Sunday, 19 February 2012

More Bird Ringing at Manor Farm

Another pre-dawn start and a clear sky made for a fantastic sunrise this morning. But the clear sky meant another heavy frost, although luckily not as heavy a frost as last week.

Sunrise over Manor Farm - I. R. Phillips

With the ground not as frozen there were loads more birds around, with the most numerous species being thrushes, in particular Redwing and Fieldfare; over 100 Redwing and at least 50 Fieldfares were present. I set nets in the usual places and was eventually rewarded with four new Redwing, but the Fieldfares as usual were too canny. In total we caught 8 different species during the morning session, with the most colourful being a pair of Goldfinch's. The male bird was a cracking adult, with a bright red face, forehead and chin. The red on the crown, which extended well past the eye, and the all black nasal hairs, confirmed this bird as a male.

Adult Male Goldfinch

The wing of this species is striking, with a strong contrast between the part jet black and part bright yellow primaries. Ageing is usually possible by the presence of a visible moult limit in the greater coverts, which was lacking in this bird....

Goldfinch Wing

                                     .......and the shape and broadness of the tail feathers which were broad and rounded in this bird, thereby indicating an adult.

Adult Goldfinch Tail

A new female Greenfinch was nice, but much duller in comparison to the Goldfinch's. This bird was a first year bird...

Female Greenfinch

                                  ................and was aged by the presence of a moult limit in the greater coverts, and the shape and colour of the tips of the primary coverts. In the image below it is possible to see the pale tipped greater coverts, and the pointed and pale tipped primary  coverts.

Juvenile Greenfinch Wing

In addition the tail feathers were very pointed and abraded, as illustrated below.

Juvenile Greenfinch Tail

The other species that we captured included single Blackbird, Wren and Great Tit, a couple of Blue Tits and five new House Sparrows. As I have mentioned before the House Sparrow is one of the target species for the site as I am studying the population as part of a BTO Retrapping Adults for Survival project. All of the birds captured are fitted with a BTO metal scheme ring on the right leg and a yellow colour ring with three figures, on the left if anyone is in the area keep your eyes peeled.

Colour-ringed House Sparrow

The session ended with a total of 17 birds captured, so not great but a nice variety for the trainees.

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