Sunday, 19 August 2012

Wader Ringing - Farlington Marshes 18th August 2012

With the tide again right, and the weather set fair, we headed off to Farlington Marshes for another wader mist-netting session. We arrived early and set a couple of nets on the scrape in the hope of catching another Common or Green Sandpiper, before heading off to the lake, and our main ringing site for the evening. A Spotted Crake had been reported earlier, so on the way to the lake we stopped to chat to a couple of local birders, and timed it just right to catch up with the Spotted Crake, plus a Little Stint, several Green Sands and a Spotted Redshank, but a reported Wood Sand was not in view. Whilst some of the group set the nets on the main lagoon, I headed back to the scrape and was pleased to see a new Common Sandpiper in the net along with six Starlings, not what was expected on a wader ringing session.

Colour-ringed Common Sandpiper

The Common Sand was colour-ringed, the third of the autumn to be so, and it was released to go on its way. 

We were fairly optimistic tonight, the tide was high, and there was no moon, but as the sun set the wind picked up and a heavy sea mist drifted in, which was certainly not expected. Presumably the conditions weren't right for some birds, such as Dunlin since we only caught one, and there were none on the lake, when normally it would be teaming with them. However, it was better for others; Common Redshank was the most numerous species with 12 new birds and one retrap, all adults again, but for me the bird of the night was Greenshank. This species has long been a favourite of mine, and tonight we caught three; all adults and all colour-ringed as part of an on-going study.

Adult Common Greenshank

Adult Common Greenshank

Being adults they were of course in primary moult, which is usually carried out in a progressive manner, in that one feather is dropped and starts to grow before the next is dropped. One bird however had dropped all of its secondaries, and was moulting its primaries, and so didn't have many feathers left in the wing to fly with!

Wing of Adult Greenshank

Our total also included a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ringed Plover and Eurasian Curlew, the latter two species were also colour-ringed, so I hope that readers of this blog will keep their eyes peeled for any colour-ringed waders and make sure you report them to the BTO.

Adult Curlew

Ringed Plover (Duncan Bell)

We ended our session on 27 birds, which included six starling, so a lower total than expected, but a much better variety, and a 3am finish, which was earlier than I expected.

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