Sunday, 13 November 2011

Wader Ringing at Farlington Marshes

Well with the weather set fair and the predicted strong south-easterly wind yet to materialize, we arranged to meet at Farlington Marshes for a nocturnal wader ringing session. Unfortunately, on arrival we were slightly dismayed to find that the strong breeze had indeed arrived, and therefore it was looking like the session would have to be called off. But having made the effort, we decided to walk down to the trapping area to check the wind down there. Surprisingly, in the shelter of the reeds the wind wasn't as bad so we decided to put up a net and see; four nets later we settled down at our ringing base to wait for high tide.

Initially things were slow, but it was not long before we started catching birds on the rising tide, with our first capture a Dunlin. It has been a while since I had last been wader ringing, and so I was a little concerned that I would not remember the ageing criteria for some of the species that we captured, so Dunlin was a nice easy start.

Juvenile Dunlin - Farlington Marshes

In adult winter plumage, the upper-parts are brownish-grey with white fringes to the coverts, whereas juvenile birds have blackish brown fringes with chestnut fringes to the coverts. 

Juvenile Dunlin - Farlington Marshes

This bird clearly exhibited chestnut fringes to the lesser coverts and tertials, and therefore was aged as a juvenile bird. In total 6 Dunlin were captured by the end of the session.

Juvenile Dunlin Coverts - Farlington Marshes

After a couple more Dunlin, our next capture was an adult Common Redshank. Common Redshank are aged in a similar way to Dunlin, with adult birds having grey brown, white fringed coverts whilst juveniles are a warm brown colour and extensively fringed buff. In addition, the deep red colouration of the legs and base of the bill are a useful feature, since juvenile birds are duller and paler in colouration.

Adult Redshank - Farlington Marshes

Our first Redshank proved to be an adult, in fact, all 11 birds captured, 8 new and 3 re-traps, proved to be adults. Apparently, it is quite normal to catch only adults birds during ringing sessions at the marsh, so I guess the question is where have all the juveniles gone? It is possible that juveniles winter elsewhere, or maybe it has not been a good breeding season for the species.

Adult Redshank - Farlington Marshes

The most surprising thing about this session was the number of Eurasian Curlew coming on to the lake. Unprecedented numbers of birds were circling over the lake before flying east and dropping down onto the stream. Surprisingly, we managed to catch 3 birds; the first time that has happened for many years. Adult birds are aged by the presence of noticeable rounded primaries, and grey brown centred coverts with pale edges. Juvenile birds have extensive bright buff edges to the coverts, with a distinct brown central mark. We captured 2 adults and 1 juvenile.

Adult Curlew - Farlington Marshes

Despite, the slightly breezy conditions we ended on a total of 20 birds, 3 Curlew, 11 Redshank and 6 Dunlin, but as we were leaving we noted over 100 Curlew and 11 Pied Avocet on the nearby stream. Maybe we will have to ring there next time.

1 comment:

  1. this is epic. I am 12 years old and an enthusiastic birdwatcher and I aspire to be a bird-ringer when I am qualified/old enough to. I have always liked Curlew especially watching migrating ones. It is strange how much people under estimate the size of birds before they see one. Before I started getting properly into birding I would have thought a Dunlin or a Sanderling would have been Curlew-size! It's nice to see some one else using capitals for vernacular names other than me (I don't see much of that). Please take a look at my birding blog: Please comment. I love your blog. It is cery well-written an it is about wild birds which makes anything instantly EPIC as long as it is not news that one has been made extinct or about harm done to them. xxx :o). PS My surname is Woodcock! I am a tiny woodland wading roding bird! WOO! I visit the Marshes all the time and it is one of my total fave birding spots.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...