Monday, 23 March 2015
The wind continued to swing around from the south-east, and by the end of the day was settled in the north-west; a small amount of precipitation overnight, coupled with a moderately stronger wind, seemed to encourage some migrants to make landfall on the island. Totals for the day include three Skylarks, 136 Meadow Pipits, one Grey Wagtail, one Sand Martin, 13 Stonechats, seven Wheatears, one Fieldfare, three Redwings, 32 Chiffchaffs, 32 Goldcrests and one Reed Bunting.
The light winds in the last few days have meant we've been able to erect all the mist nets up around the island, and as migrants begin to arrive we have also been giving them some use! Nant has been the most productive place in the last few days, with a total of 50 new birds ringed, plus a control and a handful of retraps.
The Nant ringing station
Goldcrests have been the most numerous species ringed, and amongst all the new birds was a single already bearing a ring. This was in fact a 'control', that appears to have been ringed on Skokholm just a few days ago
Goldcrests can be aged fairly easily by the shape, texture and colour of the tail at this time of year: the adults (age 6- on the left) have very broad tail feathers, with rounded tips, and a very glossy texture. In comparison, last year's juveniles (age 5- right hand bird) have very pointy tail feathers, with a looser texture and brown colouration
Chiffchaffs have been increasing in numbers in the ringing totals, with about 14 ringed today. This included several individuals with 'pollen horns'- above
again, many Chiffchaffs can also be aged on the tail: adults (age 6- left in the image above) have similarly glossy feathers, with rounded tips and generally quite a broad appearance. The younger birds (age code 50- right in the photograph) have rather knackered feathers which (for the most part) look very worn and brown, with narrower tips
The wings of Chiffchaffs (in particular the greater coverts) are also useful for ageing, as can be seen in the image above, with an adult picture above, and last year's juvenile below. Notice the contrasting shapes of both the secondaries and primaries- much broader on the adult, all the way to the tip, and again the darker and more glossy colouration of the adult feathers