Saturday, 23 February 2013

A bit or revenge ringing...

Yesterday lunchtime something terrible happened! A bloody Herring Gull stole a whole pasty from my hand leaving me without lunch… what is the world coming to. I know Herring Gulls are on the decline but why my pasty! This morning, despite having a horrible cold, I headed out to the Swannery Car Park armed with several loaves of bread seeking revenge for the pasty incident. I have done no gull ringing this winter so far, so was hoping to get a few birds ringed before warmer weather arrives and they all start heading off to their various breeding grounds. After an hour or so my cold had got the better of me but I wasn’t too disappointed with a catch of three Black-headed Gulls and two Herring Gulls. I managed to attract quite a crowd who were keen to find out about bird ringing and why I was catching gulls!!

This Black-headed Gull wasn’t too keen on having its photo taken!

Just look how red that is! And look at the shape of its tongue!

The camera survived and the gull flew off with an interesting story to tell its mates.
Better quickly go back to last weekend which started off with a visit to a Weymouth garden which has been home to a Lesser Whitethroat since the new year. Bob and Patricia very kindly brought a photo of the bird to me in work a little while ago and instantly I could see it was something interesting. Brett who lives very close by,  popped along with his camera and got some good photos and confirmed that it was certainly of eastern origin. Last Saturday we went along with the intention of catching and ringing the little critter to have a detailed look at it which will give a better idea of which sub-species of Lesser Whitethroat it belongs to. Whilst measuring and photographing the bird one or two small body feathers were shed which will prove very useful as they have now been sent off for DNA analysis. I will have more information on this in the coming few months. Here’s the little fella in the hand.

And here’s one of the tail which shows the characteristic white outer tail feather of an ‘eastern type’ Lesser Whitethroat.

And this is one of it taken just 15 minutes after release. It came straight back to the garden and carried feeding on its favourite feeder!

More detailed information can be found on Brett's blog courtesy of Ian Dodd.

Saturday afternoon I had planned a trip to Somerset so see the starlings. It was sheer luck that the evening before a Pied-billed Grebe was found on RSPB Ham Wall. It showed fairly well for us as did several million Starlings!

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