14th – 15th April – Durlston and home.   Leave a comment

Saturday morning saw three of us ringing at Durlston. Unlike our very succesful visit on Thursday there were few migrants about and only 15 birds were ringed, mainly Chiffchaffs, Willows and Blackcaps, but three Bullfinches was noteworthy. It was particularly cold and it seemed to take until mid afternoon to get warm again.

Although I have seen a few female Blackcaps in woodland, most migrants I see at this time of year are males.

 

As well as differences in leg, flank and overall body colour, wing formula and wing length, Chiffchaffs have a more domed head, a more obvious eye ring and a less prominent supercillium compared......

.... to a Willow Warbler.

 

Once slaughtered in their thousands due to the damage they inflict on the buds of fruiting trees, Bullfinches were also kept as cage birds and whistled at until they learned a tune (as mentioned in 'Tess of the d'Urbervilles). Fortunately neither activity is performed today!

The classic method of ageing Dunnocks is on eye colour, muddy brown in first years, mahogany in adults. Unfortunately by the turn of the year this feature become unreliable.

 

We have been looking into the using the black bar on the primary covets as an ageing feature in Dunnocks, well-defined in first years, diffuse in adults. The results so far look promising.

 

On Sunday we settled down to various chores at home. Margaret spent much of the day in the garden, the benefits of which can be seen below. I continued on with my copying of old cassettes on the PC; listening to sixties legends as Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones and Jeffereson Airplane took me back to my youth. I am also attempting to tidy up and modify the taxonomy on my Wildlife Recorder database and have been running into big problems. More of that when the problems are resolved.

 

This was the garden when Margaret moved in four and half years ago .......

 

..... and this is it today!

Posted April 17, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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