Monday, 13 April 2015

Farlington Marshes 12/04/15

This weekend looked to be a complete wash out with Saturday looking like a miserable start and Sunday being very bright and windy.

Saturday delivered on its promise of rain but Sundays forecast seemed to change. With the wind looking like it would be favorable in the morning we arranged to meet at the Marshes gates at 05:45. Migrants at the Marshes are still few and far between, with the occasional Blackcap and Chiff singing and a few Mipits flitting about and certainly far too early to start trying for Reed Warblers in the outstanding reed bed at Farlington, therefore we decided to try the Point field again.

Map of Farlington and key areas

 It was crystal clear and very bright but flat calm when we arrived. Gorse is all in flower and the marsh is coming alive.
View from our ringing station

Gorse Flower

View across the marshes towards the Deeps
We set 4 nets in total, 2 in our normal rides and 2 in rides created by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts management of the scrub in the field. As we were setting our final net we heard our first Sedge Warbler of 2015 in the adjacent scrub. We retreated to our Ringing station and waited a while before doing a net round. The first round produced a single female Blackcap, again a first for 2015 and certainly a sign that spring is starting to come although a bit later than last year. After processing she was released back to continue her journey, assuming as we did that this bird was indeed a migrant.

Female Blackcap
The next round brought the Sedge Warbler to our nets. First one on Farlington this year so far and more than likely the Male we heard singing as we put the nets up. The bird was quite light and had a very low fat/muscle score, so had probably dropped in very recently. The tail feathers were clearly abraded but a cracking little bird and one of my personal favourites. We never get quite the numbers through the Marshes as we do in Titchfield, but in Spring/Summer they are a staple of ringing. A male Linnet was also in the Sedge Warbler net, Linnets are very much an under appreciated bird. Fantastic russet brown backs pale fronts and lovely red breast and head feathers on males. There are good numbers of Linnet down on the Marsh and they appear to be pairing up and scouting for nest sites. Some are even carrying nest material around so it shouldn't be too long until we can expect to see Juv birds in the hand as well.
Male Linnet
Sedge Warbler

 Unfortunately at this point the wind started to pick up, this coupled with the fine weather meant that the billowing nets were very easily seen by the birds. Just one more was added before the nets were closed and packed away and that was a cracking Male Greenfinch. Easily identified as a male by checking the primaries. If the yellow/green streak reaches the shaft of the feather then the bird is a male, if it does not then it is female. With the colouration of the bird and the diagnostic primaries the bird was confidently ID'd, ringed processed and then released again, not before posing for a quick snap.

Male Greenfinch

4 birds....... my least amount ringed in a session ever, however 4 cracking birds and the signs of spring, fingers crossed the migrants are coming in now. 24 hours later I walked through Victoria park in central Portsmouth and for the first time this year there are Blackcaps everywhere. feasting on the berries and singing away.

Better Luck this week!


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