Saturday, 13 July 2013

Sand Martins in the Mist

A very early start this morning rounded off a packed two weeks of ringing. Our species of choice this outing was Sand Martin; possibly one of the nicest birds the world has to offer. We've not been to the colony for a year or two so it was nice to be back. Even in the mist!

Like father like son; Billy Whizz and Ti ringing sand martins. At one point Ti
processing sanma quicker than his old man! Ti's ringing is coming on well
handling birds with confidence and is consistent with his wing lengths. He's also
very good at aging and sexing sand martins!
One of 19 birds caught and ringed. We didn't work any
colonies last year due to the rain. 2012 seems to have taken
its toll on the pairs of this site - it contains fewer pairs than
before and we had no retraps from previous years. Several
females had brood patches at a stage that suggested that they
were on second broods. Fingers crossed for a productive 2013.

Aging Sand Martins is pretty straight forward, even with such as low quality
image. The bird on the left is this year's young - note the ginger/buff edging to
the rump and tertials compared to the uniform colour of the adult (right). The
young bird's feathers are also a lot darker than that of the adult. You can't see it
in this image but an adult's feathers look worn; well they were used to fly back
from Africa! 

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