18 Mar 2012

Some unwanted ticks - Alba Marsh (Bahrain)

I went ringing again on Friday in Bahrain and we went to our normal site of Alba Marsh. Things did not look promising at the start as it was extremely windy when we left Saudi Arabia and had not improved much by the time we had reached Bahrain. As I was not going to ring again for almost a month I wanted to go and see what it was like and as Brendan had not sent a message saying it was cancelled I persevered. Brendan said we should give it a try so we set up three 18 metre four panel nets and two single panel nets. As ringing was slow I kept the first few House Sparrows we caught but as numbers of birds caught increased we started letting the caught House Sparrows go without putting a ring on them. One of the first birds we caught was a nice male Black-headed Wagtail, which was a new ringing species for me as the one we had caught a couple of weeks ago was ringed by Nicole as she had not ringed one either at that stage. Although the Black-headed Wagtail was in good condition plumage wise it had two large ticks attached to its head which Brendan carefully removed to preserve and send to someone in Poland who is doing research into ticks on birds.
 Black-headed Yellow Wagtail (feldegg) - male
 Black-headed Yellow Wagtail (feldegg) - male
Black-headed Yellow Wagtail (feldegg) - male

We caught and ringed 17 birds during the morning which was much better than was thought possible at the start. Totals were one Black-headed Yellow Wagtail, four House Sparrows, three Common Chiffchaffs, two Red-spotted Bluethroats, six Water Pipits and a Woodchat Shrike (see next post for details of this interesting bird). One Bluethroat & one Water Pipit were re-traps with the Bluethroat being trapped initially on 9th December 2011 and re-trapped on 6th January 2012 both at the same site. The Water Pipit was trapped and ringed at the same site a week before.
 Red-spotted Bluethroat - 2nd calendar year male
 Red-spotted Bluethroat - 2nd calendar year male
Red-spotted Bluethroat - 2nd calendar year male

Bird numbers were down on previous visits with many Water Pipits and particularly Bluethroats appearing to have moved on. Common Chiffchaff numbers were significantly down on our previous visit as well but birds were certainly keeping low due to the wind as a male Pallid Harrier flew over the reed-bed and flushed more Water Pipits than we had previously seen. Two of the Water Pipits we caught had different shapped longest upper-tail coverts with one being rounded (adult?) and the other pointed (2nd CY?).
 Water Pipit (A.s.coutelli)
 Water Pipit (A.s.coutelli)
 Water Pipit (A.s.coutelli)
 Water Pipit (A.s.coutelli) - adult
Water Pipit (A.s.coutelli) - 2nd calendar year

4 comments:

  1. I take it that the ticks are a new species for you?

    Nice shots -

    Laurie -

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  2. Laurie

    The unwanted ticks were attached to the birds head (Black-headed Wagtail). It was however a ringing tick which was welcome.

    Jem

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  3. Hi Jem,
    I would say that you are spot on regarding the Water Pipits with rounded v pointed utc's. The remiges are also spot on for ad and 2cy being broader and more rounded in the adult.

    Edmund

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  4. I should have said rectrices - not remiges.

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