Saturday, 14 September 2013

Non-stop Ringing

That was the order of the day today as we (Sorby Breck Ringing Group), made our annual trip to the moorlands above Sheffield (Ringinglow), to catch and ring Meadow Pipits as they migrate south over the area. We arrived at 5.45am and over the next five hours we had a constant stream of birds, resulting in a super catch of 139 Meadow Pipits and 1 Tree Pipit.

Today's ringing site
As many birdwatchers know, Tree and Meadow Pipits can be quite difficult to tell apart, but when "in the hand" there are several features that make the job a little easier. When the Tree Pipit turned up this morning, the first thing we noticed was the much shorter, well curved, hind claw, followed closely by the number of primary feathers in a line (2-4 in a line, 2-5 in a Meadow Pipit ), "pinkish" legs and a much "stronger", more powerful beak!

Tree Pipit's wing showing primaries 2-4 (the top 3 feathers in this picture)
in a line

As I mentioned at the start of the post, we were very busy this morning, ringing and recording the bio metrics (weight, wing length, fat and muscle scores) for all those birds, but we also recorded the other birds seen around the site. A Kestrel flew over the area a few times, a few Red Grouse were heard and a couple of Carrion Crows were also about.

Finally, thanks alot to Kevin and Sean for your support and hospitality this morning. Look forward to ringing with you both again.

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