BTO Cymru

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

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.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Operation Raptor Ymgyrch Raptor

Operation Raptor #Raptor is a new North Wales Police campaign to prevent the poisoning of birds of prey. If you have any suspicions or information call them on 101

Ymgyrch Raptor #Raptor yw Ymgyrch newydd gan Heddlu Gogledd Cymru I atal gwenwyno adar ysglyfaethus. Os yr ydych yn amheus neu hefo rhyw wybodaeth rhowch alwad ffôn ar 101

Thursday, 2 April 2015

North Wales Twite Project

The project has for some years been colour ringing Twite in the Snowdonia breeding grounds and at the wintering grounds on the Dee estuary and various other localities along the North Wales coast.

The results are beginning to indicate that our small relic breeding population migrate eastwards during the autumn and winter on the Dee.  Larger numbers of birds join them, from the Pennine breeding population and further afield. Some of the Pennine birds continue east and winter on the Norfolk coast. In the second year of the project it was suspected that a Nant Ffrancon bird has been seen in the company of some Pennines birds at Titchwell, however the ring combination seen was not sufficient for a 100% identification. This last winter a bird ringed in Nant Ffrancon in April was seen in a Twite flock on the Norfolk coast.

In 2010 a small flock of Twite were present on Pensarn beach one of which had a BTO metal ring. This flock was caught and the ringed bird was found to be from near Lochinver in north-western Scotland. In December 2014 another one of this flock was recaught at Askham, Cumbria.  The small flock which appeared at Cemlyn last autumn also contained a ringed bird. When she was eventually caught she was found to be from the 15 miles south of the original Pensarn Scottish bird.  

For the past two winters we have been very lucky to have Richard Beckett join the Twite team, and Richard has spent many hours recording ring combinations and the comings and goings of the Deeside birds.  This winter a reasonable number of Twite have been feeding regularly at Deeside Naturalist Society reserve, and with their continued permission a further 68 have been colour ringed. Also caught have been a number of birds originally ringed at the Mull of Kintyre. The Mull of Kintyre have a small breeding population but also has a marked passage of autumn birds passing south and reasonable numbers have been ringed there.

                                                               Photo Richard Beckett

We are initially proposing that the coastal wintering birds here in North Wales may well be birds from the north west of Scotland, with our Welsh birds from Snowdonia venturing eastwards and mixing with Pennine birds on the Dee, some of which will continue eastwards with their new mates.

Due to Richards’s diligence last year we knew when the Deeside birds began their spring dispersal and a few weeks later the first of the Nant Ffrancon birds were back in the Ogwen valley. From Richards’s recent observations the flock at Deeside has now begun to disperse. Over the next few weeks the critically low Welsh breeding population will be making their way along the North Wales coast back to Ogwen. Can I ask all North Wales Birders to be aware of this and keep an eye and an ear open for them on passage? We have about two and a half weeks and it would be very interesting if we could plot some of their traditional staging points along the coast.

Thanks and happy hunting.

Please report any sightings to

The North Wales Twite Project is a collaborative project between, Kelvin Jones, Ian Spence, Richard Beckett, RSPB Cymru,BTO Cymru, National Trust, Snowdonia National Park, Deeside Naturalists Society, North Wales Wildlife Trust, and Flintshire Council

GBW and ringing working hand in hand.

Trevor and Chris Bashford of Dolgellau are possibly the most fortunate Garden Birdwatchers in Wales. As previously reported they regularly have Hawfinches in their garden and have over the past few years read and photographed numerous colour ringed individuals, including a bird from the Forest of Dean last year. 

This year things are going even better with the 100th colour ringed bird being recorded to date, and to quote Trevor, "there seem to be as many unringed birds coming as well"

Now where’s the phone number of that Estate Agent…………………………

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Need for Speed

At 15:30 on 3rd December 2014 a Starling was caught and ringed on Bardsey. At 19:00 that evening and 37km away in a roost of over 100,000 Starlings at Afonwen farm near Criccieth the same Starling was caught again by Phil Belman. Phil has been ringing Starlings at this roost site for a number of years and has generated number of interesting records of eastern European birds.

The previous August Dave Hill ringed a Swallow at 12:40 on the 8th at Rhiw on the tip of the peninsula, which was later caught that evening coming in to a roost on Bardsey.

The Swallow was not quite as quick as the Starling. Any other ringers out there with "Speedy" controls?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Glaslyn Whooper Swans

At Christmas 1972 a herd of 29 Whooper swans arrived at Portreuddyn farn, between Tremadog and Prenteg. Since then the herd has returned annually to various fields in the Glaslyn valley. They like the large open fields, frequently feeding very close to the main Prenteg to Llanfothen road, giving excellent views. Over the years the numbers have fluctuated peaking at 80 some years ago

Over the years a number of ringed birds have been present, with some like 2J34 returning for over 10 years. Most of these birds were originally ringed at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust reserve at Martin mere. with a few having been ringed in their native Iceland. The birds were fitted with conspicuous and easily read plastic rings so excellent histories of these birds are available. However in the last few years only a single ringed bird has been present with the herd

On Saturday 21st February SCAN ringing group changed this and a family party were neatly caught and fitted with both metal and plastic rings. The majority of this family were cygnets and should over the next 10 years hopefully give us a story of migration to rival the nearby nesting Ospreys.

Can anybody reading the rings please inform  the BTO Cymru office.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Introduction to the Breeding Bird Survey and other BTO Surveys

Over the past few years we had very successful  Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) training sessions across Wales.This year we are taking a slightly different approach and having a sessions which will also be covering several of the other key BTO surveys.

You are invited to come to a meeting to meet other volunteers, share experiences and learn about existing and future BTO surveys. The agenda has not been finalised so we are asking you what you would like to be included. We will be covering an introduction to BBS, update on BirdTrack (if you don’t already use this system for your bird recording or would like to know more), learn about the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey, the Wetland Bird Survey, the Heronries Census, the 2015 House Martin survey and whatever you may want to discuss.

There is a choice of four venues, both hosted by Kelvin Jones, BTO Cymru Development Officer.

Clawddnewydd Village Hall, near Ruthun LL15 2ND, Saturday 14th March at 13:30.

Llechryd Village Hall, Cardigan SA43 2NR (opposite petrol station) on Sunday 22nd March from 10:30

Llangasty Village Hall LD3 7PJ (next to Llangors lake) on Saturday 28th March from 10:00.

Pensychnant Conservation Centre, Conwy, Sunday 12th April 10:30

Tea/Coffee will be available, and we would appreciate knowing whether you can attend in advance so please RSVP by  10th March for Clawddnewydd, 12th March for Llechrhyd, 20th March for Llangasty, and 1st April for Pensychnant.

We would love to hear from you about what you would like to get out of these meetings and if you know of anyone who would like to get involved in BTO surveys do please bring them along.

For more details contact either your regional rep or Kelvin at the BTO Cymru office.

Kelvin Jones,
BTO Cymru,
Tel: 01248 383285