12 Mar 2012

Ringing at Alba Marsh (Bahrain)


I went ringing again at Alba Marsh with Brendan on Friday and we caught quite a good selection of birds despite the weather being quite windy. We arrived 30 minutes earlier than the previous weekend as the days are getting lighter now and set up two 18 metre four panel nets and three single panel nets to try to catch some of the warblers and wagtails that were present. We had a good start to the ringing session by catching a Caspian Reed Warbler in the first net we set up before we had even finished setting it up properly. This was the first Caspian Reed Warbler I had ringed since one at Al Ali Farm on 14th October 2011.
 Caspian Reed Warbler
 Caspian Reed Warbler



Some of the resident birds were singing from the cover of the reeds with Graceful Prinia and Clamorous Reed Warbler being the most vocal. We caught a single female Graceful Prinia with a brood patch indicating they are breeding again at the marsh. We were not so lucky with the Clamorous Reed Warblers which seem to be using the taller reed bed where the water is too deep to set nets.

Graceful Prinia (adult female)
Graceful Prinia (adult female)


The last wintering birds are still here with Water Pipit still about in good numbers in the short cut reeds and three Bluethroats seen. One adult female caught which was a re-trap from late 2011, where it was ringed at the same site. House Sparrows were also around and managed to regularly get caught in the nets, but we did not ring any and let them go. A female Siberan Stonechat was present by one of the nets alongside a very nice male. It is difficult to know if these were wintering birds or passage migrants, but we caught the female in the mist net which allowed me to ring to another new species. I will post the photographs of this bird in another post as I have quite a number of photographs to show some of the relevant points for identification.
Water Pipit (A. s. coutelli)
Water Pipit (A. s. coutelli)


There were signs of migration with quite a few Black-headed Yellow Wagtails about and a few Common Chiffchaffs as well. A nice Woodchat Shrike was sitting in the same place as the one we caught last weekend. This time we did not try to catch it thinking it may have been the bird we had already ringed but as luck would have it, it or another bird, caught itself in one of the four panel mist nets. Again I was the lucky one to take the bird out of the net and managed to get away with minimal damage to the fingers. We caught twenty birds in total which was a good return as the wind was very strong by the end of the session.
 Woodchat Shrike (2nd calendar year male)
 Woodchat Shrike (2nd calendar year male)
 Woodchat Shrike (2nd calendar year male) - Tail
. Woodchat Shrike (2nd calendar year male) - Wing

3 comments:

  1. The pale lower mandible on the CRWarbler almost makes the bill look curved at a distance. How do you distinguish them at a distance? Do they sing on passage and is it noticeably different from ours? Is it a seperate species now?

    Nice shots, i'm envious, roll on Maroc!

    Laurie -

    ReplyDelete
  2. Laurie,

    I would certainly not like to make a claim of one away from their regular haunts - too similar to Eurasian Reed Warbler.

    Caspian Reed-Warbler - Acrocephalus fuscus (Hemprich and Ehrenberg. 1833) split from: Eurasian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
    n Caspian area e to Caucasus, e Asia Minor; Cyprus; Levant
    B. Leisler, P. Heidrich, K. Schulze-Hagen & M. Wink. 1997. Taxonomy and phylogeny of reed warblers (genus Acrocephalus) based on mtDNA sequences and morphology Journal für Ornithologie 138 (1997): 469-496

    British Birds on the other hand has Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus fuscus, ‘Caspian Reed Warbler’ and mentions ‘this eastern race is not on the British List. A number of claims have been assessed recently but none was considered conclusive, even though some contained in-hand images and full biometrics. Owing to variation within nominate scirpaceus, as well as fuscus, establishing the occurrence of the latter in Britain is thought not possible without tangible proof of origins’.

    As I mentioned previously I just follow the OSME list and they call the bird Caspian Reed-Warbler.

    Most people still call them the same species and do not split them.

    You will see some good birds in Morrocco for sure - good luck!

    Cheers
    Jem

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cheers - i have now seen that breeding Reed Warblers in Morocco are being split from the nominate ssp - that should be fun.......

    Laurie -

    ReplyDelete