14 Feb 2012

Ringing at Alba Marsh - Bahrain

An early morning ringing session at Alba Marsh, with Brendan, produced fewer birds than normal. This period is relatively quite as wintering birds start to move out and new spring migrants are still yet to arrive in numbers. This couple with a fresh wind that blew up whilst on the way to the site created less than ideal conditions for ringing. We persevered and set up three four panel nets and three smaller nets to see what we could catch. One pleasant finding whilst setting up the nets was the fact that the pollution which has been a problem at the site over the last few months now seemed to be less, or possibly stopped altogether. The first bird trapped was a new Red-spotted Bluethroat which was not in such good plumage as the birds we caught two weeks ago, but was still a nice start to the day.
 Red-spotted Bluethroat
 Red-spotted Bluethroat
As birds were few we ringed some of the House Sparrows that we caught, including three males and a female. They are not very friendly birds in the hand and like to peck unwary hands. We caught a couple of additional House Sparrows but let them go without ringing them. At least they gave me additional ringing practice and allowed me to get a few photographs of them in the hand.
 House Sparrow (male)
 House Sparrow (male)
 House Sparrow (male)
 House Sparrow (male)
 House Sparrow (female)
 House Sparrow (female)
The number of Water Pipits we saw whilst setting up the nest and doing the ringing rounds were fewer than in previous weeks but we still managed to catch five birds making ten birds in total. The Water Pipits are coming into summer plumage with a nice warm buff colouration to the flanks which I have not seen before.
Water Pipit (A. coutelli)
Water Pipit (A. coutelli)
Water Pipit (A. coutelli)
A few good birds were seen at the site whilst ringing included a Little Bittern, one Common Kingfisher, two Jack Snipe and a Western Great Egret. A few Barn Swallows were present and waders included six Common Greenshanks, 15 Little Stint, four Common Redshanks and a Common Ringed Plover.


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