BTO Cymru

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

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Dates for your diary - Dyddiadau i'ch dyddiadur

Once again this spring we are planning on holding some member and volunteer days at various venues around Wales. These will be relaxed events where we will update participants on BTO’s activities across Wales, provide some free training, a friendly quiz, and (weather permitting) a bit of birding. They are open to all existing members and volunteers and anybody new who wants to get involved with the BTO for the first time.

.Saturday 25th March, Gwernymynydd Village Hall, Mold. CH7 4AF
Sunday 26th March, Parc Slip Nature Reserve, Bridgend, Glamorgan, CF32 0EH
Saturday 8th April, Pembrokeshire, Crundale Village Hall, near Haverford West SA62 4DF
Saturday 22nd April, Montgomery, Meeting room, Welshpool methodist Church, High St, Welshpool SY21 7JP
Saturday 29th April, RSPB Malltraeth, Anglesey

Further details and bookings please contact your Regional Representative or the BTO Cymru office.

Other events where you can meet the team

10th May - Introduction to Bird recording. Snowdonia National Park centre, Bala. Further details from the BTO Cymru office or Bill Taylor at SNP Bala, on 01678 520626
Sunday 14th May, Nest Recording taster. Rudry, nr Caerphilly.  Daniel Jenkins-Jones
20–21st May - Royal Welsh Spring Festival. Come and meet team members in the Floral Hall.
8–10th September - All About BTO Surveys (residential) Training Course at Dale Fort, Pembrokeshire: Learn about BTO surveys, their value to science and how fun and easy they are to do.

Unwaith eto’r gwanwyn hwn rydym yn bwriadu cynnal rhai dyddiau i aelodau a gwirfoddolwyr
mewn lleoliadau amrywiol ledled Cymru. Digwyddiadau anffurfiol fydd y rhain lle byddwn yn rhoi’r wybodaeth ddiweddaraf am weithgareddau’r BTO ledled Cymru i’r sawl sy’n cymryd rhan, darparu rhywfaint o hyfforddiantam ddim, cwis cyfeillgar, ac (os bydd y tywydd yn caniatáu) ychydig o wylio adar. Mae’r rhain yn agored i unrhyw un sy’n aelod neu’n gwirfoddoli’n barod ac unrhyw un newydd sy’n dymuno cymryd rhan gyda’r BTO am y tro cyntaf.

25 Mawrth – Neuadd y Pentref, Gwernymynydd, Wyddgrug CH7 4AF
Sul 26 Mawrth, Gwarchodfa Natur Parc Slip, Pen-ybontar Ogwr, Sir Forgannwg CF32 0EH
Sadwrn 8 Ebrill, Sir Benfro, Neuadd Bentref Cryndal,ger Hwlffordd SA62 4DF
Sadwrn 22 Ebrill, Sir Drefaldwyn, Ystafell Gyfarfod, Eglwys Fethodistaidd y Trallwng, Stryd Fawr, Y Trallwng SY21 7JP
Sadwrn 29 Ebrill, RSPB Malltraeth/Cors Ddyga, Ynys Môn

Manylion pellach ac archebu lle, cysylltwch â’r Cynrychiolydd Rhanbarthol neu swyddfa BTO Cymru.

Gwernymynydd,  AnneBrenchley - Parc Slip - Wayne MorrisCrundale - Bob Haycock, Y Trallwng - JaneKelsallMalltraeth - Ian Hawkins,  

Digwyddiadau eraill lle gallwch gyfarfod â’r tîm

10 Mai – Cyflwyniad i gofnodi adar. Canolfan y Parc Cenedlaethol, Y Bala. Manylion pellach o swyddfa BTO Cymru neu Bill Taylor yn PCE Y Bala, ar 01678 520626.
14 Mai, Diwrnod Blasu’r Cynllun Cofnodi Nythod, Rudry ger Caerffili. Daniel Jenkins-Jones 
20–21st Mai – Gwyl Wanwyn Sioe Frenhinol Cymru. Dewch i gyfarfod aelodau’r tîm yn y Neuadd Flodau.
8–10 Medi – Y cwbl am Arolygon y BTO (preswyl) Cwrs Hyfforddi yn Dale Fort, Sir Benfro: Dysgu am arolygon y BTO, eu gwerth i wyddoniaeth a chymaint

o hwyl ydyn nhw, a pha mor hawdd i’w cynnal.

Monday, 11 July 2016

30 Not Out

Not cricket, but Ospreys.

May 2004 was memorable, for that was when Ospreys were found to be nesting in the Glaslyn valley, in Snowdonia. As I was the local police wildlife crime officer, and the coordinator of the local raptor workers, there followed for me an initial period of elation, followed by exhaustion, and ultimately depression, when the nest collapsed following an unseasonably heavy hour of rain. At this point, we found that there had been two chicks in the nest, but 10 day old birds could not survive an 80 foot fall through a pine tree.

The male “Ochre 11/98” was a part of the Rutland reintroduction programme; the female was un-ringed, but quite distinctively marked, and has since been christened “Mrs G” .

In 2005, both birds came back and three eggs were laid. Two of these hatched and were subsequently ringed before fledging. So began a dynasty. 

The un-ringed female has returned every year since. To date, 28 chicks have fledged from this nest, the latest being ringed on July 3rd. When they fledge they will bring the total up to 30.

Currently two of her siblings – “YA” and “37” - are nesting in the Kielder Forest, with “Black 80” nesting at Threave in south west Scotland.. At the time of writing, these offspring have produced 41 fledged young, with 11 of this year’s chicks waiting to fledge.

“Black 80” is currently rearing four chicks - a very unusual occurrence.

None of this information would have been available were it not for the efforts of the ringers, and all the dedicated Osprey followers and supporters who have spent so much time watching, and reading the colour rings on these wonderful birds.

Modern technology has told us so much about bird migration, but, for population dynamics like this, colour ringing is still producing the goods, allowing a legion of people to be involved and to contribute to this project. As I say to all our volunteers, you may not think your little bit of data is important, but when we pool it all together we can make meaningful science out of it.

Thanks to Heather Corfield for diligently recording all the ring sightings across Wales and those of the siblings of the original Welsh birds.

For more information about the Glaslyn Ospreys, see

BTO Cymru

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Something to Look Out For!


One of our birds has been seen at Jacobs Island in Cork Harbour, on the 17th of July.
 Potentially the first Welsh breeding
Curlew seen in Ireland. Now where are the rest?

BTO Cymru in partnership with RSPB Cymru fitted temporary GPS-VHF tags to a small number of breeding Curlew on the north Wales moors. The data provided by the tags has opened a window into how these birds use the whole landscape during the breeding season, and after this success we hope to follow-up with some more research in the future. The tags have now stopped working and have probably already fallen off: and the birds are now leaving the Moors and should be moving down to our coasts to form post-breeding flocks.

You can help us link together summer breeding populations with post-breeding movements and even wintering areas. Each bird was also fitted with a unique colour ring combination, identifying them as individuals. Please look through Curlew flocks wherever you see them, and let us know if you spot a colour-ringed bird (even if you don’t get the whole combination: others can help!).

Sightings and especially ring combinations can be reported to RSPB or directly to BTO Cymru office.

BTO Cymru: Tel 01248 383285 or email

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Lady in Red

A regular feature of this blog has been the ongoing work on Hawfinch in Wales. The Bird Atlas showed over the past 40 years an apparent shift westwards in the range of Hawfinches in the UK. Parts of Gwynedd and the Wye valley have become increasingly important for this scarce woodland bird.

Trevor and Chris Bashford in Dolgellau have the enviable luck of having a garden which is particularly favoured by the local Hawfinches. Last year they had 184 individual colour ringed birds in their garden and over 1300 sightings in total.

Their reading of the colour rings has proved invaluable with birds from the south east of Wales turning up in their garden. Yesterday Trevor had a bird with a red engraved ring. Being quite used to the usual local yellow rings and the white ones from down south, he got rather excited, and as always managed a couple of pictures.

A bit of quick internet detective work put us in touch with Dr Stuart Sharpe at the University of Lancaster. To quote Stuart:

“ Wow - this is amazing! Yes, it is one of my mine and the first sighting away from our study area in South Cumbria

BC was ringed at Sizergh Castle in Cumbria (our main site) as a juvenile female on 17th July 2015. We have not caught many juveniles at all in the three years our project has been running, and we actually radio-tagged this bird to try and get some information about natal dispersal. I will check tomorrow whether we got any data from this individual (some of our tagged birds disappeared without a trace).

Thank you again for a really amazing sighting, and for taking the time to get photos that really clinch the ID.”

So watch this space for any further updates, and thanks to Trevor and Chris for having to suffer all these Hawfinches in their garden, and more importantly for all the effort that put in reading rings.

For more on the project see

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Glamorgan BTO Nest Record Scheme Taster Day

It’s great to see that the numbers of birders taking part in the BTO’s Nest Record Scheme (NRS) is on the increase. Volunteers for this important scheme, now in its 77th year, find and follow the progress of individual birds’ nests across the UK, collecting vital data which are used to produce trends in breeding performance. These data help identify species that may be declining because of problems at the nesting stage, and they can also help measure the impacts of factors such as climate change on our bird populations.

But, despite a recent increase in volunteers, far more are needed and there’s a real ‘call to arms’ for more people to take up nesting, particularly here in Wales where more nest data are desperately needed.

In Glamorgan, there are currently only around a dozen active nest recorders, submitting c.800 records annually. Keen to increase those numbers and to put the Scheme on a more sustainable footing in the county, Trevor Fletcher (Rudry Common Trust), Wayne Morris (Mid & South Glamorgan BTO Rep) and I trialled a Nest Record Scheme Taster Day at Rudry Common on May 8th this year.

All three of us only have a few years’ experience of nest recording, but we felt that we’d learnt enough to be able to share the basics with new-starters and, coupled with bags of enthusiasm, we could hopefully inspire them to take up the fascinating art of nest finding and recording.  

Promoted on the BTO East Glamorgan News Blog and via social media, we attracted 5 local birders to the event. We found this to be an ideal number. It allowed us to work through the various habitats whilst staying close to each other and enabled us to share any knowledge, hints and tips with them as a group, rather than separately as individuals.

After a short indoor session, where we presented the participants with their free hazel ‘tapping stick’ (an essential tool of the nest recorder’s trade), introduced them to the NRS Code of Conduct and to some basic nest finding techniques, we were soon out in the field. We spent the morning working through woodland, finding plenty of old, or this year's, Song Thrush, Blackbird and Robin nests, but sadly no active ones. Nevertheless, it was still a useful session because we were able to show the participants the best places to look for the nests of these species. Wayne excellently put the theory into practice by finding a Song Thrush on eggs later in the afternoon.

We spent the afternoon on Rudry Common where we found a couple of active Long-tailed Tit nests, a very recently predated Linnet nest (it was in pristine condition but contained broken egg shells) and a Great Tit in a natural nest hole. The latter allowed Trevor to show off his skills with an endoscope!  We also watched a Willow Warbler busily building a nest, which Trevor went back and found a week later containing eggs.

But the highlight of the day was finding a Stonechat’s nest with 5 chicks. The participants were blown away by this nest and hopefully it'll be the one that gets them hooked on nesting!

We found a Robin on eggs on our walk back to base and rounded off the day with another short indoor session, where we shared information on how to plan nest visits and complete nest records and had a quick game of 'name the nest'. This involved showing images of various nests, a quick shout out to try and name the species who’d built them and then sharing some tips about how to find that species’ nest.

We had some very positive feedback from all who attended. An email from one of the participants really does sum up being part of the Nest Record Scheme: "I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday - it added a whole new dimension to monitoring bird behaviour. Brilliant!”

The group were keen to keep in touch to share our experiences and any tips and we will create an informal local NRS email group amongst us. We’d like to thank the Rudry Common Trust for its support and last, but not least, the event raised £50 for the BTO.

An enjoyable day all round and fingers crossed that some, if not all of the participants turn out to be fully fledged nesters in years to come.

Daniel Jenkins-Jones, Asst. BTO Rep, Mid & South Glamorgan

Friday, 13 May 2016

Blue BS

A wonderful piece copied from the Dyfi Osprey project facebook page. This great story deserves wider circulation.

Our friend Mr. Puw the farmer (looks after the buffalo in the winter for us) came to see us a couple of weeks ago - he had found a decomposing Red Kite in one of his fields in Aberhosan. The thing was - this kite had a Darvic leg ring.

After a bit of investigative work, we've found a bit more out. The kite was ringed as a chick on, wait for it, 8th June 1995!!!
There were only 120 pairs of kite in Wales in 1995 - there are over 1,000 now.
And it's our old friend Tony Cross (very young man back then) who ringed him at his nest in Cwmystwyth over two decades ago. Blue BS was just short of his 21st birthday when he was found and only a few weeks short of being the oldest British kite on record.
One of our egg-protection volunteers, Elfyn Pugh, lives close to Blue BS's nest and has seen him raise numerous offspring over the years. Mr Puw has given the Blue BS Darvic ring to Elfyn, who was quite emotional, understandably. "I wouldn't sell this for it's weight in gold" he said this morning.
Thank you to Mr. Puw, Elfyn and of course Tony for all his ringing work. Amazing story, amazing bird.
 Thanks to the Montgomery Wildlife Trust, Dyfi Osprey project for the story, and to second their thanks to Tony for what has been close to a life time of working with Red Kites in Wales