BTO Cymru

Croeso i blog BTO Cymru. Welcome to BTO Cymru's blog

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Death in the afternoon

One of the joys of growing up in north west Wales was that even in the dark days when DDT had driven Peregrines to the brink of extinction, you could still see them (if you knew where to go). As I grew up, I took great joy in seeing Peregrines regain a lot of the ground they had lost during the DDT years. Later, as a policeman and latterly a Wildlife Crime Officer, I witnessed a number of occasions when this resurgence brought the falcons into conflict with humans, which sometimes resulted in Peregrines being illegally persecuted. As a result, various watch schemes were set up and illegal persecution has all but disappeared.

This year, BTO has been coordinating the national survey of Peregrines, last undertaken in 2002. One thing that is obvious to all is that Peregrines have colonised our towns: the well-watched nests at Cathedrals up and down the country offer prime examples of this colonisation. But up here in Snowdonia, it is still in the wild and inaccessible quarries and sea cliffs that most of the birds live, and they still bring joy to anyone who witnesses their mastery of the air. I saw this joy in the faces of visitors to RSPB South Stack when the recently fledged chick flew in and perched in plain sight for all to admire. I also saw this joy when 12 year old Findlay Wilde visited South Stack earlier this year and got a superb photo of the hen Peregrine who had chosen to nest on a ledge in full view.

                                                                                                                           Photo Findley Wilde


Like hundreds of BTO volunteers and raptor study groups, I have been visiting known Peregrine breeding sites this year to gather data for the national survey. On Thursday afternoon I set out on my final visit to a secluded quarry site, where some weeks before I had been privileged to record four Peregrine chicks, at the time just bundles of fluff in what was clearly a good nest site. Even after 50 years of birdwatching, I still get that buzz of excitement when I’m about to see the outcome of this year’s breeding season. This particular nest is difficult to view but I could see splash on the cliff below and what looked like the remains of prey on the nest. I pulled my scope into focus and slowly zoomed in, a feeling of dread building inside me. It was not prey items in the nest, but four Peregrine chicks, dead. I was gutted.

                                                                   Photo Reg Thorpe, RSPB

Natural mortality happens of course, but these chicks were healthy and close to fledging, so for all four to die at the same time following a period of calm weather raises serious questions. Call me a cynical ex-policeman if you like, but in my mind, persecution has to be considered. Regular, long term monitoring gives us vital data about the changing fortunes of birds and the problems they face. There are a number of people and groups across Wales who dedicate most of their spring to monitoring this iconic bird, and they, like me are angered by this loss of four chicks. As the results of this year’s Peregrine survey begin to unfold, what else will come to light?

I can’t help but feel a bit frustrated these days that I won’t be involved in the developing investigation, but North Wales police are now on the case, and I know my ex-colleagues will do a very thorough job. It will be interesting to see what the cause of death was following the recovery of the corpses.


And so, what has been a very pleasant spring of monitoring Peregrines, getting to some lonely places and seeing other magnificent birds of prey as well, finishes with massive disappointment, not just for me but for all who have had the privilege of seeing the fastest bird on the planet this spring. Alas, there are now four more Peregrines that will never take to the skies to brighten up even the darkest of days.

 Kelvin Jones, BTO Wales

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

BBS Training in Wales Hyfforddiant BBS yng Nghymru

 BTO Cymru has for the past two years been working hard to increase the number of BBS squares covered across Wales. Courses backed by one to one mentoring has seen an impressive increase in squares covered across the principality, and therefore increases the quality of the data and the range of species for which accurate trends can be calculated.

This year we will be once again running course. The courses will give an insight into adopting and recording birds on a BBS square, which can be followed up with the one to one mentoring in the field.
There are slight changes to the BBS online submission pages this year, so existing BBS volunteers are welcome to come along for a recap and for a bit of social encouragement with new volunteers.

The courses will be held on:
Saturday 22nd  March, at the Neuadd, Prenteg, near Porthmadog
Saturday  5th April, RSPB Conwy
Saturday  12th April, The Stables, Cynghordy Hall, near Llandovery

For further information contact the BTO Cymru office via phone or email
Tel: 01248 383285  email:  kelvin.jones@bto .org  or   http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs



Mae BTO Cymru wedi bod yn gweithio yn galed i ychwanegu niferoedd o sgwariau BBS hyd led Cymru.  Mae cyrsiau a mentora un ar un wedi  sicrhau cynnydd yn y nifer o sgwariau yn cael ei arolygu, ac felly safon y data ar amrywiaeth o adar rydym yn medru cyfrifo tuedd

Eleni rydym yn rhedeg y cyrsiau eto. Fydd y cyrsiau yn rhoi mewnwelediad i fabwysiadu a chyfrif adar ar eich sgwâr. Fydd mentora un ar un ar gael. Mae newidiadau wedi ei gwneud i safle we BBS eleni ac mae croeso i wirfoddolwyr sefydledig ddod am bwt o hyfforddiant, ac i roi calondid i’r gwirfoddolwyr newydd.

Fydd y cyrsiau yn cael ei chynnal

Sadwrn 22ain Fawrth, Canolfan, Prenteg, ger Porthmadog
Sadwrn 5ed Ebrill, RSPB Conwy
Sadwrn 12fed Ebrill, Y Stablau, Cynghordy Hall, ger Llanymddyfri.

Am fwy o wybodaeth cysylltwch â BTO Cymru ar
Ffon 01248 383285  e-bost kelvin.jones@bto .org  neu http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/bbs 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Where do you go to my lovely?

On Tuesday BTO ringers from the SCAN ringing group and RSPB staff at Ynys Hir caught and ringed 25 Barnacle geese from the increasing winter flock there.


Barnacle geese breed in Greenland and Svalbard with small populations in Finland and Denmark, a large proportion of these winter in Britain and Ireland. In addition, there are substantial feral populations in England.

The Dyfi birds arrive annually in early to mid-September and leave by early January we do not know where they come from or go to. Since the flock has increased in number and now numbers 300-400 birds it was felt  important to know if it was a new, wild wintering population or just feral birds.

 Of the 25 birds, 23 were adults and two were juveniles. Each was ringed and measured and had a special plastic colour ring added so that it could be easily identified in the field




 It is hoped that birdwatchers in the UK and across Europe will look out for these birds so that we can find out more about this beautiful bird.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Long Service Awards

The unsung hero’s of the BTO are the dedicated network of regional reps, who are the main link between the scientific staff at Thetford and the volunteers on the ground. They do a tremendous job every year, motivating the volunteers to get involved with all the on-going surveys. Without this dedication, local knowledge, and sheer determination the volunteer network would not be the efficient machine it is today.
At the recent Welsh Ornithological Society conference two of Wales’s regional reps were presented with their long service awards.  Both Moira Convery, Ceredigion and Jerry Lewis,  Gwent have been in post now for 15 years, and a well-deserved thank you for their efforts.



Nigel Clarke BTO Thetford, Moira Convery, Kelvin Jones, Jerry Lewis

Thursday, 26 September 2013

The Breeding Birds of North Wales Adar Nythu Gogledd Cymru


Tuesday the 1st October will see the launch of the first tetrad level atlas of the Breeding Birds of North Wales. it's a great book with big pages, photos of birds and N Wales habitats, lots of maps and of course full colour. It weighs 5lb! At £20 (+ delivery) a great bargain, price goes up to £45 on October 2nd.
To order now, see http://www.northwalesbirdatlas.co.uk/ or phone Janet McDermott 0151 794 2233 for credit card sales.


Wednesday, 4 September 2013

BTO/NWWT/Plantlife Garden Wildlife Conference

A one-day conference on garden wildlife
Sat 9th Nov 2013 09:30 - 16:30
Brambell Building, University of Bangor
Deiniol Road
Bangor LL57 2UW
United Kingdom
Pricing: 
Tickets for this event cost £12 per person, including lunch and refreshments, and are available from the BTO Garden Ecology Team on a first-come, first-served basis

Programme:
0930 Doors open
1000 Welcome and introduction.
1010 Mike Toms (BTO) – Gardens: good for wildlife?
1040 Iwan Edwards (NWWT) – Living Churchyards - Burial Sites brimming with life!
1110 Tea/coffee
1140 Clare Simm (BTO) – Reptiles and amphibians in gardens.
1210 Anna Williams (NWWT) – The Wildlife Gardening Partnership.
1240 Lunch with tea /coffee
1345 Dr Trevor Dines (Plantlife) – Grow wild to know wild.
1415 Dr Richard Birch (Capita Symonds) – Going the extra mile.
1500 Tea/coffee
1530 Geoff Gibbs/ Kelvin Jones (BTO) – Beyond the garden gate.
1600 Questions and close.

PARKING: We will arrange for a number of spaces next to the venue for those with access difficulties. There are a number of public car parks within 250 yards of the venue.
Booking contact details: 
 Garden Ecology Team 01842-750050

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Welsh Raptor Monitoring Project

On Saturday 31st August  43 persons from across the raptor spectrum in Wales gathered at Newtown,  Powys to discuss the formation of a Welsh Raptor Monitoring Scheme. Assembled were members from the Welsh raptor groups,  Barn owl groups, Peregrine groups, Osprey groups, and the Welsh Kite Trust, together with various non-governmental organisations, the BTO and RSPB and the Wildlife Trusts.

BTO Scotland’s Dr. Chris Wernham gave a very informative presentation on how the scheme works in Scotland, and how we could build on the consensus of those present, and progress with our own scheme. The establishment of such a scheme will allow the individual projects, and the various groups to maintain their identities under a common banner, whilst allowing the collation of data gathered to be used for conservation purposes, and the speedy production of an annual report.

The proposed 2014 National peregrine Survey was discussed and it became obvious that since the last survey in 2003 that there have been some significant and very interesting changes in the distribution of Welsh Peregrines.

Following a rather unpopular name change which we will not mention, the Wales Raptor Study Group has reverted to it’s original title. With all the new developments the existing Chair decided that it was time for a new broom and Ian Spence the former coordinator of the North East Wales Raptor Study Group has agreed to take on the role.


The next meeting will be held at the beginning of 2014, and again is open to all raptor workers in Wales.     Dr Dave Leach of the BTO's nest recording unit has agreed to come and speak.  If you would like to become involved and are not on the current mailing list please contact Kelvin Jones at BTO Cymru who is the acting secretary.