Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Harrington Airfield ringing


A ringing session at Harrington Airfield this morning with just a few mist-nets and a couple of spring-traps was sufficient to catch 44 birds of 13 species. This total included 8 Whitethroats including a returning adult from last year, six Willow Warblers including a returning juvenile from last year, a Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps, a pair of Marsh Tit, 3 Yellowhammers and  2 Goldfinches. However the star birds were two apparent 'Greenland' Northern Wheatears (please see the images below).

Checking an owl box with Chris Payne this afternoon in South Northants confirmed an attendant adult Tawny and a live and a dead chick. There was no cached prey in the box so it is assumed the smaller of the two died from starvation. Many tit broods have hatched now with the adults busy trying to find sufficient invertebrate food for their chicks.

Eleanor again saw a hunting Barn Owl and a Cuckoo at Blueberry Farm this evening.


Neil M

Apparent 'Greenland' race of Northern Wheatear.
Both these birds were trapped and ringed at
Harrington Airfield today and were deemed to be females.
The upper two images refer to a bird showing characteristics
of an adult. The bottom two images are of a bird aged as a
first year, this bird being browner, a little smaller and lighter and
exhibiting significant abrasion to wing feathers and particularly
the tail. The wing-lengths for both are outside the range of the nominate
form of Northern Wheatear and the adult type bird in particular
was very heavy. Both show seven primary tips at rest, an additional
quoted field characteristic. It seems these birds still have a long
journey ahead of them, aiming for Greenland or even the eastern
landscapes of Canada!

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