Monday, 16 February 2015

Marlborough STW ringing 17th January 2015 and the (2nd) best bird in the world

Hi, sorry for the late post, yet again! Lazy bones here can't be bothered to write it, I'm terrible (I'm a teenager ya see) :) Last week, Oh no 3-4 weeks ago I went to the Marlborough STW and was met by a cloud of Pied/ White/ Grey Wagtails, it was a specticle to behold with at least a hundred Wagtails in the vicinity. Chiffchaffs were the supporting cast with around 20 we expect hanging on in this hostile WET environment...

The team was Matt, Paul W, Anna and I who were all excited to see what we (Matt) could do! The first round was nice as we had all three Wagtails in our nets. Thankfully it didn't become a monster day again which prevents us from learning the age and gender of the birds.

If you look at the width of the secondary coverts that shows you something or other other! Also how worn the tertials are. Quite a smart trick that I like is if you push your thumb up to the start of the rump, and if it's grey it's a White and if it's black it's a Pied!
We also caught two Wrens, one had an interesting supercillium which turns out to be partially leucistic. The left one from our angle.

The amount of Chiffchaffs was quite incredible and considering that we ONLY caught 6, it does show you how plentiful they are. Due to the time we were able to study on how to set our nets next time. So while watching these Chiffchaffs we noticed that 5 sixths of them (to be exact) hadn't been ringed, just where are these coming from! Two of them Matt suspected to be an eastern race, sadly Anna released the earler one before we could study it. But the next one had paparazzi on its tail. The closest match would be an albetinus, however you can never be sure with these things, unless you hear it call, or DNA test.
So great day with only 42 birds, which is still an exceptable number with only 4 of us. It seems our expectations are so high a hundred would be considered amature!

After that Matt & I decided to go and try a new roost site on the Marlborough Downs, but before that Matt introduced me to a specticle, Which included six of these...
Yes Short-Eared Owls a rare localised predator that unlike the bog standard owls, flies at day. We were around Barbury castle which has become a rather popular destination for the Wiltshire birders because of these magnifacent Owls for three things 1) Long Grass 2) Varied terrain (Barbury Castle helps with that) and 3) food obviously.
The roost followed... Hopes were high when we saw 6 Corn buntings come in along with over 50 yellowhammers and a few Reed Buntings. It didn't prevail because every time the flock built up a cyclist or motorist drove up here even though the motorists aren't authorised. However, we did suspect they were roosting in a stubble field in front of us...

Brilliant, and I've got to say Matt has been an inspiration and recently went to Singapore to teach the locals out there. Great work, and has the birds to show for it, with a 20 year old Redshank being caught!

1 comment:

  1. Unless you get your backside in gear and start posting on time, I'm not reading anymore ;))
    Sounds great Alex, great pics of those Owls. Good laugh too.