16 October 2015

Busy Nanjizal week and more Skylarks

The last five days have seen daily ringing at Nanjizal, with 493 birds ringed, including 171 Blackcap, 74 Chiffchaff, 22 Firecrest (60 ringed so far this autumn), three more Yellow-browed Warblers (15 so far this month!) and a Little Bunting (one of two present). Also of note were late Reed Warbler, Garden Warbler and the six Siskin (unusual for the site).

Away from the Penwith valley, the rest of us headed out to Predannack (National Trust farm near Mullion) this morning to try for our first Skylarks of the winter. The fields were pretty quiet, so it's perhaps a bit early in the season, and pre-dawn drag-netting saw three birds slip under the net. We were slightly more successful mist-netting, though nine nets did still only produce four birds!

A rather grainy dawn photo, but the colour difference in these birds is hopefully still apparent,
with two rather grey birds (left)
While we were there we took the opportunity to turn the 'Skylark H' into a 'mipit triangle', but the presence of various raptors kept the majority of birds away from the nets. Some hedgerow nets did catch a single Linnet, in amongst a plethora of Dunnocks...

This bird was an interesting aside though, as it had hints of pinky-colour coming through on the breast (suggesting a male), but an incredibly dull, grey head. So we might presume that this was a winter-plumage male, but the moulting wing, and in particular the worn state of the unmoulted inner secondaries (and very dull head), suggested this was an adult part-way through moult. So quite why an adult male Linnet would look quite so shabby is a mystery, but we presume this is a second-year bird, having had a dull first-summer plumage and, so far, a delayed moult of its head feathers.

Note the newly-growing outer primary and the wear on the unmoulted inner secondaries

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