Saturday, 4 June 2011

Three Woodpeckers and a Rannoch Looper

Put my moth trap out for the first time in ages last night (3rd June), which meant an early start in the morning to check it before the resident House Sparrows ate the contents. The weather conditions were also good for netting, a bit breezy, but worth a go so I opened one net in the garden in the hope of catching some new birds. The warm overnight conditions proved good for mothing and the trap was crammed with over 150 moths of 50 species. Three Shoulder-striped Wainscots were immaculate, suggesting a recent emergence, and a singe Grey Arches was an uncommon visitor to the garden. But my attention was drawn to a small geometrid that I had not seen before. I think subconsciously I knew what it was as I went straight to the page for Rannoch Looper and there it was.

Rannoch Looper, Hampshire June 2011

This species is classified as a Nationally Scarce Notable A species in the UK, occurring only in central Scotland in open pine and birch woodland, but it is also a suspected immigrant. Having spoken to a couple of mates it would appear that there was an influx in Hampshire last night, as a few others have been caught in the county, and also in neighbouring Dorset at Portland Bill

Rannoch Looper, Hampshire June 2011

Given the number of moths turning up I don't think there is any doubt that this species is also an immigrant from mainland Europe to the UK. As I continued to work my way through the moths a family party of two adult and five juvenile Great Tits stumbled into my net, and just as I got up to begin extracting them, a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker joined them. Within the hour I had caught two juvenile and one first year male Great Spotted Woodpecker, along with a few more Great Tits and a couple of new Blue Tits.

Head of Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers have a crimson red crown......

Wing of Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

......white tips to the primaries..

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

.....and a pale red vent. According to Baker, K. (1993) juveniles undergo a partial post juvenile moult which includes body, primaries, some or all of the upper wing coverts and tail, with secondaries, tertials and most or all of the greater and primary coverts retained.

Head of First Year Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

Adult Great Spotted Woodpeckers can be sexed by the presence of a bright crimson nape patch, and can be aged by the bright red vent and lack of with tips to the primaries.

Wing of First Year Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

According to Baker, adult birds undergo a complete post-breeding moult. This bird showed an obvious contrast in the greater coverts, and had retained five apparent juvenile greater coverts, in addition, the tips of the primaries were extremely abraded.

First Year Male Great Spotted Woodpecker

I therefore aged it as a first year male bird. Three woodpeckers and a Rannoch Loper was not a bad score for a nights mothing and an hours ringing in the garden.

1 comment:

  1. lucious woodpeckers!!! elliexoxo

    cute woodpecker james xoxoxo


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