6 September 2013

Home ground

It was an early start this morning when Colin arrived at my place for a ringing session. Although I have been here for just over a year this was the first real chance to ring some birds here other than Blackbird chicks.

The forecast was for gentle winds increasing mid-morning so the plan was to set two nets in a banked area on part of my land and use an audio lure to catch some Meadow Pipits.

As soon as the nets were up and the lure on Meadow Pipits started to move into the surrounding area and soon they were sitting on the nets, the net poles and the guys. Now we justed needed them to fly into the nets. By the end of the session we had caught and ringed 17 of them. Most of the birds we caught were juveniles with a few adults.

It was interesting to see the different stages of moult between the juveniles, as can be seen from the two photos below.

In the first photo the inner three greater coverts and all the tertials have been replaced, you can see the pale edges of the feathers are light brown as opposed to the whitish buffy edges of the older feathers.

Juvenile Meadow Pipit - tertials and some greater coverts replaced
In the second photo the tertials are being replaced.

Juvenile Meadow Pipit - tertials being replaced
In addition to the Meadow Pipits we also had a second species of Pipit. The first thing that caught my eye was the yellow undersides of the feet. Now the Meadow Pipit also has yellow undersides to its feet but I hadn't really noticed it, but with this bird it stood out like a sore thumb or should that be toes!! The reason the feet colour was more pronounced, I think, was because the legs were a lot darker in colour compared to a Meadow Pipit. Its plumage was also a lot darker and it was also slightly stockier than a Meadow Pipit.

If you haven't guessed what it is yet see if this helps:

The bird in question is a Rock Pipit and was a new species for me to ring.

I also had another new species to ring. This was a bird that I had seen and heard around here throughout the summer. A bird that is probably heard long before you see it as they tend to be up quite high in the sky when they are singing. It is of course the Skylark.

We also caught one Blackbird, one House Sparrow and a young Swallow which had already been ringed. It shouldn't be a surprise if I told you it was ringed at the reed bed not too far from here about three weeks ago.

At the end of the session I had ringed 21 birds of five different species plus the retrapped Swallow. If we get another calm day sometime in the next few weeks we may have another session.


  1. You had a good session tere Dave. It just shows what potential that garden of yours has!



  2. Indeed, it was a good first session and there have been good numbers of Greenfinch around here over the last week as well. Also over the course of the year there have been a lot of other species around the garden and immediate area so once I have a C permit I could be quite busy.