29 December 2014

Last few Chiffchaff of the year

Barring calm enough winds tomorrow to net a few garden birds, today saw the last mist-netting of the year for the group. A morning start at The Lizard caught a few Goldfinch, Greenfinch and House Sparrow, and we then headed on to Gwennap Sewage Works. The cold start to the day had brought reasonable numbers of birds into the works, but the afternoon sun meant the insects were up in the trees, so most of the 20 Chiffchaff and three Siberian Chiffchaff there were too high to catch. But enough were milling round the site that we still managed to ring seven collybita Chiffchaff and one tristis Siberian Chiffchaff.

The tristis Chiffchaff (left) stands out against the 'standard' bird on the right, lacking olive-green or yellow tones on the plumage. Seems odd, but tristis Chiffs always seem to fluff up...

Travelling between the two sites today, we stopped off to check a dead bird on the road for rings, but by the time we'd turned round it had miraculously recovered and was stood in the middle of the road! After narrowly being missed by a passing car, we managed to scoop up a stunned adult Water Rail and take it with us. After a short while in the bag we normally store our nets in (and a nice portion of Sardines we bought for it) it recovered and was quite feisty. So it was duly ringed and released into the more salubrious setting of the new reedbed at Gwennap.

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