Saturday, 15 May 2010

Late start.

Having been unable, for various reasons to do the first CES visit within the time frame allotted, we were glad the weather was fine and the frost and fog of recent days did not manifest themselves today.

The day started well with a Sedge Warbler; the last time we had one on this CES site was way back in 2007, when we had a male in June followed by a juvenile in July. They used to be quite common with 50 or 60 individuals in a season in the early 'nineties. Last year was the first 'blank year'.

Blackcap produced no re-traps, but the most new rings. Four were female and one was a male; all were in their 2nd calendar year. The male still retained many 'brown' feathers in the crown from his youth.

The five Garden Warblers were all sexed as female with well-defined brood patches. Most of the males are still hanging around in the trees, warbling away, whereas many of the male Blackcaps are only giving short periods of song at the moment. I suspect they are feeling a little worn out by now but we will catch them as soon as they have recovered their strength! Back to our borin birds. The two retrapped ones were definite Euring "age 6". They were aged on tail shape as the photo (below) shows.

However, we do know that one was "aged 4" last year and the other was also "aged 4", but way back in early May 2003. This makes 'her' at least 8 years old and a new group record. These older birds all have 'flat ended' outer tail feathers with a fine white edge or white tip to them, possible caused by the sun's bleaching effect during the winter in Africa. The youngsters moult their tails later than their parents and the tips, apart from being more pointed, do not show this same amount of bleaching.

In contrast, the Whitethroats, although more colourful, are heavily worn at this time of year, especially on the tails.

Young Whitethroats often drop odd feathers in the tail. This can be at any time and is probably caused by their live-style, grovelling around in often rough or prickly vegetation. It is not uncommon to three different ages of retrices in one bird. The latest feather to re-grow is 'R2right' in the one above.

Unfortunately the supplementary ageing characteristics for Whitethroat don't show up well in our "snapshots" with a compact camera; eye, crown, breast and leg colouring. Believe me when I say the above is "aged 6"!.

Todays tally was 27 birds, 12 of which were re-traps. The four warbler species made up 15 (55%) of the total; as expected not one was a Phyllosc. now that most of these are settled in and nesting. What a change from a month ago. Another notable re-trap was a Blackbird first ringed as a 3JF on 25-06-2005.

Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 1
Long-tailed Bushtit (1)
Blackcap 5
Garden Warbler 3 (2)
Whitethroat 3 (1)
Sedge Warbler 1
Blackbird 1 (2)
Song Thrush (1)
Robin (1)
Dunnock (4)


Anonymous said...


Errol said...

Angelo & others.
English, good or bad but not foul, is the language of this blog.

Errol said...

The translation we have is "identification of the problem is equivalent to half of the problem has been solved"

Errol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Errol said...

Mark Boyd reported on our other long-running site at "The Thorns" -
"CES 2 provided little excitement on Saturday, with a total of 26 birds, including 8 retraps. There were no juveniles and more Sylvia warblers than anything else."