Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Greyish Willow Warblers and sundry others

Well. Since the last post it's been a decidedly busy ol' time. The mysterious N and myself have decided to search for somewhere to live - I'm joining her to look at a flat in Chudleigh later - and have spent the last couple of weekends doing a spot of seasonal bird-ringing. Our exploits took us first to one of her Dartmoor sites, where we caught almost sack-all. Almost... We did catch a rather grey Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), perhaps not as grey as those discussed by 'fat Paul Scholes', but decidedly duller than our local birds. Interestingly, it looked rather Chiffchaff-like in the field, without reasonably close scrutiny. Wonder how many others go misidentified?
OK, it's a slightly overexposed picture, but you can see the colder, rather greyish tones to the bird.
Slightly greener around the rump and on the remige/remix fringes. Perhaps an intergrade towards 'acredula'?

Last weekend we returned to the ever-dependable Slapton. Our brief holiday from the site allowed the jammy gits to trap, ring and photograph in glorious technicolour, the site's first Aquatic Warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola) since 2003. Arse. Fortunately the bird has been lurking in the same area ever since, allowing us to catch brief - in fact almost unidentifiable - views between net rounds. As usual, the bulk of the ringing was Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica), but some more porky Blackcaps (Sylvia atricapilla) and Sedge Warblers (Acr. schoenobaenus) were also trapped and ringed. Birds of the weekend were a smart adult female Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), a late Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia) and a couple of Meadow Pipits (Anthus pratensis); the latter are rarely caught at Slapton, perhaps because we don't make enough effort for them! Too busy to take pictures, I'm afraid, so you'll have to imagine them!

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