Saturday, 18 February 2012

Very frustrating......

It has been a very frustrating week this week which started on Monday evening with a visit to Manor Farm for a bit of Woodcock spotlighting. We trudged around the fields and eventually managed to flush 11 birds without catching one!!! We also nearly caught two Fieldfares, which bizarrely were roosting in the middle of a field....very frustrating!!

Wednesday night followed a similar pattern, in that we trudged around the same fields, this time flushing nine woodcocks and not catching one.....equally frustrating!! Hopefully better luck next week!

Adult Male Chaffinch

To try a salvage something from the week I put a net up in the garden yesterday evening, making use of the last couple of hours of daylight, and was rewarded with four retrap Blue Tits, a new Long-tailed Tit, two new Greenfinch's, a Goldfinch and a cracking adult male Chaffinch.

Adult Chaffinch

I never really spend much time looking at Chaffinch's in the field, but in the hand this bird was stunning. It was in full breeding plumage, with a rich chestnut back and mantle and a green rump, and the flight feathers were all fringed yellow.

Adult Chaffinch Wing

All of the flight feathers were extremely fresh, with no evidence of a moult limit in the coverts, and the tail feathers were very broad and rounded, showing little evidence of wear.

Adult Chaffinch Tail
When ageing Chaffinch's the tail is a crucial feature, with the central tail feathers being more rounded and sometimes having a black centre towards the tip, the 3rd tail feather (from the centre) is rounded, as is the 5th, which also has a well defined white patch and the dark parts are jet black.

Juvenile Chaffinch Tail

For comparison, it is possible to see the shape of the central tail feathers in a juvenile bird (pic above), note that one of the central tail feathers has been replaced, the juvenile feather is very pointed. Also the shape of the feathers in general is more pointed, and they are showing a fair amount of abrasion at the tips.

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