17 December 2013

Supermarket sparrows vs a sewage works Yellow-browed

This morning we were tasked with helping to remove a couple of House Sparrows from the back of one of Truro's largest supermarkets. They'd been stuck inside for a couple of months now, so once licences were sorted we were let loose.

It's rather surreal mist-netting in amongst pallets of toilet brush sets, washing powder and nappies, but we were based next to the alcohol section, so not all bad... But once some pallets were moved we could rig up 'Heath Robinson stylee' a single-shelf net at ceiling height, threaded through light fittings, air ducts and water pipes, and a full-height net between the shelving.

Terrible photo of our interesting morning netting site!
Remarkably, with the help of a tape-lure (well MP3-lure) we were eventually able to catch both birds darting through a small gap high up above the shelving. Both were ringed and liberated in a neighbouring garden, so let's hope this is the last we see of them.

Being so efficient at the supermarket, we used the extra couple of hours we had to stick up a few nets at Ponsanooth Sewage Works. There weren't many birds around (apart from a Siberian Chiffchaff, three Firecrest, Green Sandpiper and Woodcock), but one 40' net did catch a little group of warblers, including five Chiffchaffs (all apparently collybita) and a very smart Yellow-browed Warbler; our first of the winter.

These aren't always easy to age, but this bird showed a nice hint of a central crown stripe, which is apparently more frequent in juveniles. This, combined with a rather pointed tail (if a bit fresh-looking), suggested this was a first-winter bird.

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