Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Titchfield Haven, Bird Ringing 11th & 12th August

My apologies for the late posting of this weeks ringing summary from Titchfield Haven but things have been fairly hectic of late. This weekend the ringing team was filled with optimism at the chance of catching an Aquatic Warbler, since it was getting on for mid August, and for the first time this autumn, the winds had gone around to the east, but alas it was not to be.

It was a mixed weekend, with 80 birds being caught on Saturday and 50 on Sunday, although the Sunday total was boosted with a sample of the local tit flock! Species wise, Sedge Warbler was the most numerous, with 63 ringed, followed by Reed Warbler, with 30. Surprisingly only 10 Grasshopper Warblers were ringed, nine on Saturday and one on Sunday, and only eight Willow Warblers, with Blackcap (3), Garden Warbler (1) and Bullfinch (1), making up the numbers.

As with most ringing sessions though there is always a star bird, and this week it was a cracking juvenile male Common Redstart. We only catch one or two of these each year, so it is always a crowd pleaser, so to speak, when we do. 

Juvenile male Common Redstart

This individual was one of the easier ones to age since it was a male; first year male birds have brown tips to the edges of the greater coverts, the throat feathers are broadly tipped brownish-white and the white band on the forehead is not clearly defined. In the image above it is possible to see the black throat feathers, cloaked by the broad pale fringing.

Juvenile male Common Redstart

Adult birds show grey edges to the greater coverts, and the throat feathers are only narrowly tipped white, and the white band on the forehead is clearly defined.

Juvenile male Common Redstart

Ageing females can be quite problematic, typically it is possible to see a slight contrast between the inner one or two greater coverts, which are grey tipped and unworn, and the outer greater coverts, which are worn and brownish edged, but not always.

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