Anyway, yesterday I went to Martin Mere for a change of scenery and while I didn't see anything unexpected it didn't disappoint. Ruff weaved their way through loafing Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shelduck and Mallard. A Marsh Harrier put in regular appearances as it quartered the area. Whooper Swans may have had a good breeding season given the number of juveniles in the family parties seen. Last but not least there were the Pink-feet, lots and lots of Pink-feet. There is something magical about large flocks of birds especially when they number in the thousands.
|A record shot of Marsh Harrier 26/10/13|
|lots of Pink-footed Geese|
While this is a good number it is the plumage variations of the sexes and ages that really interests me. The more I look the more problematic this species seems to be especially in terms of sexing. Ageing is relatively easy at this time of year but gets more difficult towards the spring. I now make a point of taking photographs of many of the birds I catch including the face, back of head, wing coverts and tail. What this will lead to I am not sure yet but I confidently sex fewer birds than I used to.
The much forecast storm doesn't seem to be heading our way now with no rain and hardly a leaf moving on the trees as I type. It looks like it will track across the south of the country and it remains to be seen if it will live up to any of the hype it has been given over the past few days. If we don't get the wind and rain perhaps I will kick up a little storm of my own with my views on ageing and sexing Goldfinches.
I nearly forgot to mention that I nipped on to Orrell Water Park this afternoon to check through the Black-headed Gulls. The only ringed bird amongst the 75 or so present was the German ringed bird that I recorded 14 times last winter. Interestingly the first record last year was also on the 27th of October! The previously published recovery details can be found by clicking here.
|IA141745 Black-headed Gull Orrell Water Park 27/10/13|