5 Feb 2012

Ringing at Alba Marsh – Bahrain

On Friday I went ringing at Alba Marsh again with Brendan. We got to the site at first light and set up five nets in the normal places. Bird activity was much greater than the week before when the weather was very cold, as now the weather was pleasant again and got quite warm as the morning progressed. As is normal Water Pipit was the bird seen most often whilst setting up the nets as they are disturbed from the reeds and Tamarisk scrub. We had quite a good catch, by our standards, during the day including 16 Water Pipits, two male Bluethroats of the Red-spotted race sometimes treated as a separate species to the White-spotted race and a Wood Sandpiper which was a new ringing species for me. Both the Bluethroats were re-traps, with both birds having been ringed at the same site earlier in the winter, giving further data to the fact that birds winter at this site and remain site faithful. The Bluethroats are now coming into fine plumage with one bird showing almost a fully developed throat/breast area. They are not easy birds to photograph in the hand as they seem to sense when the shutter is about to be fired and flap their wings, destroying the aesthetics of the pictures. The photographs below show two different first year males as can be seen by their different throat and breast patches.
 Red-spotted Bluethroat (1st year male)
 Red-spotted Bluethroat (1st year male)
 Red-spotted Bluethroat (1st year male)
 Red-spotted Bluethroat (1st year male)
The Water Pipits are all of the race coutelli and had started a partial moult since last weekend with almost all birds caught moulting some feathers. They do not have any fat on them yet so are not ready to start migrating but will presumably start putting on some fat in the next few weeks?
 Water Pipit (coutelli)
 Water Pipit (coutelli) - Wing showing partial moult
Water Pipit (coutelli) - Tail



The Wood Sandpiper was caught in a single panel net and may be a new species for the Bahrain ringing project. It was aged as a fist winter bird and again was not a model student at posing for photographs in the hand. The white feather shaft on the outermost primary is a feature to separate the bird from Green Sandpiper in the hand along with the rump pattern which has more extensive white in Green Sandpiper.
Wood Sandpiper (first year)
Wood Sandpiper (first year)
Wood Sandpiper (first year)

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