October 10th – wagtails at Lytchett Bay   Leave a comment

On the 10th of October, Shaun, Kevin and I opted to try and ring Pied Wagtails at Lytchett Bay. Every autumn flocks of this species roost in the reeds and experience has shown that they are easy to trap using a recording. As the birds are trapped at dusk, they are ringed in Shaun’s garage (which is adjacent to the bay), roosted in boxes overnight and released at dawn.

Of course we like to trap as many birds as practical, the more we ring, the higher the chance of recoveries, but the bird’s welfare must come first. It was clear there were far more wagtails coming to roost then we usually see. From our vantage point on the edge of the reeds we could see that we had trapped a lot of birds, so at least 20 minutes earlier than usual we turned off the tape and started extracting. We had caught a total of 125 birds and processing them took us until about 2130.

The black back, white face, very black flight feathers and lack of contrast in the greater coverts show that this is an adult male Pied Wagtail.

This bird showed very black flight feathers and no contrast in the coverts, so together with the grey back we identified it as an adult female.

Adult female Pied Wags can be very similar to some 1st year males. This bird has grey feathers on the mantle but the outer two greater coverts are unmoulted and the flight feathers show a brownish sheen, so was identified as a 1st year male.

Pied Wagtails show a lot of variation in plumage, but I don’t ever recall seeing a bird with such a strong moustachial stripe.



Posted October 22, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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