28 Feb 2013

Sanderling in the hand.

A great opportunity recently to see Sanderling in the hand and compare the subtleties of adult and 1st winter plumage. The bird below is aged as a first winter by the white edges / spots on the tertials and inner median coverts. This can be hard to see in worn birds but this one was a 'classic'.

 Unfortunately I forgot to get a photograph of the feet. How do you recognise a Sanderling from its feet? Cos its got no rear toe! That's why they always look as if they're rocking on their heels. In a strong head wind they fall over backwards.

As well as ageing, taking the wing measurements and weighing each bird had its bill length from base of bill to tip and total head & bill measured from back of skull to tip of bill. Gorgeous little birds.

We also caught a few Turnstone and Ringed Plover. Its hard to believe these little birds will soon be heading even further 'up north' to their Arctic breeding grounds.

Another short ringing session in the garden resulted in another one of the four Blackcaps that have been spending the winter here being ringed. With 'our' wintering birds originating from central Europe it will be interesting to see if this one gets picked up on its return migration.

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