We had a fantastic morning's ringing, trapping a total of 74 new birds, and processing around 20 retraps. It was surprising to find so many Chiffchaffs flitting around the trees and willows, with a total of 30 new birds ringed, and a further 10 retraps! Perhaps the highlights of the morning came in the form of a Water Rail (one of at least four on site), several stunning Firecrests, a Cetti's Warbler, an impressive four Siberian Chiffchaffs, and a good handful of Redwings and Song Thrushes. Commoner species trapped during the morning included Chaffinches, Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches and Blackbirds. Check out the images below for some more detalils on the ringing session.
In addition to the ringing, it was fantastic to witness the visible migration taking place overhead. The morning's totals were quite impressive by the time we left, in particular due to the movement of Woodpigeons that was taking place. We recorded the following: 1342 Starlings, 1643 Woodpigeons, 27 Siskins, 55 Chaffinches, two Bramblings, two Reed Buntings, 12 Snipe, six Stock Doves, 17 Skylarks, 10 Goldfinches, nine Golden Plovers, 10 Lapwings, 10 Greenfinches and two Mistle Thrushes. A great morning all-in-all; it really was nice to be back down in this amazing site.
This cracking Water Rail was one of the highlights of the morning. They are not to be messed with: this seemingly docile and shy creature can be a voracious carnivore, eating anything it can get a hold of
Most of the Firecrests we trapped during the morning were re-traps from previous sessions, but there was one new bird in the mix. This stunning male was aspiring to be a Pacific Royal Flycatcher!!
It was cool to catch a total of four Siberian Chiffchaffs during the morning, all of which were really smart birds that gave a lovely Bullfinch-like 'huuet' call upon release. Here are two of them in the above image, alongside a Common Chiffchaff (far left)
And again, the tristis on the right and a collybita on the left
One of the Siberian Chiffchaffs trapped and ringed
A comparison of tail shape in Chiffchaffs, for ageing a juvenile and an adult. You can see the browner, tatty and more pointed tail feathers of the juvenile (age 3) on the right, compared to a lovely broad and glossy adult (age 4) on the left
Several Long-tailed Tits found their way into the nets during the morning, although most already sported rings
One of the seven Redwings ringed during the morning
An interesting abnormality on the 5th tail feather, with a highly attenuated tip! Very odd
Fault bar with a capital 'F'!! This Robin obviously experienced some stressful or adverse environmental condition during the developmental process when growing the feathers at this point! A look under the upper mandible confirmed this bird as an age 3, due to the extensive yellow colour
Great to see an adult Great Tit, with bright blue fringing to most of its flight feathers and coverts, compared to the duller tones and contrast in a juvenile's wing