Saturday, 18 August 2012

Titchfield Haven - Bird Ringing 18th August 2012

A busy mornings bird ringing at the haven today, with over 130 birds captured, our highest daily total of the year so far, which was good since it coincided with the second of our public ringing events, so there was plenty for them to see. The total was dominated by Sedge Warblers again, with 51 birds ringed, but alas, still no Aquatic!!! Reed Warbler was the second most numerous species with 42 birds ringed, the catch of both species included a large percentage of adult birds.

Grasshopper Warbler was the third most numerous species; 10 birds were ringed, but unlike with Reed and Sedge, we have yet to catch an adult bird this year. Other species included seven Willow Warblers, five Garden Warblers, four adults and one juvenile and a couple of Common Whitethroats. We did also catch three Blackcaps, two of which were retraps, one, an adult bird from a couple of years previously which was in heavy wing moult and in the process of replacing all of its primaries and secondaries, so he won't be going anywhere for a while.

Today's bird of the day though was not in the nets, but flying over them, and took the form of an Osprey. This bird has been hanging around for a while now and tends to hunt along the River Meon catching Mullet, and once it has caught, it flies over to the Isle of Wight to eat...seems a long way to go for lunch, especially when there is an Osprey platform at the haven specially for it!

Osprey being dive bombed by a Common Tern

After ringing I headed back to the centre to look at a Jersey Tiger moth that was trapped at the haven overnight. This is the first time this species has ever been recorded at the site, and what a cracker it was too! There have been a few caught along the south coast over the last few weeks...think I will have to dust off my moth trap tonight.

Jersey Tiger, Titchfield Haven

Whilst looking at The Jersey Tiger I took the opportunity to get a close up look at a dead Water Shrew that had been found the day before in the Ringing Area. This is the largest of the British shrew species and is distinguished from the other species by virtue of its black dorsal fur and whiter underparts, and of course its larger size.

Water Shrew - Titchfield Haven

Water Shrews feed on a variety of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates plus frogs, newts  and small fish, apparently they attack their prey at or just behind the head and can take prey considerably larger than themselves. Larger prey are immobilised by a venom which is produced in the saliva by the submaxillary gland. The venom affects the nervous, respiratory and and blood systems. 

Water Shrew teeth

I was intrigued to see the colouration of the tips of the teeth, apparently the red tipping is due to the deposition of iron in the outer layer of the enamel, and it is considered that it may increase resistance to wear.

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