9 Oct 2011

Desert Whitethroat & Lesser Whitethroat – Ringing at Durrat Al Bahrain

On Friday 7th October I went ringing in Bahrain with Brendan. Migration had been looking good in Saudi Arabia over the previous two days and so we decided to go to Durrat Al Bahrain in the hope of catching a few migrants. This is only a very small patch of tamarisk and enough to put up one 16 meter net, but is a place where turnover of migrants is high and anything may be caught. As the wind had died down from the previous few days and temperatures are dropping slightly now (only 32 Degrees Centigrade at midday) we put the nets up as soon as we arrived at about 15:00 hrs. We immediately started to catch the few birds that were in the bushes and ended up catching nine birds in total, although a couple of other ones did not go into the nets including a large thrush like bird only seen in flight which we could not positively identify. At the end of the day we had caught nine birds including, two Willow Warbler, two Eurasian Blackcap (male and female), one Lesser Whitethroat and four Desert Whitethroat. As we did not have too many birds to deal with we were able to spend some time looking at the finer details such as wing formula and tail pattern. As you can see from the tail feather photographs below there is quite a difference between Lesser Whitethroat and Desert Whitethroat in tail pattern, although one was a juvenile and one an adult. On Lesser Whitethroat the white is only on the outer tail feather whilst on Desert Whitethroat it is on the outer two tail feathers and on this individual even extends onto the outer three. Sizes are also quite different between the two species with Lesser Whitethroat being quite a bit larger in all measurements.
 Willow Warbler (adult)
 Willow Warbler (adult)
 Lesser Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Lesser Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Lesser Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Lesser Whitethroat Tail (1st Year)
 Desert Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Desert Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Desert Whitethroat (1st Year)
 Desert Whitethroat Tail (adult)
As there was only Brendan and I ringing this weekend I was able to take a few birds out of the net, under the careful guidance of Brendan, which was good experience for me. I have now sent away my ringing forms to the BTO in Thetford, United Kingdom to get my trainee permit and Brendan got me a ringing book to record all the data of birds ringed in the field. I still have an awful lot to learn about ringing but am progressing and really enjoying it. We have a great team in Bahrain and catch some good birds which also obviously adds to the enjoyment.


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