Tuesday, August 8, 2017

It’s A Start

I set off early to meet Andy at Oakenclough where we planned maintenance of net rides and bamboo poles in preparation for our autumn and winter ringing on site. We leave the 12ft poles there in all weathers so as to minimise lugging them around each time we visit. Insulation tape stops water seeping into the bamboo and also helps the net loops slide up and down. 


Although all seemed quiet we decided to put a couple of nets up as we repaired the poles one-by-one. To be truthful we didn’t expect much of a catch so were pleasantly surprised with the outcome. 

After four hours we called it a day with a catch of 29 birds of 11 species. This included one Willow Warbler recapture from April 2017, a resident male. Our totals: 8 Willow Warbler, 6 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 3 Robin, 2 Great Tit, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Tree Pipit and 1 Redstart. 

Ageing autumn Willow Warblers in the field is well-nigh impossible but much easier in the hand. The potential problem is that adults go through a complete autumn moult while juveniles undertake a partial moult, so that by late summer/early August individual birds of different ages appear the same. In the hand, in general but not absolutely, adults have whiter bellies than first year birds but this on its own and because of the separate moult strategies and species’ races variation, is not enough to separate the two age groups. Reliable ageing of this species also involves checking the wear and shape of both tail feathers and flight feathers and then comparing the ground colour and the gloss of the same feather tracts. 

Willow Warbler - adult

Willow Warbler- juvenile/first year

Oakenclough is a strictly woodland site where we expect to catch woodland species. Imagine our surprise then to catch a Sedge Warbler, the first ever here. When we thought about it more, the emergent vegetation that lines the margins of a nearby reservoir fits the bill of a Sedge Warbler’s preferred reed scrub habitat, but we don’t expect to catch another.

Sedge Warbler

The Sedge Warbler had classic fault bars across the tail. Fault bars are translucent cross stripes where during the growth of the feather a disturbance has taken place, under stressful and adverse environmental conditions, usually hunger and/or bad weather,

Fault Bars - Sedge Warbler

We don’t catch many Redstarts, here or anywhere so were pleasantly surprised to find we had a juvenile/first year male. 



Our catch of Goldcrest included three juveniles/first year birds from on-site or very close-by. 


We caught a single Tree Pipit, a species which bred here until about the early 1980s when habitat changes and range retraction led to quite marked losses in breeding numbers. 

Tree Pipit
The graph below shows the population changes of Tree Pipit found by combined results from Common Bird Census and Breeding Bird Survey 1966 -2009, BTO. 

Tree Pipit - BTO

Species noted but not caught today included Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Lesser Redpoll and Kestrel.

Well, what do you know? two o' clock and it's raining again. At  least we made a start on our Oakenclough year.

Linking today to Eileen's Saturday and Stewart's World Bird Wednesday.


eileeninmd said...

Hello, sounds like a great morning with some great birds. The warblers are cute, I love the pretty Redstart. Great photos. Happy Birding, enjoy your day and week ahead.

Linda said...

Beautiful birds, Phil! And I love how they stay calm as they are being held! So sweet!

Jo said...

Hi Phil, thanks for sharing this wonderful morning with us. I love the warblers and redstart but the Goldcrest is my favorite. Greetings Jo

Prunella Pepperpot said...

So many different species that I haven't seen before. Your posts are an education! When we were in Wales one year they were netting birds up on the hills.
Thank you for sharing these beautiful birds. I will certainly be on the lookout for them.
Have a wonderful Wednesday :)

Patrycja P. said...

You caught so many interesting birds. I like Redstarts, they bred in my garden this spring. Regards!

bettyl-NZ said...

I so appreciate your sharing these lovely creatures on your blog. They are usually very exotic to me! It's a shame about the decline of the birds.

Margaret Adamson said...

great post and great birds ringed.

A Colorful World said...

Great way to protect the chairs so you can leave them there. Love that little Willow Warbler! Great photos of a successful ringing.

KK said...

Very nice pictures, Phil. How do you catch the birds?

Stuart Price said...

Some interesting birds in the net there Phil...........

David Gascoigne said...

It's pretty interesting that you use bamboo poles. Bamboo must surely be the most versatile plant in the world. The other night we added bamboo shoots to an Asian stir fry we made for dinner. We attached nano tags to ten Barn Swallows yesterday, Phil - a fascinating operation. It will be pretty interesting to see the data as it comes in.

Lowcarb team member said...

So pleased you met Andy, so pleased you shared these wonderful photo's.
What a great morning you had.

All the best Jan

Marleen said...

A great opportunity to see these birds from so close. The Goldcrest is so beautiful!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Phil! Stopping back to say thank you for linking up your post. The birds and photos are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend!

Breathtaking said...

Hello Phil!:) Lovely images of all the birds, and Sedge Warbler tail, and great info about the fault bars, and Bamboo poles.

Robert Nicolaescu said...

Beautiful post.

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