Bird Ringing

19 Nov, 2018

Well after watching the weather forecast all week this morning the weather was spot on for my first session at Pembrey Country Park.
It's always interesting and challenging the first time a new site is ringed, how many nets? how will the wind direction affect the nets and therefore the catch? what will we catch? are there enough rings?
all these questions were answered today.

I was joined by "A" grade permit holders, Heather and Cedwyn from the Gower Ringing Group and by Veronica who provides the "scribing" service (Veronica does the writing!)

I was on site for 06:15 and set the first couple of nets in the dark ready to catch any red wings leaving their night time roost, when the rest of the team arrived we put up another net near the feeders.
It proved a decent first session with 44 birds of 12 species caught and ringed.

Mistle Thrush, there is a good population of these stunning thrushes in the park

Blue Tits dominated the catch as is usual when ringing near bird feeders with 19 ringed, the rest of the catch was made up of:

  • Great Tit 9
  • Chaffinch 3 
  • Blackcap 1
  • Blackbird 2
  • Coal Tit 2
  • Dunnock 2
  • Redwing 2          
  • G. S.Woodpecker 1
  • Jay 1
  • Mistle Thrush 1
  • Robin 1

Feisty jay


The Blackcap was the most interesting as it should be on its way to, if not already in, Africa for the winter, however more and more Blackcaps are over wintering in the UK so this one may make the Park its winter home.

Hopefully time and weather will allow a regular timetable of ringing at Pembrey Country Park with many more birds ringed, this will provide the base line information for monitoring the range of species and their population in the park

Male Chaffinch (library photo)

Chaffinch wing-ageing the bird

We also saw two different Sparrowhawks, and judging by the hole in Heathers net one may have visited the catching area.

Winter is a good time to visit Pembrey with its different habitats of pine forest, mixed deciduous woods, open grassland and of course the beach and dunes.

1 week later:

After a successful ringing session last week, I've been keeping the feeders topped up, the food is certainly disappearing fast, and spending about an hour, when I can spare it, just watching which birds are coming to the feeders.

Today was particularly busy with lots of Blue, Great and Coal Tits visiting plus a nice flock of about 45 Chaffinches, the flock was feeding on the ground around the split grain being joined by a Jay, Magpie and Carrion Crow.

A couple of Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrushes and a small flock of Redwings were on the grassy areas.

Redwings are winter visitors from Scandinavia, with occasional individuals arriving from Iceland, (these tend to be larger and more strongly coloured compared to the Scandinavian birds), and can be present in good numbers from November through to Spring.



Whilst watching the Chaffinches feeding I picked out another finch, very similar to the Chaffinch but this one is another winter visitor to the UK it was a Brambling, in fact there were two of them in the flock but they were quite elusive, diving into cover at the approach of the Jay and Magpie. This northern finch is not particularly common in Carmarthenshire but is easily overlooked. There are good numbers of birds around the park at the moment so if you do visit and find something interesting please feel free to drop into the visitor centre (now down by the beach access for the winter) and leave a message for me.



I haven't kept a proper bird list for the Country Park n 2018, however the bird list for the nature reserve is now at 115 species for 2018

Blog supplied by Paul Aubrey, pembrey Country Park staff member