Monday, November 26, 2012

It's grim out west

It was my last day at Falsterbo on Saturday; most of it was spent cleaning the house, though I did sneak out for an hour to do one of the resting bird counts. It was generally quite quiet with a lot of people walking along the beach but there were a few raptors; three Kestrels, a 1cy female Hen Harrier and an immature White-tailed Eagle. Then it was off to Copenhagen to catch a flight back to wet, windy and cold UK.

With a brief break in the weather this morning, I opened a net in the garden and caught 18 birds in a couple of hours: 12 Goldfinches, two Greenfinches, a Blue Tit, a Coal Tit, a Robin and a Chaffinch. It was actually quite an experience ringing British birds again. The Coal Tit was disgusting; a nasty messy green-brown on its back and without so much a hint of the cute little crest that the grey-backed Swedish birds show.
Despite the crappy photo, you can still make out the moult limit in the greater coverts on the closed wing. Note also that the bird shows some yellow in the cheek... have fun trying to string it into hibernicus :)

With a bib like that — and with such ill-defined markings on the lesser coverts — it must be a female.

Next surprise was how small the Blue Tits are; this bird had a wing of 62 mm (compared to most birds in Sweden that were around 67 mm).
This bird also shows a moult limit in the greater coverts — 2 retained juvenile feathers (outermost).

It was nice to get my hands on some 'interesting' Greenfinches again. This first-year bird had moulted all-but-two tail feathers and had moulted P6 on both wings during post-juvenile moult (but, as is usual with the eccentric primary moult, it has not moulted the corresponding primary covert).

And this evening — despite the weather — my sister found this sitting next to the porch light; it's a male Feathered Thorn:

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