Not much to report on the bird ringing front in the latter half of June, but a session on the Leckford Estate in Hampshire was interesting. The bird ringing session was part of an educational wildlife day that included moth trapping, plant and invertebrate identification. I was doing the bird ringing demonstration, along with two helpers, to over 50 eager visitors. I did the same event last year and only managed to catch 11 birds, but the number was not important as I caught a juvenile Common Kingfisher, so I was invited back again to see if I could repeat the feat.
The visitors were not due to arrive at the ringing area until around 10:30 and would remain until around 14:30, but we had to arrive early in order to cut in net rides and put the nets up. In terms of the number of birds and the mix of species, the day surpassed the previous years total with 37 birds captured of 14 species, Blackcap, Great, Blue, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Robin and Eurasian Treecreeper were all on the list.
|Eurasian Treecreeper, Hampshire June 2011|
The Eurasian Treecreeper was a juvenile bird, which had yet to undergo its post-juvenile moult. Both adult and juvenile birds undergo a complete moult and therefore cannot be aged, once they have completed it.
|Head of Eurasian Treecreeper June 2011|
During the session two European Reed Warblers and nine Sedge Warblers were also captured. Five of the Sedge Warblers were recently fledged birds and had not even fully grown their wing feathers, but the most interesting bird of the nine was the adult male that I had captured the previous year. Other species included a pair of Eurasian Bullfinch's and a couple of Chiffchaff, but once again it was the juvenile Common Kingfisher that stole the show.
|Common Kingfisher, Hampshire - June 2011|
Most peoples view of a Common Kingfisher is a turquoise flash as one quickly flies off down a river or stream, so you can image the response to seeing one in the hand. Adult birds can be sexed by the presence of red at the base of the lower mandible, in females and an all dark lower mandible in males, although this feature is generally unreliable in juveniles.
|Common Kingfisher, Hamphire - June 2011|
I think overall the day was again a success, and everybody certainly enjoyed the Kingfisher, hopefully I will be invited back next year, but will I be able to catch another?