I had a beautiful sunny morning bird ringing at Bedfont Lakes south side this morning!
We caught our first Willow warbler of the year, it was great being able to get up close to these birds and compare them to their close cousin the Chiffchaff. What surprised me what just how different the wings are in shape and length – the willow warbler has much longer, more pointed wings where as chiffchaffs are short and rounded. I’ll try and get a good comparison photo for you! In the meantime here is a blog post with a great photo.
We also caught a lovely Wren. They are one of the trickiest to extract from the net as they are so small, rounded and wriggly! Such handsome birds, here is a photo of one we caught a few weeks ago.
To age a bird you need to gauge the state of molt the bird is in thus what stage of life it is at. This means looking for a difference in old and new feathers which could be in shape, colour, pattern or the amount of wear and tear (this is a good read if you are interested). Simple, right? No! This skill takes years and years to perfect and even the most experienced ringers can still find it tough…..
Luckily with wrens there is a little trick I learnt – the rule is 10 or more spots on the outer edge of 4th primary feather means it is and adult bird (so that would mean born before last year) and 8 or less spots and it is a juvenile bird born last year. What if the birds has 9 spots? Then your guess is a good as mine 😉 So, any one want to have a go at ageing this bird?
We also caught this stunner.A Lesser whitethroat. This photo does not do it justice! Not ‘just a grey bird’. It was great to see one up close – they are secretive birds and I’ve never got much of a good view of one before.
I almost forgot, just when we were packed up and about to leave a swallow flew over! My first of the year, spring is officially underway 🙂