Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Hedgehog

We had some busy days in Flommen with more than 100 birds, mainly Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus). We even beat the average!, but today is the third day in a row that we can't ring anything, so if we don't have massive captures next days, we won't be able to reach the average again!
Among the amount of captures, we trapped one scirpaceus
from Belgium, and this one was from Latvia! (and it's a
The 'real' migration started just before this rainy and windy days, with already thousands of Tree Pipits (Anthus trivialis), Common Swifts (Apus apus) and hundreds of Yellow Wagtails (Motacilla flava) flying over during all day. We managed to catch some trivialis and the first flava for the season.

As I said, we had a lot of birds to ring these days, but not many variety. Apart from the usual Acrocephalus species (we have ringed more than 100 Marsh Warblers this season, by the way), we had 2 Grasshopper Warblers (Locustella naevia) and the usual stuff like Common Whitethroat (Sylvia communis), Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)...

First-year Whitethroat (Sylvia communis), with moult limit
in the inner greater coverts (4 moulted).
In fact, the only 'unusual' birds we trapped were 2 Water Rails (Rallus aquaticus). One of them, defined as a 'Hedgehog-like' by Peter Olsson, was an adult doing its postnuptial moult. Water Rails do a complete postbreeding moult that is simultaneous, and they finish it in 2-3 weeks (while they're flightless). The thing that surprised me more was that it was moulting all wing (primaries, secondaries, all coverts, alula...) at the same time!!, giving this 'skeleton' impression.

Then, we trapped another adult, that hadn't started the moult yet. For me it looks like a second-year (EURING 5):
Those birds are usually not so worn, and I think that assess
the wear to age can be really hard. Nonetheless, the outer
primaries and the inner secondaries are very pointed, and
the tip of these feathers is not as wide as I would expect
in an adult.
The alula is more 'square-shaped' in adults, and sometimes
adults show some white spots on it. Compare, in the collage
above, how the shape of the alula is the same than other
first-year birds we caught.
Face and breast have some 'brown feathers in between,
just a very little few, but I would expect that in second-years.
The iris colour is orangish too.
Also, the chin have a lot of white, thing that
is also typical of second-years.
Back to the Hedgehog for one moment, look
how greyish is the chin. That was maybe a
3+ (EURING 6)...
It has been really windy during last days, so we went to visit Lund. It's a really nice city, with an awesome cathedral and a really nice botanical garden to point out something. The most surprising thing was indeed inside the botanical garden's greenhouse, and it was a new species for me...

Asian Blue Quails (Excalfactoria chinensis) lives inside
the botanical garden!! It's nice to see them running everywhere!

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