Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Few More Waders

There was a ringing session at Colyford Common today, I couldn't make the 5am start time, but didn't think parking up in the car park at 06:45 was too poor an effort.

A scan over Blackhole Marsh on way to the rendezvous point revealed our first Little Ringed Plover of the 'autumn', an adult...

A very bright-legged individual

There were a few other waders about too; my first autumn Green Sandpiper on the southern end of Colyford Marsh, eight Common Sands on the Estuary and at least six Blackwits still on the Estuary.

Ringing wise, we caught the expected - a few Linnets and plenty of Reed Buntings were nice along with oodles of Reed and Sedge Warblers. Oh, that reminds me, about four weeks ago the group caught a pair of Lesser Whitethroats on Colyford Common - both adults and the female with a brood patch. Now that's good news!

In the hedgerows there were a few Willow Warblers and a Whitethroat - I haven't seen either of these species here since the spring so I presume these were returning migrants?

Right, it's now time to bring everyone up to date with ringing in my garden.... it won't take that long because in the past week or so I have only had time to set a net up in the front garden on one day - a week ago today.

I have ringed 153 birds in total in the garden - 13% of that total being Bullfinches! Anyway, one of the first birds I caught on Saturday morning required me to start a new ring size...

A Chiffy - bit unexpected when the net is set beside bird feeders!

What makes it a Chiffy - the red arrow points to the clinching emarginated sixth primary

The rest of the morning was spent catching the usuals but then had to pack up and do something productive. Later in the evening though, I had a chance to put it up again - so did! I didn't catch many more birds, a couple of Greenfinches and Great Tits. The fifth bird of the evening though meant I had to start yet another new size of ring - a bloody big one too!

I looked at the mist net in disbelief as an adult Herring Gull was flapping about in it - flipping heck!!! I grabbed hold of it pretty quick...it grabbed hold of me even quicker!! Thankfully I'm pleased to report the net is still in one piece.

I wasn't expecting a beast like this, what a handful! A full adult male - bloody massive it was! Anyway, I ringed and processed it, then tried to get a photo of it and me...

... when this photo was snapped it was REALLY hurting me - I seriously thought it was going to break my hand!

I didn't want to handle it much more than I had to, so just settled with this pic...

Here he is trying to eat my ringing smock!

And that's the ringing up to date now. One day I will have to find time to write about three weeks of mothing....

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