Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Goss Goldies and more from the Garden

A day spent at home with my loved ones proved beneficial on Sunday as it meant that I could sneak the nets up in the garden again. I was once again rewarded with a new species, this time in the form of a Firecrest! Quite bizarre really as it isn't your typical Firecrest habitat, being suburban with only small amounts of cover.

1st Year Female Firecrest
1st Year Female Firecrest Tail Pattern
Whilst the tail tips do look broad I believe this was due to wear as you can see the remains of the Rachis. Notice T3 which did not seem as worn in the hand appears much more pointed.
Central Alula Pattern
I have also read that the central Alula feather can sometimes help with ageing. I did find this feature difficult and it did not help me much whilst the bird was in the hand. I guess it would be easier if you had a varied selection of ages at one time for comparison.

I also had a few more Goldfinch and Chaffinch which are always a pleasure in the hand and am forever hopeful one will bare another ringers mark, A couple more Starlings made for noisy dealings and got the curtains twitching on the neighbours houses! The last bird to be processed for the day was a cracking Male House Sparrow. I think these are one of the most beautiful birds that grace our shores and always take a minute to admire them.

Should such a stunning creature be allowed to make such horrible noises? 

A truly handsome chap!

Yesterday morning was also most enjoyable. I headed to my local site Goss Moor to try my luck and see what was about. I had all nets up just before dawn and the Redwing Latvian love song on for first light. This proved successful and were my first for the Autumn (late on parade as usual)! I enjoyed re-acquainting myself with this species and am hopeful for a few more before the new year.

My first for the Autumn

Lovely wedge shapes on this juveniles tertials 

Example of pointier juvenile tail shape
Example of more rounded tail tips as found on an adult 

I also netted some Bullfinch and again try and take sometime to admire them prior to release.

Always a pleasure picking Old greater coverts on this species.

Two male Reed Buntings made their way into a net, both showing signs of a white collar and some feather wear so that the black beneath was prominent. 

I always feel that they are very regal whilst in the hand

Reed Bunting wing pattern

Reed Bunting tail pattern

A male Blackbird added to the Thrush variety and as with Bullfinch I enjoyed having a break trying to find old greater coverts as in some of the more challenging species!

Lots of wing contrast making ageing oh so easy!

A small number of Chiffchaff were processed including the individual below with a wing length of 64 mm. I am not hugely knowledgeable with Chiffchaff family groups so would be interested in peoples opinion of race. 


Another Treecreeper also made an appearance and I have caught more than I could ever imagine on this site. Long may this continue as I think they are superb little fellows.

As much as all the above was lovely the stars of the show were the Goldcrest! I managed a good number during my morning and enjoyed studying them for variety. I noticed that several seem to show greyer heads that is a sign that they have potentially come from eastern countries. lets hope one or two of them get controlled on their way home next year. 

A grey headed (eastern?) Female Goldcrest
Hopefully some of this puzzle will be answered in the near future as I did manage to capture one with a British ring! Fingers crossed it is from further afield than Devon. I will update you when I have the details returned to me. 

Fingers crossed it is from somewhere good!
So my final totals for the morning were:

Goldcrest x 13 (1 x control and 1 x retrap)
Wren x 2
Chiffchaff x 3
Treecreeper x 1
Long-tailed Tit x 2 (5 retraps)
Great Tit x 4
Blue Tit x 3
Chaffinch x 1
Bullfinch x 5
Reed bunting x 2
Blackbird x 1
Redwing x 8

1 comment:

  1. Firecrest is a beauty! I heard from Al Brimmel a fellow RAFOS colleague and ringer. He had a Firecrest in the nets at Woodwalton where there's a new colony of Bearded Tit just this year. He's been ringing there this past week. Must invite him to join your Blog Peter and Bob.