Adding to the interest, it had a wing length of 66.5 mm (Blyth's Reed Warbler = 58–67 mm; Marsh Warbler = 65–73 mm). Don't worry, it wasn't a Blyth's; the wing formula (emarginated on p8 only; p8 longest; p6 more than a couple of mm longer than the wing point) soon ruled that out. And actually, in overall structure it just *looks* like a Marsh Warbler — it's only when you take into account the colour and the size that it becomes more interesting, especially coupled together. Marsh Warblers, although more olive-toned than Reed Warbler, still show some warmth on the rump and flanks; this bird didn't.
'normal' Marsh Warbler
Oddly, the wing formula differed slightly between wings: the left wing was half a mm shorter (66 mm vs 66.5) and the primaries were slightly more bunched together; p8 on the right wing sticks out a whole mm more (2 mm vs 1 mm)! The difference is actually visible on this photo.
So, an interesting bird... And, erm, yeah.
I have to confess, I feel like I haven't been saying a great deal of interesting stuff on here (again) lately. The 3am starts probably aren't a help, nor is the hot weather — by the end of the day when I sit down in front of my laptop I'm completely drained. But it's also because I've been learning a lot over the last few days and I'm still trying to work a few things out; you'll notice I skilfully avoided saying what age/sex the Barred Warbler was (it was a 2cy male, by the way, but I'm buggered if I can tell you why), and I'm just about getting my head around Spotted Flycatcher moult*... and potential ageing. Both age classes of Spotted Flycatcher undergo a complete moult on the wintering grounds, or so common wisdom states.
See that big block of unmoulted flight feathers? How d'ya like that 'complete' moult? Anyway, I'll will attempt to go into some detail on this sometime over the next couple of days — I even have some really nice photographs to illustrate things with.
*"Getting my head around" is perhaps too strong a phrase to use; "coming up with some sort of theory that might have an element of truth in it" is probably a more accurate thing to say.
But back to today. We caught our third Hawfinch of the season; a beautiful adult male — it was a bitey one and I make now apologies for wearing gloves.
Usually once you have a bird in a firm grip it was settled down; not this bird. You see that pink staining? That's blood. My blood. It gave me a nibble as I was taking it out of the bag. (I'm not sure why my blood is pink though.)
Equally aggressive — though not so lethal — was this adult female Common Rosefinch. Well done to Sissel for doing what we've failed to do over the last week and catch one of these — though she was completely gutted she didn't manage to catch the male that was singing next to the net!
Arvid and I attempted some birding later in the day but it was too hot and most of the birds were keeping a low profile — only Spotted Flycatchers were conspicuous. We managed half a dozen Red-backed Shrikes and a couple of Marsh Warblers before we turned back (via an ice cream at Falsterbo grill).