A return to action: High Pennard, 7 March 2020

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Following over four weeks of terrible weather (apparently the wettest February on record), it was good to at last get a ringing session in. The conditions were not ideal, so we went to our most sheltered site, near Pwll Du on the south Gower coast.

Over the course of the morning a single sixty foot net yielded a total of eighty-three birds. The total broke down as follows:

Species Name Ringed Recapt Total
Blue Tit 6 27 33
Great Tit 4 18 22
Bullfinch 5 5 10
Nuthatch 1 1 2
House Sparrow 3 3
Goldfinch 3 3
Chaffinch 1 1
Dunnock 2 2
Wren 2 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 1
Goldcrest 2 2
Long-tailed Tit 1 1 2
Grand Total 28 55 83


The Pwll Du site is particularly good for bullfinches, and we caught a total of ten over the morning. These were equally split between recaptures and new birds. Also of note were a couple of nuthatches, three house sparrows and two goldcrests. It was evident that there were small numbers of crests in the area from calling birds in the coastal scrub, suggesting birds were moving through. No chiffchaff were noted however.

The woeful weather hasn’t quite put paid to our efforts in early 2020. We have found windows here and there, and our current group total of birds captured for the year stands at a little over 1,000. A breakdown is as follows:

Species Name Ringed Recapt Total
Blackbird 22 9 31
Blackcap 1 1
Blue Tit 138 183 321
Bullfinch 16 22 38
Cetti’s Warbler 1 1 2
Chaffinch 35 2 37
Coal Tit 7 10 17
Collared Dove 7 7
Dunnock 41 31 72
Goldcrest 11 3 14
Goldfinch 94 5 99
Great Spotted Woodpecker 3 3
Great Tit 71 109 180
Greenfinch 7 7
House Sparrow 20 20
Jack Snipe 1 1
Long-tailed Tit 13 12 25
Marsh Tit 1 1
Nuthatch 3 4 7
Pied/White Wagtail 1 1
Redwing 1 1
Robin 30 26 56
Siskin 14 2 16
Snipe 10 10
Sparrowhawk 1 1
Starling 3 3
Treecreeper 3 1 4
Water Rail 1 1
Woodcock 18 1 19
Wren 7 4 11
Grand Total 577 429 1006


Of note have been:

  • The total of seven collared doves captured in Potter and Larsson traps by Richard Dann in his coastal garden; there has been little opportunity for mist netting at the site since Christmas. Seven individuals compares favourably to the total number of collared doves ringed in Wales in most years, and it would be interesting to see what sort of numbers he gets by year end – there could be a project in the offing.
  • Ten common snipe and a jack snipe at Oxwich. In a normal year we would have processed over double the number of both species by now. In addition to wind, water levels are now high enough to have apparently displaced snipe species from their usual day roost locations.
  • A water rail, captured by Ed O’Connor at WWT Llanelli.
  • A male sparrowhawk caught by Richard in his garden.
  • A total of 18 new woodcock and one within winter recapture. Most of these birds have come from damp / waterlogged pasture near Upper Killay, with one from the Neath Valley and a few from near WWT Llanelli.

Since the Gower Bird Hospital’s bird rehabilitation project came under Gower RG’s ‘wing,’ we have seen some interesting species added to our annual totals. Here are the data from 2019:

Species Name Ringed 
Barn Owl 2
Blackbird 36
Blackcap 1
Blue Tit 15
Bullfinch 3
Buzzard 6
Coal Tit 5
Dunnock 3
Goldfinch 2
Great Tit 2
Grey Heron 1
Grey Wagtail 4
Herring Gull 1
House Sparrow 32
Jackdaw 12
Mistle Thrush 2
Red Kite 1
Robin 6
Shelduck 17
Song Thrush 3
Sparrowhawk 1
Starling 16
Tawny Owl 4
Woodpigeon 2
Grand Total 177


February saw an interesting addition to their total however. A first winter goshawk was captured, having entered a chicken pen (straight through the mesh) and killed a bantam. It was underweight, and was fed up for a few days prior to release. Having departed, it was next seen in the same chicken run a few days later, having killed a second bantam …… The owner of the chickens has started constructing something akin to Fort Knox.

Thanks to all this morning’s team: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Val Wilson, Sarah Davies, Alex McCubbin, Richard Dann and Dionne Jenkins.

Pictures are appended.

Owain Gabb


Nuthatch (Alex McCubbin)
Woodcock (Ed O’Connor)
House Sparrow (Sarah Davies)
Goshawk (Paul Llewelyn)
Goshawk in the chicken run (Paul Llewelyn)
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