Thursday, 27 November 2014

With light south-easterly winds and clear skies, it was a very pleasant winter's day on the island. A lamping session during the night yielded a Common Snipe in the wetlands and a Turnstone on Solfach- the Snipe is the first to be ringed since 2012. A Barn Owl was seen hunting over the wetlands in the early hours, and the Whooper Swan was also seen during the night.

Three Chiffchaffs were seen during the day, along with two Redwings, a Merlin, and a Buzzard. Turning seaward, two Mediterranean Gulls (including the first 1st winter bird for several weeks) flew past amongst 16 Common Gulls and 139 Black-headed Gulls, whilst a Shelduck turned up around The Narrows.

After taking a bit of a battering in the late October storms (or, to put it more accurately, after being buried under two tonnes of kelp...), the portable Heligoland trap has now been fixed and improved, and is working well on the seaweed in Solfach. About 13 Starlings and five Rock Pipits have been trapped in the last few days...

Iris colour is a useful sexing criteria in Starlings- two males (top row) to compare with two females (bottom row)

Tail shape and colour can be used alongside other criteria for ageing, although its not always straightforward...these two above are perhaps the easiest: 1st winter (age code 3) above, and adult (age code 4) below
In other news, one Starling that has (unfortunately) avoided capture is wearing a ring on its left leg. Some close-up photographs have revealed that it is in fact wearing a Norwegian ring (Stavanger can be seen on the top line). Fingers crossed that it will find its way into the Heligoland soon!

All the Rock Pipits trapped on Solfach are fitted with small colour rings

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