Monday, 27 October 2008
Merlin Magic . . .
Sunday nights 'dazzling' session - (the highlight of each day now there are so few birds about!) saw the triumphant ringers return with this fantastic 1st year female Merlin which had been dazzled as it roosted next to the roadside. Merlins are quite a handful as they are extremely alert & vicious, they will attack with their talons or bill at any opportunity and have lightning reactions! After Phil ringed this bird, which took an 'E' ring & was a ringing 'tick' for him, it was roosted overnight in a box & released at first light the next morning. There have been at least 3 Merlin seen hunting about the Island over the last few days. I particularly like the rufous underwing pattern as shown below . . .
A large catch . . . (Friday night continued)
Friday nights catch included 6 Whooper Swans. Of these 6 birds, 2 of them already had Darvic Rings on & were from Iceland! One other was a retrap from the night before. The other 3 were brought back & ringed with split rings size 'M' - a very different type of ring to work with! It was great to see these incredible birds so close & in the hand - they are so large & heavy! Interestingly all the Whooper Swans we have caught so far have been very calm & placid in the hand - unlike Mute Swans . A Herring Gull was also caught along with the other Wigeon & Tufted Duck mentioned in an older post below.
Sunday, 26 October 2008
Wildfowl & Waders . . .
Friday night 'dazzling' ended with a Wigeon, Tufted Duck & Whooper Swans in the ringing room. The Oystercatchers were caught a few nights earlier. One was an adult bird & the other a 1st year - see photograph below of both of them together showing differences in eye & bill colour & bill length. The adult was released without ringing as it had a serious leg injury caused by sheep's wool which had wrapped around the leg & over time had tightened - the leg was cut deeply & close to coming off altogether. The bird had sadly died the next morning. Oystercatchers with wool around their legs are a fairly common sight on Fair Isle where they suffer the consequences of feeding in fields where small quantities of loose wool are in abundance. Many Oystercatchers die a slow death after picking up wool & others end up losing a leg & carry on a healthy & active existence with only one.
Friday, 24 October 2008
Fair Isle Fare . . .
There has been a marked increase in Fieldfare over the last few days. This bird was trapped in one of the heligoland traps and is a first year female based on tail shape (pointed tips not rounded like adult) & female due to the lack of black on the underside of the crown feathers.
Jack of Snipes . . .
We love Jack Snipe so it was great to see one in the hand & with a Common Snipe for close comparison after another successful dazzling session on Thursday evening (23rd). 1st & 2nd pic below Jack Snipe, 3rd Common & Jack Snipe, 4th Common Snipe, 5th Jack & Common Snipe.
Thursday, 23 October 2008
More Dazzling Success . . .
Tuesday evening saw another Tufted Duck dazzled and brought back to the Obs for processing. During the day more Purple Sandpipers were Spring trapped in the Havens, a few more Snow Bunting were ringed after being caught in the single panel net on the beach & a striking Woodcock was trapped in Vaadal. On Wednesday, a change in the weather brought in an influx of Redwing with numbers ringed reaching double figures. Wednesday night saw a return of higher winds & rain - so more dazzling was called for. This time the 'Dazzlers' brought back 5 Greylag Geese & 2 fabulous young Whooper Swans. . .
Monday, 20 October 2008
Razzle Dazzle . . .
This morning saw the 3rd Purple Sandpiper ringed in 2 days - spring trapped in South Haven. Bird of the day goes to an adult female Tufted Duck which was caught in North Haven. The appalling weather seemed perfect for a nights dazzling, so Phil and several Obs staff headed out north after dark to dazzle Gulls, only to return an hour later clutching 10 Greylag Geese! Quite a catch, which left the ringing room floor in a bit of a state!
Saturday, 18 October 2008
Friday, 17 October 2008
Fair Isle Ringing - October 2008
Redwing - showing size & plumage differences between races, iliacus on left & the larger, darker, coburni on the right. Also Reed Warbler & Common Redpoll (probably islandica). A Pink-footed Goose which was 'dazzled' in Boini Mire, Lesser Whitethroat, Barred Warbler & Redshank (Redshank spring trapped on South Haven).