A summer of bird ringing at Titchfield Haven and a PG Tips!

Over the summer I have been doing a lot of ringing, particularly at Titchfield Haven since the “Autumn” ringing sessions started in mid July. Numbers have been pretty good, with around 150 birds ringed at most sessions, and 2 sessions most weekend (as well as a weekday session which I’m unable to attend).

The early mornings have been well worth it, and I’ve had a lot more practise in ringing and taking measurements such as wing length and weight of the birds so I’m hopefully well on the way to getting a C permit! A C permit is the next step up from a T permit (which I have now) and will allow me to do some independent ringing, so will open more doors for me.

At Titchfield Haven, most of the species we ring are the warblers heading off on their migration back to their wintering grounds including Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Reed, Sedge, Willow, Garden and Grasshopper Warblers.

Grasshopper Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler

Titchfield Haven is one of the few places in the UK that rings good numbers of Grasshopper Warblers, with around 300 ringed each year. It’s interesting to get an idea of the numbers of Grasshopper Warblers that pass over Hampshire, especially as so few breed in the county these days.  

As well as the species we regularly ring large numbers of, there are a few species we’ve only had once or twice. These include 3 Lesser Whitethroats, a Green Woodpecker and a Treecreeper. On Saturday, at the public ringing session we had  a juvenile Sparrowhawk, Sunday there was a Pied Flycatcher – a lifer for me and a great bird to see in Hampshire as they only pass through on migration – and on Wednesday evening, during an attempt to ring Yellow Wagtails and Swallows, we ringed a Kingfisher – the 5th this year!

Green Woodpecker - 24th August 2014

Green Woodpecker – 24th August 2014

juvenile Sparrowhawk

juvenile Sparrowhawk

Pied Wagtail - 31st August 2014

Pied Wagtail – 31st August 2014

Yesterday started well with good numbers of the birds we regularly ring, including 20 Whitethroats, and also some species I’d never ringed before – Redstart and Coal Tit.  We ended up ringing almost 230 birds! It was a very busy session, but gave myself and the 2 other trainees plenty of practise.

juvenile male Redstart - 6th September 2014

juvenile male Redstart – 6th September 2014

Coal Tit (Rob Skinner) - 6th September 2014

Coal Tit (Rob Skinner) – 6th September 2014

We also had 3 Kingfishers all at once!

back of the 3 Kingfishers to compare colouration - males are more blue than females

back of the 3 Kingfishers to compare colouration – males are more blue than females

The biggest surprise of the day was when Barry returned with what was described as a strange looking Grasshopper Warbler. On closer inspection, with  Svensson’s “Identification Guide to European Passerines” (the ringers “Bible”), the bird was identified as a Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler!

Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler - 6th September 2014

Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler – 6th September 2014

underside of Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler - 6th September 2014

underside of Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler – 6th September 2014

This is an extremely rare bird for the UK, especially for Hampshire as it’s the first time the species has ever been recorded in the county. It was also only the 2nd time the species has been found on the south coast – most records are on the east coast, and most of these are on the Shetland Isles – and the earliest record of one in the UK too!

I wonder what next week will bring?!

For more information on the ringing that takes place at Titchfield Haven, read the regular updates by Trevor Codlin – http://thebarleybird-er.blogspot.co.uk/

 

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