7 March 2014

Chiffchaffs getting ready for the off

Finally the weather improved for long enough on Wednesday to get out and put up some nets! With winter fast coming to an end we took the opportunity to make a late visit to one of our sewage works sites at Ponsanooth. We ended up with 21 new birds and 13 retraps, including the typical sewage works fare of two Grey Wagtails, a Siberian Chiffchaff and several 'normal' Chiffchaffs. Highlight though was a net round of three Firecrest (including the two males below) and a Treecreeper, the latter being the first one ever caught by the group!

What was more interesting though was the weight changes in some of the retrap Chiffchaffs. EKT783 weighed 7.9g when ringed on 17th December, up to 9.9g now. EKT753 weighed 7.8g when ringed on 26th November, then 7.6g on 12th December and 7.9g on 29th January, now weighing 8.4g. Finally one of our controls (a bird ringed elsewhere), DYP947, weighed 8.3g when caught on 29th January now weighs 9.7g.
These birds were also fat, scoring 3 or 4 (on a scale of 0-8), compared to earlier in the winter when the carry little or no fat (score 0 or 1). These are both sure signs that spring is on its way and birds are preparing to move back north...

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