BTO Cymru

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

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

If you go down to the Severn today.....

New project to unravel the movements of individual waterbirds on the Severn Estuary

We’re asking birdwatchers to look out for colour-ringed and dye-marked waders and ducks on and around the Severn Estuary.

The British Trust for Ornithology and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust have recently started a project to understand more about the home ranges of three species of waders (Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin) and a range of duck species  on the Severn Estuary between Newport and Cardiff. As part of this work the Redshank and Curlew have been colour ringed and Dunlin and some ducks marked with yellow dye. In addition we have put state-of-the-art tracking devices on some of the Curlew, Redshank and Shelduck, which is giving us fascinating information about how birds use the estuary through the winter during both the day and the night. Work is ongoing, with the aim to mark more birds of these species and additional duck species during January and February.

The work is funded by Tidal Lagoon Power, to provide high quality scientific information for the environmental impact assessment for a proposed tidal power lagoon (Tidal Lagoon Cardiff), and to inform their conservation and biodiversity programme - the Ecosystem Enhancement Programme (EEP).

If you see any colour ringed or dyed birds when you are birdwatching either on the Severn or elsewhere, we would be very grateful for any sightings of these birds.

We are particularly interested in any records of birds with yellow dye. Birds of different age have been marked on different parts of the body so please record the location of the dye and, if possible, the total number of birds in the flock, the date, time and location (ideally including a six-figure grid reference) alongside sightings of colour-marked birds.

Any records of colour ringed birds on the Severn would also be extremely valuable and we will give all observers information on the history of any colour ringed birds.

We are very keen to follow up any records quickly and would be grateful if you could phone the BTO on 01842 750050, or email Emily Scragg ( with any records of colour-marked waders as soon as possible. Please email duck records to Ed Burrell (

Please pass on this information to any of your birdwatching contacts who may be interested in recording these birds.

Further detail of the marking schemes is provided below:

Redshank have yellow over white colour rings  on the left tarsus (below the "knee"), and a colour over a metal ring on the left tibia (above the "knee"), plus two colour rings on the right tibia.

Curlew have orange over white colour rings on the left tarsus, a single colour ring on the left tibia, the metal ring on the right tarsus and two colour rings on the right tibia.

Dunlin adults have yellow dye on the breast, while first-winter Dunlin have yellow dye on the undertail/flanks/rump.

Shelduck have yellow dye on the normally white plumage on the neck/upper breast.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Best View from a BBS in Wales 2015

The final 5 picked by professional photographer Nigel Hughes of Porthmadog were displayed at the annual WOS/BTO/RSPB conference on Saturday.

The final decision was down to the conference audience who nominated their favourite. The five are posted in the order of most votes. No 2 and 3 received the same amount of votes. Congratulations to the winning entry, and a thanks to all the BBS volunteers who took part. A grand total of 62 photos were received and they can be viewed on Flickr at  It has proved very popular and we'll run it again next year, so make sure you have your phone or camera with you, as you never know when that magic moment might appear.

 "The standard was very high and difficult to choose the final 5. It's really encouraging to see people taking part in competitions of this nature"  Nigel Hughes, Porthmadog.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Best view from a BBS in Wales 2015

With slightly over a month to go until the joint Welsh Ornithological Society / BTO / RSPB conference at Carno, a final flurry of BBS photos have arrived. They are all viewable on Flickr at

Nigel Hughes a professional photographer based at Porthmadog will decide on the 5 he likes and will print them professionally for display at the conference.

If you come to the conference you will have an opportunity to vote for your favourite, and the winner will have their photo professionally printed to a large size by Nigel.

If you still have not submitted your photos you have until the 20th October to do so. Please send the original hi res version please.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

146760 a new boy in the band

We would like to welcome 146760 to the Welsh Cuckoo team.

 The new boy to the Cuckoo team was caught and tagged at Tregaron on Friday 12th June, by BTO’s  Chris Hewson and Mid Wales ringer Tony Cross. When he was caught he was aged as an 2nd summer male and was a very healthy weight of 125 gms

146760 has already begun his migration is currently crossing France and was on the last data update mid-way across France heading towards Montpellier. 

Will he be the first of the welsh tagged birds to take the more direct westerly route, or will be go east via Italy

David the surviving welsh Cuckoo from the class of 2012 is still in the hills south of Tregaron, and still in the area he was originally caught and tagged.

146760 is a bit of a mouthful and he has been given a nick name by BTO staff until he can be officially named. A quick read of Tony's blog will tell his temporary name. 

For more details on 146760 and the other Cuckoos go to hereon the BTO website


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Can we predict population changes in the Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus?

BRUNO J. ENS of the Sovon Dutch Centre for Field Ornithology, The Netherlands will be giving a free seminar Friday 5th June at 12 noon.
Ground floor seminar room, Environment Centre Wales, Deiniol Road, Bangor.
Directions to Environment Centre Wales can be found here:

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Best BBS view in Wales

This morning I took advantage of a break from the wet and windy spell we have had for the past few weeks and went and did my upland BBS square.  Being an upland square and with the seemingly wet late spring I was more than happy to do it later rather than sooner. Now some of these upland squares may not have the sheer volume of birds found on some of the lowland ones but they do make up for it with the odd rather special species and some fantastic scenery.

Now we all carry a camera whether it be a proper one or a phone, so this morning at the beginning of section 8 I took the below shot with my phone.  10 mins either side and it would have been in bright sunshine.

Now I guess that all other BBS volunteers in Wales have similar spectacular views from their squares. So if you have a shot that shows your square and Wales off to it’s best advantage send them in and I’ll put them on the blog. Simple rules all photos must be of or taken from a BBS square in Wales.

The best 5 will be exhibited at the joint WOS conference in November where the audience will be asked to nominate their favorite. I have not sorted a prize yet but I will by them.