The Ringing Year to Date: January to early April 2022

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Ringing in the months of January and February is typically heavily weather-affected in coastal areas of South Wales. However, the ringing group has grown considerably in recent years, and as a result of people developing their own projects, the range of species and the number of birds captured has been higher in the first quarter of 2022 than in most years.

A breakdown is as follows:

Species Name Ringed Recaptured Total
Blackbird 11 40 51
Blackcap 6 0 6
Blue Tit 98 199 297
Brambling 9 2 11
Bullfinch 32 44 76
Cetti’s Warbler 0 3 3
Chaffinch 57 19 76
Chiffchaff 7 2 9
Coal Tit 26 40 66
Collared Dove 4 1 5
Dipper 7 13 20
Dunnock 26 120 146
Goldcrest 5 1 6
Goldfinch 262 93 355
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 6 7
Great Tit 46 124 170
Greenfinch 12 7 19
Grey Wagtail 2 0 2
Herring Gull 0 2 2
House Sparrow 42 39 81
Jack Snipe 2 0 2
Jackdaw 4 0 4
Jay 3 0 3
Lesser Redpoll 1 0 1
Long-tailed Tit 22 40 62
Magpie 1 0 1
Marsh Tit 0 2 2
Meadow Pipit 2 0 2
Nuthatch 4 8 12
Pied/White Wagtail 1 1 2
Redwing 1 0 1
Reed Bunting 1 3 4
Robin 19 71 90
Rock Pipit 4 0 4
Rook 8 0 8
Siskin 122 68 190
Skylark 1 0 1
Snipe 19 1 20
Song Thrush 3 2 5
Sparrowhawk 0 1 1
Starling 3 1 4
Stonechat 2 2 4
Treecreeper 0 1 1
Water Pipit 1 0 1
Wheatear 2 0 2
Woodcock 10 1 11
Woodpigeon 3 1 4
Wren 3 8 11
Grand Total 895 966 1861


Some of the highlights have been:

  • Nine brambling. The total captured by the group over winter 2021/22 has been 20. Eighteen of these birds have been captured at Oxwich, with two recaptured at the site. The latest of these were two new females and a recaptured male on 09 April 2022.
  • A seven year old blue tit at Oxwich. It was ringed as a recently-fledged bird at the site in 2014
  • Good numbers of bullfinch from our two Pennard sites, resulting in 32 birds ringed to date already, as well as a number of recaptures from previous years.
  • An apparent long distance movement of a dunnock ringed in Northumberland in October 2019 and recovered at High Pennard in late February.
  • A shorter movement of a chaffinch ringed by Jo Conway at Quaker’s Yard in December 2019 and recovered (dead) in Hertfordshire in March 2022.
  • A strong start to the Retrapping Adults for Survival project on dippers in the Valleys due to the sterling efforts of Wayne Morris and Colin Baker. It is also excellent to see sightings data from birdwatchers starting to come in.
  • Excellent numbers of goldfinch and siskin. It appears likely that we will see a record number of both species captured in 2022 assuming they are reasonably productive. We have had one control to date in 2022, a bird ringed at South Perrott, Devon, in October 2021 and recaptured at Oxwich Marsh in March 2022. An indication of the extent that goldfinches can move around was a late report of a bird ringed by Richard Dann on West Cliff, Southgate in April 2021 that was controlled at Olonne sur mer les Biltieres, Sables-D’Olonne, Vendée, France in December 2021. Siskin are similarly mobile, and we await news of a couple of birds controlled at Oxwich.
  • The instigation of a Retrapping Adults for Survival project on jackdaw by Richard Dann. The first four birds have now been colour ringed, and we look forward to some fascinating data starting to emerge.
  • An early start to the ‘rook season.’ Richard has now captured eight birds in his garden on West Cliff, Southgate. While 33 birds were ringed at the site in 2021, none had been captured by early April.
  • Four rock pipits trapped by Dr. Miguel Lurgi as part of a colour-ringing study to track the survival and movement of individuals within the region with an aim of building more accurate metapopulation models for the species. The study has been awarded a grant by the British Ecological Society, indicating its strong scientific credentials. It has also resulted in the incidental capture of two male wheatear, a species that is rarely ringed within the recording area.
  • Good numbers of snipe and woodcock, as well as small numbers of jack snipe and a skylark captured by some of our regular dazzlers. These include birds captured in the Neath Valley by Dionne Jenkins.
  • A water pipit colour-ringed on the Burry Inlet as part of the co-ordinated national programme on the species. Fourteen water pipits were captured by the Group (led by Ed O’Connor) over the winter of 2021/22.
  • Our first fledged bird, a young woodpigeon captured on 9 April.

The migrants are now starting to arrive in force, with a grasshopper warbler reeling in the Oxwich reedbed this morning being among the first of the breeding sub-Saharan migrants to arrive in the marsh this year.

Thanks to all of those who have led and attended sessions in 2022 to date, in particular: Heather Coats, Keith Vaughton, Wayne Morris, Colin Baker, Alex McCubbin, Amy Schwartz, Andrew Bevan, Becky Gibbs, Bethan Dalton, Dionne Jenkins, Jasmine Davies, Jo Conway, Lucy Rowley, Mel Hill, Miguel Lurgi, Richard Dann, Sarah Davies and Tom Wright.

Additional thanks to Richard, Alex and Miguel for the photos below.

Owain Gabb


A stunning male wheatear
The first jackdaw of the RAS project
The rook season arrives
Fledged woodpigeon
A small toad from under one of our reptile mats
A stunning male brambling
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