of 67,086 (71,281) birds

East Glamorgan WeBS: Top 20 Most Commonly Recorded Species in 2016

Species

Combined total of monthly records from all sites across the year

Combined total of birds recorded

 1. Mallard

320

9,982

 2. Moorhen

245

1,422

 3. Coot

214

6,054

 4. Mute Swan

165

3,407

 5. Canada Goose

152

5,145

 6. Lesser Black-backed Gull

147

4,493

 7. Cormorant

142

1,050

 8. Black-headed Gull

135

10,898

 9. Grey Heron

126

176

10. Herring Gull

122

5,326

11. Tufted Duck

99

3,304

12. Little Grebe

95

562

13. Great Crested Grebe

75

675

14. Grey Wagtail

72

163

15. Teal

70

1,379

16. Kingfisher

67

90

17. Water Rail

44

81

18. Goosander

35

70

19. Greylag Goose

34

778

20. Reed Bunting

34

143

As usual, Mallard was the species most commonly reported across East Glamorgan in terms of the combined number of monthly records across all sites across the year  and, although the counting of gulls is optional for the survey, Black-headed Gull with 10,898 came top of the pile in terms of the highest combined total of individual birds recorded.

talygarn-lake

We’re looking for a volunteer to count Talygarn Lake, near Pontyclun

Compared to 2015, there were increases in the number of volunteers, sites visited, the number of species recorded and the combined number of records submitted. However, the combined total of all birds of all species recorded (67,086) was 4,195 lower than in 2015 (71,281). The three biggest losers, in the Top 20 most commonly recorded species were Black-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Mallard. The figures for the majority of other species in the Top 20 look remarkably similar, or up on, those of 2015.

Amongst the locally scarcer birds to be recorded were:  a long-staying Long-tailed Duck and Lesser Scaup at Cardiff Bay; Little Ringed Plover and Curlew Sandpiper at Ogmore Estuary; a Great Northern Diver and Common Scoter at Rest Bay, Porthcawl ; Mandarin Duck at Michaelstone-le-Pit Salmon Leaps and Bittern at Cosmeston Lakes and Kenfig Pool.  The volunteers at Kenfig can also lay claim to the scarcest bird seen during a WeBS count in our region in 2016: a Temminck’s Stint.

WeBS is a great survey to undertake if you’ve never done a bird survey before or if you’re an old hand. If you’re interested in taking part in 2017 please have a look at the East Glamorgan WeBS page where you’ll find more information about available wetland sites and please feel free to get in touch for more information.

March 5, 2017 at 12:16 pm 1 comment

Wetland Bird Survey 2015 – East Glamorgan Review

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda / Happy New Year to you all. Although I have to say, my greetings are a bit premature. In the world of the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) the corks pop and the fireworks fizzle at the stroke of midnight on June 30th. That’s because the WeBS year runs from July>June. Nevertheless, I thought it would be useful to look back at how our team of East Glamorgan WeBS volunteers got on in 2015.

Last year, that team consisted of 37 volunteers who made counts of wetland birds at 39 sites. They submitted a combined total of 2,657 records of 69 species and a total count of 71,281 birds. Pretty awesome!

East Glamorgan WeBS: Top 20 Most Commonly Recorded Species

Species Combined total of records Combined total of counts
1 Mallard 315 10,372
2 Moorhen 234 1,384
3 Coot 197 5,839
4 Mute Swan 146 3,217
5 Herring Gull 132 5,437
6 Canada Goose 131 5,006
7 Lesser B-backed Gull 130 6,362
8 Grey Heron 120 186
9 Black-headed Gull 119 14,625
10 Cormorant 108 932
11 Little Grebe 101 618
12 Tufted Duck 94 3,256
13 Teal 69 1,325
14 Great Crested Grebe 68 617
15 Grey Wagtail 59 158
16 Kingfisher 47 66
17 Pied/White Wagtail 36 175
18 Reed Bunting 32 98
19 Water Rail 29 68
20 Dipper 28

63

Unsurprisingly, Mallard was the species most commonly reported across East Glamorgan and, although the counting of gulls is optional for the survey, our WeBS counters still recorded a combined total of 14,625 Black-headed Gulls.

Mallard occupied the top spot (RSPB Images)

Mallard occupies the top spot for 2015 (RSPB Images)

Amongst the scarcer birds to be recorded were single records of Bittern, Woodcock, Whimbrel, Glaucous and Yellow-legged Gull, two records of Garganey and four records of Lesser Scaup (at Cardiff bay of course).

Perhaps the most striking thing is the noticeable absence of Pochard from the Top 20. This species languishes down at number 32 with only a combined total of 17 WeBS records of 108 individuals throughout 2015.

Pochard - becoming scarcer in East Glamorgan (RSPB Images)

Pochard – becoming scarcer in East Glamorgan (RSPB Images)

Nevertheless, this does reflect what all birders living in East Glamorgan already know: that Pochard are becoming scarcer in the region unless boosted by a prolonged spell of cold weather. That’s not surprising given that the data in the 2007-11 Bird Atlas shows that there has been a 21% contraction in the winter range of the Pochard in Britain & Ireland since the last atlas, which covered the period 1981 to 1984.

WeBS is a great survey to undertake if you’re new to bird surveying. If you’re interested in taking part in 2016 please have a look at the East Glamorgan WeBS page and feel free to get in touch get in touch for a no obligation chat.

January 10, 2016 at 9:43 pm 1 comment

East Glamorgan WeBS: September to November 2013 Update

We have a great team of WeBS counters in East Glamorgan – 35 of us in total counting birds at 32 different sites which vary in size from reens and farm pools to Cardiff Bay and the Rumney Estuary.  We go out to our own nominated patch of wetland once a month between September and March to count the waterbirds present and some, if not most of us, enjoy the survey so much that we also visit our sites during other months of the year too.

I’m pleased to say that three new members have started as WeBS counters within recent months. Richard Facey has taken on not only Sully Island in the Vale of Glamorgan but also Hendre Lake at St Mellons, and Rob Thomas has taken over from me at Llanishen & Lisvane Reservoirs. Before anybody asks, that doesn’t mean I’m now lazing about and taking my WeBS day off! The fact that Rob has taken over the reservoirs has enabled me to take on Roath Park Lake which recently became vacant . Neville Davies also re-joined the team in March, taking on Caerphilly Castle Moat – a WeBS site he once covered many years ago.

Highlights

In September, 3 Water Rail were at Tir Founder Fields and 1 was back at East Aberthaw Lagoon, where the first 2 Snipe had also returned for the winter. A count of 21 Moorhen at Cors Crychydd Reen was impressive for such a small site and at Sully Island there were 46 Oystercatcher, 22 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover and singles of both Curlew and Dunlin – a decent assortment of waders by East Glamorgan standards!

Water Rail - always a good find on a WeBS count (Photo: Jeff Slocombe)

Water Rail – always a good find on a WeBS count (Photo: Jeff Slocombe)

Another area that can turn up a decent haul of waders is Ogmore Estuary. But the highlight there in October was a count of 108 Common Gull – the highest ever WeBS count at the site, beating the previous high of 45 set in February 1996. Gulls are optional for WeBS by the way – you don’t have to count them.

Shoveler is relatively scarce in the recording area and it’s always nice when one or two turn up on your WeBS count. There were 2 at the Wilderness Pond, Porthcawl in September and another 2 (or possibly the same pair?) turned up at nearby Pwll-y-Waun Pond in October. Single birds also turned up at Parc Tredelerch in October and at Parc Slip’s North Wetland in November.

Things started to pick up a bit in November. A Green Sandpiper was at Lisvane Reservoir – the first to be recorded there during a WeBS count. ‘Next door’ in the Llanishen Reservoir basin there were 42 Snipe and 32 Teal – both the highest ever WeBS counts at the reservoir. A count of 117 Mallard at Glamorgan Canal, Whitchurch was also the highest ever WeBS count at this site and not far behind the 131 highest ever for the canal. Water levels at Roath Park Lake have been very low lately to allow dredging of the site. This may account for the high number of Coot there – 204 in November, which is the joint 6th best WeBS count for the site in 12 years of recording there.

Common Gull - a new record at Ogmore Est (Photo: Jeff Slocombe)

Common Gull – a new record at Ogmore Est (Photo: Jeff Slocombe)

Numbers of wildfowl on the whole start to build up in September>November. This was certainly the case at East Aberthaw Quarry Pool where there were 35 Wigeon, 22 Mallard, 20 Teal, 2 Tufted Duck and 1 Pochard in November.  At Caerphilly Castle Moat on the other hand numbers of Canada Geese appear to be down slightly during this period, compared to previous years.

And finally, it’s good to see Dipper restored as a regular sight on our South Wales rivers and the species was ever present during this period on WeBS counts on the River Taff between Radyr Weir and Llandaff North and at Taf Bargoed Lakes.

Do you fancy joining the team?

If you’ve always felt that you’d like to make a practical contribution to our knowledge of birds but didn’t know how, then taking part in WeBS is an excellent place to start. You don’t need to be an ‘expert’ birder to become a WeBS counter. We’ll help you find a site to match your ID skills level which means that anyone can take part, even beginners to birdwatching.

I’ve recently added some new sites in the area to the East Glamorgan WeBS page. Have a look to see whether there are any near you. No wetland is too small, so if you know of one which isn’t on the list please get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

November 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm Leave a comment

Roath Park’s Waterbirds Need You

Some birders’ names are synonymous with particular well-known local birding sites.  If you look back through old copies of the Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report you’ll notice that the wildfowl and waterbirds of Roath Park Lake in Cardiff have been counted regularly for many years. Most of those records since 2001 will have come from two people – Graham Duff and Margaret Morgan.

Graham and Margaret counted the birds on Roath Park Lake for the BTO’s Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) for over 10 years. Graham sadly passed away in 2011 but, after a short break, Margaret continued to visit the Lake once a month to continue conducting these valuable counts.

However, a couple of days ago Margaret contacted me to say that it’s time to hand over the baton to somebody else. It goes without saying that we’re all very grateful to Margaret and Graham for their efforts over the years. Our knowledge of the bird populations of Roath Park Lake would be much the poorer without their important contribution.

Roath Park Lake (Photo: Cardiff University International Office)

Roath Park Lake (Photo: Cardiff University International Office)

Margaret’s ‘retirement’ means of course that a vacancy has arisen as a WeBS counter at Roath Park Lake. Would you like to take it on? If you’ve never done a bird survey before, WeBS is a great place to start.  It’s the survey that monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK and all you need is the ability to identify common waterbirds and to count the birds at Roath Park Lake once a month between September and March (and, although optional, any additional months between April and August too if you can make them). The added bonus at Roath Park is that you can reward yourself after you’ve finished your count by buying an ice cream at the kiosk!

You can find out more about the WeBS survey locally and some more detail about how to do the survey.

If you’ve been looking to add value to your birding this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  If you’re interested in taking on Roath Park Lake for WeBS, or if you know of another wetland site which you may be interested in monitoring, please get in touch for a no obligation chat.

Daniel Jenkins-Jones
WeBS Local Organiser for East Glamorgan
t: 029 20 621394
e: eastglamwebs@gmail.com

October 22, 2013 at 9:21 pm Leave a comment

East Glamorgan WeBS: June 2013 Summary

The Core Count Period for the Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) is September through to March. But, I’m delighted to say that most of our volunteer WeBS counters in East Glamorgan clearly enjoy taking part in this survey so much that they continue to visit their sites during the rest of the year too!

Naturally, the Spring and Summer months are a quieter time in terms of the number of wetland birds recorded, but there’s always something to see and all data are a valuable contribution to this important survey.

WeBS is about counting, once a month, the numbers of wetland birds present at a site. Counters aren’t specifically asked to record breeding evidence. However, many do add notes on breeding birds seen during each count.

Michaelstone-le-pit Salmon Leaps (Photo: DJJ)

Michaelstone-le-pit Salmon Leaps (Photo: DJJ)

June Highlight

The highlight of the June WeBS counts in East Glamorgan was undoubtedly the breeding record of Tufted Duck at Michaleston-le-Pit Salmon Leaps (Mike & Chris Dunn).  On average, we only have breeding records from 3 or 4 sites a year in our recording area.

Other breeding records

The following species were recorded breeding at the following locations:

  • Canada Goose: Caerphilly Castle Moat; Kenfig NNR; Parc Slip.
  • Coot: Caerphilly Castle Moat; Clydach Vale CP; Cors Crychydd Reen; Parc Slip.
  • Great Crested Grebe: Caerphilly Castle Moat.
  • Mallard: Caerphilly Castle Moat: Clydach Vale CP; Cors Crychydd Reen; Lisvane reservoir; Michalestone-le-Pit Salmon Leaps; Parc Slip.
  • Moorhen: Cors Crychydd Reen.
  • Mute Swan: Caerphilly Castle Moat; Cors Crychydd Reen.
  • Grey Wagtail: Caerphilly Castle Moat.
Curlews back on the coast - Autumn's on its way. (Photo; Jeff Slocombe)

Curlews back on the coast – Autumn’s on its way. (Photo: Jeff Slocombe)

Other highlights

Dippers were recorded at both Taf Bargoed Lakes and on the River Taff between Radyr Weir and Llandaff. A Mediterranean Gull was at Ogmore Estuary, where there was a whiff of Autumn in the air with the return of both Curlew & Redshank. 2 male Pochard recorded at Lisvane Reservoir also suggests that ‘Summer’ is over – did it really begin?!

Many thanks to all our WeBS counters for contributing to the survey. Your efforts are really appreciated. If you’re new to bird surveying WeBS is an excellent place to start. Please get in touch if you’d like to volunteer or for a no-obligation chat.

June 30, 2013 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

If Your New Year’s Resolution Was to Add Value to Your Birding . . .

For the past 14 years Caerphilly Castle Moat has been counted for the Wetland Birds Survey (WeBS) by one counter – Marie Makepeace. During that period, the vast majority of the wildfowl data for this site that you may have seen tabulated in the annual Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report have come from  Marie’s counts.

That’s a tremendous effort for one person. But, sadly, Marie has informed me today that she intends to stand down as the WeBS counter for this site. There aren’t many WeBS counters who have given such long service and I’d like to thank Marie for her dedication and for her invaluable contribution to this survey, and to the gathering of local bird data.

Caerphilly Castle Moat

Caerphilly Castle Moat

This means of course that a vacancy has arisen as a WeBS counter at Caerphilly Castle Moat. Would you like to take it on? If you’ve never done a bird survey before, WeBS is a great place to start.  It’s the survey that monitors non-breeding waterbirds in the UK and all you need is the ability to identify common waterbirds and to count the birds at your nominated wetland site once a month between September and March (and, although optional, any additional months between April and August too if you can make them).

You can find out more about the WeBS survey locally and some more detail about how to do the survey.

If your New Year’s Resolution for 2013 was to add value to your birding this could be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.  If you’re interested in taking on Caerphilly Castle Moat for WeBS, or if you know of another wetland site which you may be interested in monitoring, please get in touch for a no obligation chat.

Daniel Jenkins-Jones
WeBS Local Organiser for East Glamorgan
t: 029 20 621394
e: eastglamwebs@gmail.com

January 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Waterbirds in a Freezing Winter

Reporting on population trends of birds revealed through WeBS counts, the latest issue of Waterbirds in the UK is now available.  The report covers the freezing winter of 2010/11 and reaffirms how important the Severn Estuary is for wintering waterbirds in Wales.

Waterbirds in the UK 2010/11: The Wetland Bird SurveyCounts on the Severn Estuary were, for many species, higher than recent averages, with over 75000 wildfowl and waders utilising the estuary, presumably in response to the cold weather.  Although it was cold in western Britain, birds from even colder areas further east in Europe, are likely to have made use of west coast estuaries as cold weather refuges.

Along with Dunlin and Ringed Plover, the six other species to use the Severn Estuary in internationally important numbers (more than 1% of the total international population) are Mute Swan (400), Bewick’s Swan (250), Shelduck (4,230), Pintail (730), Shoveler (570), and Redshank (2,920).

By monitoring our wetlands our volunteers are helping to illustrate important population trends of our wintering waterbirds and how these birds respond to cold weather.

Holt, C.; Austin, G.; Calbrade, N.; Mellan, H.; Hearn, R.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. & Musgrove, A.  (2011) Waterbirds in the UK 2010/11: The Wetland Bird Survey. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.
http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/webs/publications/wituk-201011

October 3, 2012 at 11:58 am Leave a comment

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