After the dreadful weather of the summer to date, this morning it was gorgeous, a virtually clear sky and not a breath of wind, perfect for some bird ringing back at Titchfield Haven.
|Sunrise at Titchfield Haven|
We had hoped for a day like this since today was the first of our autumn public ringing events, now all we needed was some birds. A session on Thursday 19th had only produced eight birds, hopefully it would be better than that. Our first net round showed evidence that the migration had started, with four Grasshopper Warblers...at last!, along with a few Reed Warblers and a Sedge Warbler. As so it continued. The session was steady and included 15 Reed Warblers and six Sedge Warblers, a mixture of both adults and juveniles. We also ringed five Grasshopper Warblers, all juveniles, three Cetti's Warblers, a few Robins and single Great Tit and Dunnock.
Sylvia Warblers were the second most numerous genus, with seven Blackcaps, two Whitethroats and a Garden Warbler. The Garden Warbler was an adult bird in partial moult; it had previously lost half of its tail and was moulting in a replacement half, but also was replacing some of its tertials and was in body moult. According to Jenni and Winkler (1994), the extent of post breeding moult is very variable, and may be completely suppressed, but usually involves part of the body feathers, tertials and greater coverts, and rarely secondaries and primaries, so this bird was doing what is should. The Blackcaps proved to be interesting with a mixture of adults, 2nd Calendar year birds and juveniles, it always catches people out when they see a juvenile Blackcap with a brown cap, and this year was no exception.
|Juvenile Willow Warbler|
It was nice to see the first juvenile Willow Warblers of the year, with two captured, along with five Chiffchaffs, and although not a direct comparison, it was good to be able to show people the difference in the wing formula of the two species.
|Adult Chiffchaff (left) and Juvenile Willow Warbler (right)|
So by the end of the session we had captured over 50 birds of 13 species, our highest daily tally to date, and it was nice to catch a variety of species and to demonstrate to the public wild birds in the hand, and explain the value of bird ringing...lets hope that summer has finally arrived.