Tuesday, 20 January 2015

First Ringing of 2015

For various reasons, it wasn't until yesterday that I managed to set a mist net this year.  Although I have been busy, whenever I have freed up a bit of time the weather has been completely against me - we have had a very windy start to the year.

Yesterday's mist net was set in Mum and Dad's garden, and it gave me 18 birds. Although this doesn't sound like many, the total did include six Long-tailed Tits and a Wren, neither species being common in the garden.  Bullfinch on the other hand is a regular visitor, and I caught three 'new' females. One was an adult (age code 6) with the other two being bird born last year (age code 5). Which allowed me to do this...

Two female Bullfinch wings
The upper arrows are pointing to the carpal coverts. The younger bird has an umoulted juvenile carpal covert, which shows a diffuse dirty brown edging, whereas the adult bird's carpal covert has a neat and narrow white-grey tip.

The lower arrows are pointing to the outer greater coverts.  As I've mentioned many times before on this blog, some passerines (finches in particular) after their partial post juvenile moult retain some juvenile outer greater coverts.  So they start moulting them from the inside during their first autumn, but typically don't replace the outer 1-6. You will see the adult's greater coverts are all uniform in colour and pattern, very dark centred with neat white-grey tips, whereas the '5' clearly is retaining some juvenile feathers, which are overall duller feathers with diffuse dirty grey-brown edging. I haven't spread the greater coverts out very well in this photo, as this bird actually had four old greater coverts.

And that's today lesson over!  Hope to do some more ringing soon - if time allows...

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