20 Jan 2014

More Redpolls and SCAN ringing trip

After my possible Arctic Redpoll of 12th January low and behold a possible Hornemann's has been visiting a garden near Chester, probably only 5-6 miles away, for 5 days...........I'm pretty sure this is a different bird though as mine didn't appear large enough for a Hornemann's and appears to have more flank streaking.

After completing the jobs assigned to me Sunday morning I decided to stick a mist net up in the garden for a couple of hours in the hope of catching a few finches. Unbelievably the first bird extracted was a control adult male Lesser Redpoll!

This bird had very clean undertail  (utc) coverts with one obvious streak on the longest utc.

Awhile later I caught another adult male (Euring 6) and this bird had a lot more streaking on its utc's.
It just goes to show the variability in this feature and how it shouldn't be relied on to differentiate between races / species! Both birds were males of the same minimum age i.e definitely born before last year but exact age unknown.

Saturday was a SCAN cannon netting session and despite the awful weather at 05.30 when I got up the weather did improve enough to not be to uncomfortable. Although we didn't catch the Dunlin we'd planned for the 'fall back' net produced the goods with a small catch of Shelduck & Wigeon. Both species I'd not ringed previously so I was chuffed to get this opportunity and learn something new about ageing these birds.

The photo below shows the wing of the adult male Shelduck I'm holding above. It's aged as an adult as the greater coverts are clean white with no dark markings  on the tips. Besides the obvious bill protrusions it can be sexed as a male by the clean chestnut collar with little or no speckling between the chestnut and white colouration.

Whereas the 5 male below has some indistinct grey tips to the inner most greater coverts by Steve's thumb.

All in all a great weekend with a recce of other nearby sites looking for the elusive Dunlin resulting in two Great Northern Divers and a winter plumaged Black Guillemot off Bangor Pier and a Long-tailed Duck out in the bay.

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