Bird Ringing at Eligro

Llangorse – March 2015

The Llangorse Ringing Group has carried out bird-ringing and monitoring at Llangorse Lake since 1978. All members are trained and licensed to handle and ring birds by The British Trust for Ornithology who oversee ringing of wild birds in the UK. Data acquired at ringing, and following any recoveries of ringed birds, adds greatly to knowledge of Britain’s birdlife.

During March 2015 it was noted that good numbers of farmland birds were using wild-bird cover crops near Eligro Nature Reserve (grid ref: SO 1439 2761). Permission was granted to place several mist-nets by the crop – with excellent catch success over 8 hours on two of three visits:

Birds ringed at Eligro, March 2015

Species Total catch (2 visits) Re-traps from ringing at Llangorse Lake
Yellowhammer 102 0
Reed Bunting 56 3
Blackbird 1 0
Chaffinch 1 0
Dunnock 4 0

A third visit on 25th March found only 20 Yellowhammer coming to feed, with no new birds caught. During the month of March the proportion of adult males of both species reduced steeply as they returned to breeding sites to set up territory.

The three re-trap Reed Buntings (2 males/1 female) had been ringed in the Lake reedbeds in the breeding seasons of 2013 and 2014.

Sex and Age distribution of farmland birds ringed (2 visits)

Species 1st-yr Male born 2014 1st-yr Female born 2014 Adult Male Adult Female
Yellowhammer 31 44 12 15
Reed Bunting 18 15 14 9

A high proportion of juveniles suggests that 2014 was a good breeding season for both species. It was surprising that the second catch session did not re-trap birds (of any species) caught at the first session held just 12 days previously. This suggests a continuous movement of birds through the site, rather than one faithful feeding flock. As Spring approaches, the number of birds using the crop is expected to tail-off quickly as Yellowhammers return to their breeding sites along the fringes of common-land, and Reed Buntings to lakeside habitats.

The Ringing Group has appealed to bird-watchers and local residents in the Llangorse area to log any sightings of ringed Yellowhammer or Reed Bunting on the ‘Brecknock Birds’ blog www.brecknockbirds.co.uk to attempt to identify how far these birds might move away to breed.

Llangorse Ringing Group