Saturday, 15 October 2011

A Yellow-browed at The Haven!!!

After the highs of yesterday, light south-easterlies and loads of eastern migrants arriving in the country, we opened our nets with dreams of having our share. The omens seemed good because as I left my house a black cat ran across the road in front of me!!!, which apparently brings good luck. And so it was to be as we didn't have long to wait for our dreams to be fulfilled. Just as I was getting to the end of the first net round, there in the net were 2 chiffchaffs and a single Yellow-browed warbler!!

Yellow-browed Warbler, Titchfield Haven - 15th October 2011

This cracking little bird, is the sixth to be seen at The Haven but only the second to be trapped and ringed there. I have only handled one before, and so quickly searched out my trusty Svensson guide in order to attempt to age it.

Yellow-browed Warbler, Titchfield Haven - 15th October 2011

Interestingly, according to Svensson adult birds undergo a summer complete moult, whereas juveniles undergo a summer partial, nonetheless there are no plumage differences recorded for ageing birds in the autumn.

Wing of Yellow-browed Warbler

The primaries were extremely fresh and tipped white, and were emarginated on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th, but the tail feathers were pointed and slightly abraded. Abrasion on the tail feathers is indicative of a juvenile bird in many species, and it is my suspicion that this was the case with this bird...

Tail of Yellow-browed Warbler

......but in the absence of any other published literature on ageing the species we opted to leave the bird unaged but took loads of photos for future reference.

Yellow-browed Warbler - Titchfield Haven 15th October 2011

After release the bird was seen on a couple of occasions feeding in the sun drenched willows before disappearing. We continued with our session with nothing much else to report other than a few Goldcrests, the usual Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps and a handful of Robins. And then just as we had closed all the nets our attention was drawn to a pipit flying over uttering  loud, high pitched call. Having only recently seen the species we immediately identified the bird as a Red-throated Pipit, unfortunatley it continued in a westerly direction and we were unable to relocate it.

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