The wind did drop as predicted and so it was off to Farlington Marshes for some wader ringing. High tide was not until 02:00, so we started with a wander around potential sites for catching Common Sandpipers, since Farlington Ringing Group, have just registered a colour ringing project on this species. It was not our intention to target this species to tonight, but hopefully we will later in the week. We set our nets after dark, and then laid back and waited for the incoming tide to bring in the birds. Our first birds were the expected Dunlin and by the end of the session we had ringed 18, all were adult birds and no re-traps
As is often the case with bird ringing, each session can include a surprise, and this time it was our first Common Sandpiper. An adult bird which was duly fitted with its colour rings and sent on its way. So if you are out and about looking for waders keep an eye out for a Common Sand with the below colour combination, hopefully there will be many more to come.
|Adult Common Sandpiper with Colour Rings Fitted|
Common Redshank was equally as numerous as Dunlin with 18 birds captured, but this total included two retraps. The majority of the birds were adults and in heavy primary moult, but we did catch one juvenile, so at least one breeding pair have been successful.
|Juvenile Common Redshank|
The next surprise was in the form of an Oystercater, a species that is captured in small numbers each year, but last night we ringed five.
The adult birds have a long and predominantly orange bill, and pink legs, whereas juveniles have a shorter bill, with a black tip and greyish-pink legs. The adult birds were just finishing their post breeding moult, in the image below it is possible to see the old outermost primary, contrasting with the new fresh feathers on the rest of the wing, and if you look closely you can see the replacement second primary protruding past the primary coverts.
|Wing of Adult Oystercatcher Showing Primary Moult|
By the end of the session we had ringed 42 birds, 18 Dunlin, and 18 Redshank, five Oystercatchers and one Common Sandpiper, not a bad start to the wader ringing season.