Saturday, January 23, 2010

Yellow Pages

It was a ringing session that almost didn’t take place when a thick mist, some might say fog, descended overnight on the moss. However after the paucity of our ringing in recent months plus the determination to gain some reward for the weeks of ground feeding the site, the nets went up. The visibility of less than 100 metres limited the normal incidental bird watching to close encounters only but gave the opportunity to sharpen up aural birding skills as Pink-footed Geese, Whooper Swans, Chaffinch, Reed Buntings, Corn Buntings and Yellowhammers called overhead or nearby without necessarily being seen through the grey, dank, misty air. Experience has always said that we catch less well during mist or fog as birds stay put from overnight roosts, waiting as humans might for horizons to brighten before venturing out.

Maybe hunger got the better of them as we caught 37 birds, the highlight being 9 Yellowhammers, always a good examination of ageing and sexing skills, not to mention testing one's memory of the pages of good old “Svensonn”.

Male Yellowhammer

Female Yellowhammer

Here’s a couple of other pictures of Yellowhammers courtesy of

Male Yellowhammer

Female Yellowhammer

There are a few interesting things about Yellowhammer that I didn’t know until I Googled the word.

Yellowhammers have at least 20 other names including gladdy, little-bread-and-no-cheese, yellow bunting, yellow amber, yellow ring, scribble lark and scribbler, the last two, because of the squiggly marks on their eggs.

The “hammer” part of the name may come from the German term for bunting “ammer”.

The Yellowhammer was introduced to New Zealand in 1862 and is now common and widespread there. It is probably more abundant in New Zealand now than in Europe where it is in serious decline, (in the UK the species fell by 54% between 1970 and 2008).

Soon they will be singing, so here's a reminder of something to look forward to.


Unravel said...

The male bird looks lo handsome with that bright yellow head.
Wish there were some in Japan also!

Tabib said...

Never mind the thick mist condition, you netted such a beautiful Yellow Bird.
Yellow seem to be in-thing this week, as we also busy with Orange-headed Thrush.

madibirder said...

Hi Phil,
Thanks for visiting Wings Among Us. You have a well written blog with fantastic images.
best regards

S.C.E. said...

I honestly can't recall the last time I saw a Yellowhammer, it must be at least 25 years ago. And you got 9 in a day!

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